Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Butterfat Goat Facts

I found some interesting information from the University of Florida's IFAS Extension web-site. What they didn't include were the Oberhaslis which I found the butterfat percentage on the Fias Co. Farm site and I had to go to a couple Nigerian Goat sites to get the butterfat levels for that breed. Frankly, I can't remember how I stumbled upon the Kinder goat butterfat level. You know me and the Internet. I'm flitting about everywhere.

I've combined the information I found into a chart.

Kinder - 5-7%

Nigerian - 5-6%

Nubian - 4.61%

American La Mancha 3.80%

Oberhasli 3.6%

Alpines - 3.56%

Saanen - 3.52%

Toggenburg 3.38%

All these percentages change as the does progress through their lactation. The Nigerian goat's are reported to reach up to 10% in butterfat towards the end of their lactation. This is somewhat true of all the breeds I'd guess as I've noticed my Saanens and Nubian's cream production escalates with the passing of time throughout the milking calendar. I'm getting loads of cream right now but not as much milk. The scientist have only said that the butterfat goes up significantly as the lactations progresses. Of course individual goats vary.

With this information, my brain then began journeying off on to its own tangents. It appears that the dessert breeds of goats produce more butterfat and less milk than the mountain breeds. WHY? Probably will never know the answer to that one. Then I wondered if you had a Nigerian goat which gives on average 2-3 pounds milk per day and a standard dairy goat gives 6-8 pounds then surely you would be getting more cream from the standard breed goat than the Nigerian but a Nigerian is smaller and would consume less feed. So then what is the difference in feed consumption for the amount of milk and cream your getting? Which is truely more economical? They have those facts with the dairy cow industry. I was visiting with my son-in-law's, step-mom and she use to run a 1200 cow diary with her dad. She said had she to do it over she would not have used Holsteins. They were not an efficient feed to milk converter.

I just finished glancing for facts on that idea but instead of a nice chart I found a scientific study on Holsteins versus Friesann versus Jerseys. I'll admit I just skimmed the study out of Australia because after all I do have a post to get up today but it was fascinating. It said the Jersey had a much larger rumen compared with the Holstein and could consume more food for its size. It then was an efficient converter and used more of this energy towards milk where as the Holstein used more energy toward body weight retention. Also the Jersey lost less of this energy toward feces, urine or methane.

But like I spoke of in the dairys for goats where you had a higher cost outlay for a goat dairy than a cow dairy. Jersey dairy farmers in order to stay competitive must have more animals. The study said 1.2 more Jerseys to Friesan. This is because the Jersey is smaller and produces less milk. More animals equated to the need for more land, more fence, more time spent because there is more animals to handle etc. etc. So what's the answer? The Australian study recommended that a dairy should have Holstein/Friesan/Jersey cross cows. They said that dairys were not using scientific studies as they should and hence the Holstein cows dominated the dairy industry.

What does that have to do with us goat folks. Well, it looks to me like we should have Jerseys not Holsteins or Friesans because we only have a small number of animals. So what is the Jerseys of the goat world? Who has that big rumen that converts the most efficiently into milk for their size without wasting the energy on feces, urine, and methane? Who can do more with less? We'll probably never know the answer since the goat industry does not have the money behind it to do the studies.

I think we need to ask ourselves how much of our operation is emotional and how much makes sense nutritionally and financially? The bottom line is how much money are you willing to waste? With the printing of paper money from the US Treasury beginning to flow like a river and no gold or silver to back it all, we are headed for much more difficult times. Europe is seeing it now.

If a bank isn't suppose to give a loan without sufficient collateral in case the loan defaults putting their own business in trouble, then what is America doing printing money without collateral. In other words gold and silver to back up the paper. Franklin Roosevelt took us off the gold and Richard Nixon took us off the silver. If things get tough and many wise men believe it will, how much will paper money be worth after all it's just paper?

These thought have made me seriously rethink my whole self-sufficient operation. Am I too like the government throwing my money around spending far more than I should? Am I not only producing healthy food but am I doing it in a cost effective way? I would have to answer yes to the first question and no the second. Things need to change and that change needs to start with me. I need to spend less money on feed and have animals that are more efficient. If my family is to weather the difficult days ahead, I'm going to have to use scientific studies available to me. I'm going to have to buy the goat equivalent of Jersey's not Holsteins. I'm going to have to rethink feed. Less dependence on the feed store and buying in bulk for them as I do for our own family.
I need to think of more ways to produce a little of their feed myself for I have little land to produce it on but I have some. Change is in the wind. How will I weather it? Will I glide along or will I be buffeted and battered. The choice is mine.
Don't forget there was a fun game yesterday and a chance to enter a give away so check out yesterdays post.

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