The planned introduction by Hi-Pro of select breeds of goats and a total mixed ration to the local market have been hailed by both the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) and the Small Ruminants Association of Jamaica (SRAJ) as timely and necessary for the growth of the goat industry. These breeds include the Saanens, Boer and Anglo Nubian—new genetic lines of exotic local breeds.
“This intervention by Hi-Pro will be a game-changer,” said Trevor Bernard, president of the SRAJ, while Lenworth Fulton, president of the JAS has described the move by Hi-Pro as a “win-win situation”.
Dr O’Shane McHugh, veterinarian at Hi-Pro noted that the company would be introducing new genetic lines within local herds through a reproduction technology programme, which should result in higher milk yield and meat-to-bone ratio for the local market.
“This insemination programme is aimed at producing more… to provide milk for human consumption, as well as value-added by-products such as cheese and skincare items; also, bucks for goat meat. Insemination is vital for new blood lines to be added to the existing herds. This is a part of Hi-Pro’s five-year plan for the small ruminant industry, which will also be looking at embryo transfer to take advantage of the swift multiplication of superior traits within the selected milk and meat breeds,” he noted.
At the recent annual general meeting of the Small Ruminant Association at the Bodles Research Station in St Catherine, Khalil Brown, Animal Nutritionist at Hi-Pro formally introduced the Total Mixed Ration machine to the goat and sheep farmers in attendance.
“This machine allows farmers to add rations such as sugar cane, molasses, grass and concentrate to a basic formula to create a complete single, economical feed mix of required nourishment for the herds,” said Brown.
He noted that Hi-Pro’s aim is to grow the small ruminants sector and reduce the importation of goat and sheep meat, by at least 10 per cent. In 2018, STATIN reported that imported goat meat stood at $568.5 million or 1.2 million tonnes, while sheep meat accounted for imports valued at $1.669 billion with 2.6 million tonnes.
In his response to the presentation by Hi-Pro, the SRAJ president said the Total Mixed Ration machine allows each farmer to design his or her own feed with ingredients available. He said with the various challenges, including praedial larceny, facing farmers when the animals are left to roam to find forage, having the mixer will allow hundreds of goats and sheep to be kept in a specified area for feeding, thereby cutting labour costs.