In an effort to upgrade dairy goat genetics in Australia, a small Australian firm, Semtech Animal Breeding Service, has solicited the help of breeders in the United States.
Along with other seedstock producers, Gravel-Ends Ranch at Hillsboro has sold two goat bucks to the company. Co-owner Jennifer Stultz (who recently joined the news staff of Hoch Publishing Company) said the bucks underwent five blood tests before the Australian company accepted them. Australia has strict standards for livestock and semen coming into the country.
The bucks were picked up Oct. 16 and delivered to a holding station near Austin, Texas, where they will be kept for semen extraction.
Only 10 bucks from across the United States were selected for this project, and the two from Stultzes’ Gravel-Ends Ranch herd were the only ones from the state of Kansas.
Both of the bucks the Stultzes sold have been Grand Champions of dairy goat shows, and one was judged Best of Show. One buck was a 6-year-old French Alpine. The other was an 8-year-old Nigerian Dwarf. They had to be at least 6 years old to qualify.
Semtech principal Paul Hamilton said they were chosen not primarily because of their champion status but because of their good health and the proven quality of their offspring.
Keenan Stultz, 14, and Shelbi Stultz, 12, have raised and shown offspring of both bucks successfully as part of their 4-H projects, winning awards at county and state fair levels.
The Stultzes have an average herd of 20 milking does, 10 replacement does, and five to 10 bucks. Kids are born starting the end of January each year. Most of them are sold as doelings and bucklings. Some doelings are kept as replacements for the older does.
The Stultz family, which includes four children, drinks the milk and makes cheese for their own use and a few customers.
Hamilton said the need for quality dairy goat genetics in Australia was great.
“Not only has the gene pool of each breed become very small, but to complicate matters further, constant grading up one breed through the other makes the diversity of the whole population very tiny,” he said.
The Stultzes and other dairy goat seedstock producers are hoping this latest development will spur demand for their livestock.
“We hope to show the Aussies that American genetics can benefit them,” Jennifer Stultz said. “I think this new project is really exciting. Once it is established, it will provide a regular pipeline for future sales. I am ecstatic that we had bucks chosen for this project. It is awesome.”
Stultz worked with Texas dairy goat guru, Tamara Taylor, who provided direction for the nationwide project.