Imported Goats Improve Australian Mohair
Angora goats imported from Texas and South Africa have improved Australian mohair enough to give farmers a better return than they get from wool.
That’s the opinion of Mohair Australia, which believes goat farmers have the opportunity to move from a fringe “hobby industry” into a mainstream commercial enterprise.
Australian mohair lacked that crucial feel of luxury until South African and Texas goats were imported to breed with the locals, said Steve Roots, president of Mohair Australia, a breed society for angora goats.
“The old Australian goats had a lot of kemp which gives the fleece ‘prickle factor.’ In those days, you could expect to get one kilo from an adult animal. Now it is five,” Roots told Meat Trade Daily News.
Mohair producers average $13 a kilogram for clean fiber compared with about $8 for sheep wool, returning higher profits even though they grazed far fewer animals per acre, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation said.
Jeff and Juliana Neve, members of Mohair Australia, said some shearers are prejudiced against goats, believing them to be difficult because they are smarter than sheep.
“Well, sheep are dumb,” Juliana Neve said. “You might get a goat which will yell out, while sheep wouldn’t make a noise, but there is no problem with shearing (goats). They don’t fight as long as you lay them comfortably.”
Fencing is another point of contention, Roots.
Angora (goats) are not like your dairy goat which will go over the fence,” he said. “Your angora will go under the fence … They go around the perimeter looking for a way out — the buggers. You could say sheep are easier to contain because they will not go under.”