Indigenous veld goats: the ideal option for extreme conditions
Farmer's Weekly|January 28, 2022
Changing weather conditions and Africa’s severe poverty demand tough, easy-to-care-for livestock. The answer, says breeder Deon Vlok, is indigenous veld goats. Annelie Coleman reports.
Annelie Colema

FAST FACTS

The value of South Africa’s indigenous veld goats came to the fore during the past eight years’ drought in the Northern Cape, says breeder Deon Vlok.

Being extremely hardy, the four local veld goat ecotypes make economic sense for livestock production in the semi-arid regions of the country.

The strong maternal instinct of the goats ensures that the kids are raised successfully on the veld.

Deon Vlok, who runs indigenous veld goats on 50 000ha between Calvinia and Brandvlei in the Northern Cape, says his animals truly showed their mettle during the recent eight-year drought, proving to be a mainstay for his farm.

“I’m extremely impressed by the economic value the goats added during the drought. I’ve always had a deep respect and love for our indigenous livestock breeds, and the goats’ top performance during the drought, which lasted until 2021, affirmed my belief that indigenous breeds have tremendous economic value to offer South Africa’s livestock-breeding sector,” he says.

Vlok emphasises that indigenous veld goats are hardy and well adapted to extensive and sparse veld conditions. Even under the most taxing conditions during the drought, the goats flourished with the bare minimum of supplemental feed. Only when the situation became dire, from time to time, did he supply fodder, but at no stage were the animals given licks or other feed supplements.

Vlok started farming indigenous goats in 1985, and breeds the four well-known ecotypes found in Southern Africa: the Kaokoveld Kunene, the Mbuzi, the Cape speckled and the Eastern Cape Xhosa lob-ear.

LOW INPUT COSTS

According to Vlok, the goats’ incomparable maternal instincts and hardy constitution mean they are able to drop and raise kids without fuss, even in times of want. This, coupled with the fact that they are indiscriminate feeders, cuts down on input costs.

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