Using goats to control Acacia Karoo as a weed in rangelands; forage in the winter and the benefits of goats milk.
Benefits of goat milk: In 2014, total global production of goat milk amounted to two billion litres, while the average annual production figures were 840 litres of milk per goat. According to Ward Watzeels, from the Dutch goat milk company, Bettinehoeve, goat milk is tasty, healthy, and thanks to small fat particles making it similar to breast milk, easy to digest. It is an alternative for people who are intolerant of cow’s milk, and is a source of magnesium, iron and vitamins A and D. Consumer demand is driven by taste, reported health benefits, a green image and an alternative protein source.
Locally, quite a large range of goat milk beauty products are available, such as body butter, which the manufacturers claim to penetrate deeply into the skin, to maintain moisture, nourish and hydrate the skin. The story is also told that in ancient times, Egyptian princesses bathed in goat milk to boost longevity.
Acacia karroo a boost for goat nutrition: Acacia karroo is included in the National Weed List and regarded as an invader of natural rangeland, competing for space, light, water and nutrients. Several methods have been devised to eradicate encroaching, with little or no success. If seen as a source of protein supplement for indigenous goats, especially in communal areas, this can assist in controlling encroachment. Goats supplemented with A. karroo leaf have higher growth rates and lower meat pH than non-supplemented groups. A. karroo supplementation also significantly affects meat tenderness and juiciness. Recent studies indicate that tannin-rich plants such as A. karroo might present a promising option to reduce nematode infections in small ruminants (David Brown, Farmer’s Weekly, 6 February 2015).