Goat breeders butting heads

Kalahari Reds form separate goat breeders association

Sheepmeat
The architect for the new group, Alison Langley has been breeding Kalahari Red goats for seven years in the Wimmera region in Victoria.

The architect for the new group, Alison Langley has been breeding Kalahari Red goats for seven years in the Wimmera region in Victoria.

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A significant milestone for Kalahari Red goat breeders was achieved in Australia last Friday with the announcement of the formation of a separate association for the breed.

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A significant milestone for Kalahari Red goat breeders was achieved in Australia last Friday with the announcement of the formation of a separate association for the breed.

Prior to this, animals with Kalahari Red genetics in Australia were registered under the Boer goat banner with a K suffix.

The architect of the shift, Victorian breeder Alison Langley said her phone hadn't stopped ringing since the announcement, including from "mothership" studs in South Africa.

"This move means we're possibly the first association in the world dedicated to the Kalahari Red breed," she said. "Even in South Africa, breeders sit under the Boer banner."

The move was precipitated by the refusal of the Boer Goat Breeders Association of Australia to recognise Kalahari Reds as a separate breed, according to Ms Langley.

"This is despite South Africa doing so," she said.

"Our previous home was under Boer rules, their beliefs. They said they didn't believe Kalahari Red was a separate breed; they say it's a red Boer.

"I'm not sure why, after X number of years, they can't recognise that it's morphed into a separate breed."

According to a page dedicated to the breed's history on the South African Boer Goat Association website, DNA testing in 1998 demonstrated sufficient genetic separation between Boer, Savannah and Kalahari Red breeds, resulting in the formation of the Kalahari Red Club in 1999.

Karoo Livestock Exports, based in South Africa, says on its Kalahari Red page that DNA tests have "found a great genetic divide between the Kalahari Reds and other South African goat breeds".

A Kalahari Red doe and kids on the Seven Oaks stud in Victoria.

A Kalahari Red doe and kids on the Seven Oaks stud in Victoria.

The inability of BGBAA to acknowledge the breed and therefore supply registration papers showing their Kalahari ancestry was threatening their burgeoning export potential, Ms Langley said.

"Two years ago they were happy to recognise us as a separate breed and now they don't, as per a letter I have telling me they were removing the K code from my registration.

"We have a sensational export market but without papers, we may as well sell to abattoirs.

"We've been left with no choice and to be honest, we should have done it years ago."

Blackall stud Seaford Reds set a new Australian record last year, selling a full-blood Kalahari Red buck for $11,070 on AuctionsPlus.

Numerous unsuccessful attempts have been made to seek comment from BGBAA president Dean Smith.

The new group was due to hold its inaugural annual general meeting by Zoom this week, to elect a board and decide on membership fees, after which it would be receiving memberships, establishing a herdbook and registration process, and setting up a website.

"Our main priority is to give Kalahari Reds a home and to promote the breed," Ms Langley said.

Goat Industry Council of Australia president John Falkenhagen welcomed the move as an absolute positive for the goat industry.

"They are the masters of their own destiny, whereas before they felt they weren't," he said. "Having one association representing two different breeds, they felt was a challenge."

Mr Falkenhagen said to his mind there was no conflict between the two breeds, as both had good attributes.

"The goat industry in Australia is maturing so fast, it's a great place to be," he said.

"None of us know where prices will end up at the moment.

"The likes of Kalahari Reds, from a genetic point of view, have got a lot to offer."

Ms Langley said the new organisation would have a strong commercial focus rather than a concentration on show ribbons.

"We're focusing on moving forward with the freight train of the meat industry," she said. " We believe in the future of this exceptional goat and are passionate to watch this breed perform and excel consistently in the harsh Australian environment in which they are bred."

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The story Goat breeders butting heads first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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