OSU to participate in study to improve meat goat production
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
In partnership with the American Institute for Goat Research and Langston University, Oklahoma State University recently received a $500,000 grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to improve meat goat production.
One of the factors limiting the efficiency of meat goat production in the U.S. is the low weight of the livestock at harvest. Research is needed to determine the effects of live weight and age at harvest, the nature of a meat goat’s diet, the impact of gender and breed on carcass yield, mass of internal fat, product quality, consumer appeal, cost of production and profitability.
The general objective of the research will be to determine how different conditions in meat goat production influence the efficiency of production and profit. Researchers will address the potential benefits of harvesting meat goats at heavier weights, as well as the influencing factors of diet, gender and breed.
A unique aspect of the project will be the use of a commercial livestock meat processing business to determine animal sale price and evaluate how it affects consumer appeal and meat chemical composition. Expenses associated with the various production system treatments will be reviewed to identify the most cost-effective operations for individual farms.
Professor Gretchen Mafi and other colleagues in the OSU Department of Animal and Food Sciences will be responsible for the product cut-out, quality and consumer satisfaction aspects of the research.
“The findings of this research will help producers better understand the value of finishing goats to heavier weights and production practices to allow this to be done more efficiently,” Mafi said. “Improved management practices will benefit producers in the U.S. and around the world to provide goat meat to more consumers with growing demand.
Mafi said OSU and Langston researchers hope that this collaboration will lead to other cooperative projects. The research also aligns with plans to introduce a product development program and center for goat products, dairy and meat, and horticulture items at Langston. The study will also contribute to a larger research initiative led by Langston to develop a sustainable meat goat production and marketing system for the southeastern U.S. The research findings will identify future areas of meat goat research to be proposed for the second and third phases of the large-scale project.
For information on becoming a meat goat producer, access OSU’s Meat Goat Manual online.