Question: I want to start a feedlot for goats. Could you please tell me how to start the business, and how to develop feeding formulas?
It isn’t easy to make a success of sheep and goat feedlots. It may seem odd, but you have to start at the end and work your way back to the beginning.
In other words, you have first to know how many animals, of what type, you can be sure you’ll sell every week or month, and at what (consistent) price. The market has to be reliable, otherwise you could lose a lot of money.
Getting the animals up to the required weight and condition as quickly and economically as possible is largely the result of feeding the right rations at the right times.
Unfortunately you have to keep on calculating, revising and changing because the price of ingredients, and of purchased and sold sheep and goats, do not stay constant.
GET THE FEED RIGHT
- It would be wise to start feedlotting in a small way, using a commercial ration formulated by a reputable feed manufacturer, even if it is more expensive. The price of a large batch of feed can always be negotiated.
- The feedlot owner should only consider making his own mixes once he has put through many batches of animals, over a period of time.
- Remember that it’s essential to mix feed thoroughly; it’s a waste having a good formula that’s badly mixed.
- Another important point is that the cheapest isn’t always the best – in terms of profit, it’s often true that the cheapest ration may turn out to be the most expensive.
- Look, too, at bulk buying, but remember that if you have too much feed that’s not consumed quickly it could mean a lot of dead capital (money that’s not making money) and the quality may deteriorate.
- This article was written by prof. Gareth Bath and first appeared in Farming SA.