An experiment ran from mid-October to mid-January to develop pasture height/quality guidelines for optimum doe and kid growth in spring and to test the advantages of integrating goats with other stock classes at this time. Three goat-only farmlets comprised two paddocks with does and kids alternating, 7 days in each. Pre-grazing pasture mass was maintained at 1.6, 2.0 and 2.5 t DM/ha respectively. In three integrated-species farmlets, does with kids grazed from a pre-graze pasture mass of 2.5 t DM/ha for 7 days, followed by the sheep/cattle mob for 7 day. Paddocks were spelled for three weeks before goats were reintroduced. Sheep/cattle mobs comprised, hoggets, yearling steer, or 60%/40% combination of the two (respectively). In goat-only farmlets, does lost live weight and kid liveweight gain was reduced when pre-graze pasture mass was below 2.5 t DM/ha. Doe liveweight gain was maximised in the goat/sheep/cattle farmlet. Kid liveweight gain was compromised only on the lowest pasture mass, gain on other farmlets being similar. Sheep and cattle liveweight gains appeared to be unaffected by grazing behind goats when grazing down to 1.5 - 1.6 t DM/ha. Parasite faecal egg concentration (FEC) of does was increased by grazing at low pasture masses with 80% and 63% of does being drenched at 1.6 and 2.0 t DM/ha respectively compared to 53% at 2.5 t DM/ha. Integration with cattle and sheep/cattle reduced FEC (27% and 17% does drenched respectively) compared with goats only or goats followed by sheep (53% and 43% respectively). In all farmlets without sheep grazing, weed occurrence on transect analysis was over 35%. The presence of sheep reduced this to approx. 23% and in the goat/sheep/cattle system weed occurrence was approx. 10%. Clover occurrence was similar in all farmlets (approx. 50%) except for the goat/sheep farmlet (approx. 30%).
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 49, , 133-136, 1989
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