Hello from Alton , South Taranaki
As a farmer and newly elected Chairperson of Mohair New Zealand I know there is nothing better than seeing years of planning and endevour becoming reality. It was as a child and enjoying my pet feral goats that I knew I wanted to farm these animals — I just didn’t know how and when. It was when Richard and I married and we were farming dairy cows that it became possible to farm larger numbers of goats — the choice mohair production but as it was the time of high prices we started with feral does and one “good” angora buck . Looking back I was rather ignorant, if I had known better I would have realised how bad that buck was!
Our long term goal was to breed from feral to angora goats and to have achieved in 20 years the best angora/mohair producing flock we could , all the while successfully competing with the financial returns that were alternatives in our steep gulleys (trees/sheep/cattle).
We can confidently say that through a combination of goats and cattle , and regular purchases of bucks at the 20 year mark we had pretty much achieved that goal but now at 35 years the same challenge is still driving us . The potential to improve the flock is as great as ever , and the ability to improve financial returns has been spelt out clearly by G T Ferreira at the last Mohair New Zealand AGM .
Let me give some ideas of how this mohair industry of ours has so much more progress to make
- Our fleece producing flock averages just over $100/goat/year . The top 3-4% are returning 35-40% more. -gains here
- Weaving quality fibre commands a premium over the fibre we currently produce, all we have to do is breed the right animals and to shear in the correct way in order to test the market for a premium. Weaving type bucks have been imported into New Zealand in the last 2 years. The market pays a premium for length, medullation free, fine fiber with good strength, style and character -gains here.
As an example of the two points above–
At the National show at Goulbourn New South Wales 2016 there was a Production Class held. The class requires each competitor to enter 4 angoras with no more than 6 months of fleece, last shearing dates provided. The goats are shorn, the fleeces are classed and valued by the Australian Mohair Marketing Organisation. Because they pay more for weaving fiber the prices are higher than in NZ but the top team made up of 2 wether kids and 2 3rd shear wethers made $409 for the 6 month shear, the top fleece being worth $131.96 .
If you think this is not achievable my best kid shore 2.3 kg and at weaving prices that would have been worth over $100, my best 3rd shear shore over 3 kgs ( summer 2015 )