Sustainable Year-Round Forage System for Goat Production in the Southern USA

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2002: $178,120.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2005
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $174,745.00
Region: Southern
State: Alabama
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Sandra Solaiman
Tuskegee University

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: rye, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Animals: goats


  • Animal Production: parasite control, grazing - rotational, winter forage, feed/forage
  • Education and Training: technical assistance, demonstration, on-farm/ranch research
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development
  • Sustainable Communities: partnerships, public participation


    A comparison of production systems indicated that animals on feedlot or Marshall ryegrass grew faster and reached expected slaughter weight in less time when compared to bahiagrass pasture and mimosa. However, economically Marshall ryegrass was superior fallowed by mimosa browse. Stocking rates of mimosa fields, rotationally browsed, and Marshall ryegrass, continuously grazed were 4-5 goats/acre and 11-12 goats/acre, respectively. Mimosa did not have an anthelmintic activity when fed for 21 days, however, animals needed less parasite control than those on bahaigrass pastures. Performance of buck was superior to wether and purity of breed without documentation did not guarantee better performance.

    Tables and Figures mentioned in this report
    are on file in the Southern SARE office.
    Contact Sue Blum at 770-229-3350 or for a hard copy.

    Project objectives:

    The general goal of this project was to develop and demonstrate a profitable and sustainable year-round forage system (mimosa in the summer, and annual ryegrass pasture in the winter) for goat production, especially suited to limited resource producers, and with special focus on high quality forage and reduction of GI parasites. Accordingly, our specific objectives were to:

    1-Study the pattern of foliage removal from mimosa by goats, and determine the optimal degree
    and frequency of defoliation;

    2- Determine whether mimosa has any anthelmintic effect when consumed by goats;
    3- Determine carcass quality and if there is a consumer preference for meat from browse-fed goats;

    4-Establish the optimal stocking rates and associated animal weight gain for goats when feeding on mimosa in summer, and annual ryegrass in winter;

    5- Compare productivity of goats on ryegrass with that of cattle: and

    6-Evaluate (on an experiment station) and demonstrate (on two small farms) an integrated year-round forage system of mimosa in summer and annual ryegrass in winter for goat production by limited resource farmers.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.