Angora goats in prime profit mode

18 Apr, 2002 12:00 AM
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FORGET the knockers who would relegate Angora goats to the scrapheap of past speculative rural pursuits that have failed.

There's never been a better time to buy and breed Angora goats, says successful Queensland breeder Dean Powrie.

What's more, Mr Powrie can back up his enthusiasm with rock solid evidence in price returns and, in the case of his own stud, top national show successes.

Dean Powrie and his wife Heather have been running Heathermere Angora Stud at Narangba, on a small 10 hectare block with about 100 goats.

More recently they have acquired a larger area of Stanthorpe district country to run their recently acquired 250 registered breeding does.

The first of Heathermere's recent show triumphs came at the Border Region Show at Stanthorpe where the stud took supreme Angora award with the doe Heathermere Bathsheba, a yearling doe in the one to two years class.

The Powries entered a doe and buck in the recent National Angora Show in Goluburn, NSW, and took out the National Angora championship with their yearling buck Heathermere Bravado - who came second in his class at Stanthorpe.

This is the first time that a Queensland Angora has won the national championship.

Total national competition was between two bucks and two does selected from each State.

Apart from his obvious delight at winning the national award, Mr Powrie is equally enthusiastic about publicising the solid earning power of Angora goats as a viable modern rural industry.

He said Angora goats were shorn twice a year and there was never any problem selling mohair, about 90 percent of the Australian clip being exported. Top lines of mohair were now selling from $24 to $28 a kg, with average herd return of $13 to $18kg.

He said young kids started at about 1-1.5kg per shearing, building up to 2.5-3.5kg per shearing as they matured.

With goats producing 7-8kg a year (from the two shearings) at the optimum age for yield and quality and this mohair selling up to $28kg, the returns per Angora goat started to look very appealing, with earning power up to $200 a year.

On the basis of these returns, breeding stock remained reasonably priced.

Mr Powrie said a top Soft Rolling Skin SRS(r) buck could cost up to $5000 and a high quality breeding doe $2000, but good stud registered animals could be bought in volume for $30 to $50 a head.

When Angora goats reach three to four years of age their mohair becomes coarser and of lower value. They can then be sold to the meat trade where there is consistent demand.

The Powries' Angora flock is based on the best Texan and African bloodlines, with sires specially selected from accredited SRS(r) studs.

SRS(r) sires currently being used at Heathermere through AI and natural service are Yandiah Great Vintage and Wilton Park Clarion.

Mr Powrie said Angora goats offered a management advantage in cleaning up paddocks, and thus could be run in grazing rotations with cattle, the latter getting the advantage of fresh pasture growth after paddocks have been cleared of rubbish weeds and woody regrowth.

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As a beef stud operator with a close relative who had the misfortune of trying to make very