Protecting strong export markets for Australian cashmere and mohair products hinges on fostering customer loyalty and clear market expectations are emerging around sustainability.
New guidelines on sustainable goat fibre production released by AgriFutures Australia aim to help goat fibre producers meet customer expectations around animal health and welfare, social welfare and environmental stewardship.
AgriFutures Australia Senior Manager, Dr Mila Bristow, said proactive animal welfare may include well-designed and maintained infrastructure and equipment which prevents escape, injury, slips and falls.
“The best on-farm set ups accommodate goat behaviour, which can differ significantly from sheep. Repurposed sheep and cattle facilities should take these behaviours into account,” said Dr Bristow.
“We want goat fibre producers to understand that the new guidelines are designed to protect markets and promote safety for both animals and their handlers.”
“The end game is long term profitability, underpinned by measurable productivity gains to help ensure economic resilience and long-term supply of quality products.”
The guidelines are built on strategies for boosting economic resilience in the industry. They provide specific tips for handling and harvesting, as well as nutrition such as understanding and working with goat grazing habits.
“Like any agricultural enterprise, goat fibre production includes many variables and these guidelines bring into one place many tools and resources including information on supplementary feeding and wider animal welfare standards,” said Dr Bristow.
“If goat producers ensure they are meeting these standards the flow on effect will be a stronger, safer export market based on Australia’s reputation for sustainably produced goat fibre.”
Dr Bristow said adoption of these guidelines would ensure Australian goat fibre producers continue to meet market expectations for social welfare, economic resilience, environmental stewardship and animal health and welfare outcomes.
These guidelines were developed by Schuster Consulting Group in consultation with an industry reference group.
The guidelines are available via agrifutures.com.au/sustainable_goat_fibre_production
Or for more information about the guidelines and the development of these guidelines visit agrifutures.com.au/Sustainable_Goat_Fibre_Production_FAQ