Every mating season, veterinarians are called to fresh calved heifers presenting with unexplained severe forelimb lameness. This could be down to copper deficiency.
Caprine Innovations NZ (CAPRINZ) is a five-year, $30 million PGP programme joint effort by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Dairy Goat Cooperative (NZ) Ltd.
Among other things, it is aimed at lifting export revenue in the NZ dairy goat milk industry to $400 million annually by 2023. It also seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of families and grow research and farming capability.
Dairy Goat Cooperative chief executive David Hemara says CAPRINZ aims to strengthen the position of goat’s milk infant formula as the preferred alternative to cow milk infant formula.
“We recognise breastfeeding as the best source of nutrition for babies and infants. Our aim through this PGP programme with MPI is to target consumers in NZ and overseas by meeting demand where breast feeding requires supplementation or isn’t feasible.”
The CAPRINZ PGP programme is to enable all NZ goat farmers to measure and improve their performance, and to ensure that economic gains don’t come at the expense of the rural environment.
“Because many dairy goat farms use off-paddock animal housing there’s the opportunity to decrease the environmental impact of pastoral farming by conversions from other farming systems,” says Hemara. “Our programme aims to increase dairy goat numbers in the long term by 50% to over 100,000.”
MPI director-general Martyn Dunne says they expect industry-wide benefits.
“In addition to economic benefits, the CAPRINZ PGP programme also aims to create more than 400 new jobs onfarm, improve dairy goat farming practice and sustainable production, and boost capability across the industry.
“It will also grow NZ’s research capability in the science of high-value nutrition and health, and establish a dairy goat research farm to deliver and trial its innovations.”
Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor launched the programme in Hamilton.