Boer goats 'just perfect' for busy professionals
Boer goats are the ideal class of livestock to farm for busy medical emergency professionals Lynn Wickenden and Marlene Andrew, guest judges of the boer goat section of the Upper Clutha A&P Show in Wanaka.
The pair owns Carrington View Boer Goat Stud in the southern highlands of New South Wales between Sydney and Canberra. The stud carries between 100 and 150 stud animals and recently branched out into the meat industry supplying premium goat meat to the local restaurant trade.
Both work full-time, Wickenden in emergency nursing and Andrew as a paramedic, so they thought carefully before choosing the class of livestock they now farm.
"Originally, I was looking for an animal that didn't just eat grass, one that was capable of clearing weeds," Wickenden said. "I didn't want anything that required milking or anything that needed shearing.
"Boer goats are the perfect animal for us," she said. "They have a really good temperament, they're really friendly, personable and easy to handle. And once you fall in love with them, that's the end of you."
Originally from Gisborne, Andrew is also well and truly hooked on the breed after working with boer goats for seven years.
"I didn't know what a boer goat was when I lived in New Zealand," she said, "So for me it's an absolute privilege to come back here and judge an animal that I've come to know and love in Australia."
Both are now ranked as Level 2 boer goat judges in Australia and regularly travel to South Africa, the home of boer goats, to work as stewards at South African national championships and to attend senior judging schools as a precursor to qualifying as judges there.
Their Carrington View Stud is a relatively small stud that shows stud stock around the show circuit and produces animals mostly for the Australian market. They have also exported animals to Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.
Wickenden said both New Zealand and Australian boer goat breeders were in a similar situation in that they were keen to expand the genetic base of their breeding stock by importing new bloodlines from South Africa.
Breeders in both countries are still drawing on a limited genetic pool of stock originally imported from South Africa 25 years ago. However, quarantine laws here and in Australia are very strict which makes it difficult to source new blood.
South Africa is currently reviewing its quarantine laws and biosecurity protocols so Wickenden and Andrew are hoping to be able to import embryos again in the next few years.