Adaptation of Local Meat Goat Breeds to South African Ecosystems

Chapter

Abstract

Meat goats play an important role in terms of food security, socio-economic welfare and cultural importance in South Africa. The meat goat industry is differentiated into a formal, commercial market served by mainly three breeds (Boer goat, Savanna and Kalahari Red) and an informal, mostly communal industry where unimproved indigenous veld goats are kept. Goats are mostly farmed within the grassland, savanna and Karoo biomes, in extensive production systems. The meat goat breeds are well-adapted to the harsh extensive farming systems in which most of them are farmed, which are characterized by limited feed and water resources, extreme temperatures and a high prevalence of diseases and parasites. The indigenous goat has superior adaptability with regards to extremely challenging environments. The commercial breeds have been subjected to artificial selection and have limited participation in the South African small stock improvement scheme, while almost no effort has been made to improve the indigenous veld goat or to conserve its unique genetic attributes.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal and Wildlife SciencesUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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