First published 21 February 2012
Having grown up learning about goat production from his father on the family farm in Brazil, Daniel Nogueira will be able to teach him a few things as well when he returns home.
The James Cook University PhD student is currently on a four-year Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) scholarship in Townsville to study the interactions between nutrition and reproduction in goats, to help improve production in Australia.
According to the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), Australia is one of the largest exporters of goat meat worldwide, exporting over 27.8 thousand tonnes in 2010.
The research is part of a new project for JCU’s School of Veterinary and Biomedical Science, involving the purchase of 50 female goats as well as research materials.
So far, the research has found that goats in Townsville have seasonal sexual activity driven by times when there are shorter days of light, with the largest percentage of conceptions occurring in autumn and winter.
“Autumn and winter conception results in spring kidding, when feed supplies and environmental conditions are usually most favourable,” Mr Nogueira said.
Mr Nogueira is currently looking at whether high protein or energy foods could induce sexual activity and increase the number of ovulations in rangeland goats - goats that have developed in areas which offer natural protection against predators - during the non-breeding season.
“I am using ultrasounds and other tests to measure hormones so I can profile the goats as to their individual ovarian activity,” he said.
With $20,000 in funding from the MLA, a face-to-face survey will also be conducted with farmers from around regional Queensland and New South Wales, to gain information about the goat industry to help producers with planning and policy development.
Mr Nogueira said he was trying to develop a greater understanding of the industry within Australia and take that knowledge back to Brazil to help further the industry there.
“The purpose of the survey is to build a detailed understanding about the goat industry in Australia, to find out the problems or constraints, and to suggest possible strategies to improve productivity and policies,” he said.
On completion of his studies, Daniel will continue working for the EMBRAPA as a researcher in Animal Production and Reproduction to improve the goat industry in Brazil.
“I am going to adapt the knowledge and techniques from Australia to improve the quality of goat production in the semi-arid region of Brazil.
“I’ll be the one to tell my father,” he said.
Contact: Gemma Bauman, JCU School of Veterinary and Biomedical Science, Phone: 07 4781 4990
or 0402 864 636
JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175.