Cashmeres in a Mixed Farming Enterprise
Cashmeres have been successfully
used to control and assist in the elimination of a wide variety
of noxious weeds across Australia; including serrated & poa
tussock, scotch broom,gorse, blackberry, briar, saffron, variegated
and scotch thistles and a variety of burrs, including Bathurst
How goats control weeds
Goats help control weeds by:
- Preventing the weed from flowering and dispersing seed.
- Preferentially grazing the weed and so placing it at a disadvantage.
- Ring barking or structurally weakening some shrub species.
Contrary to popular belief Cashmeres DON'T eat
everything; they are quite selective in what they eat. They DO
tend to prefer coarser grasses and woody plants. Many of the
plants preferred by cashmeres are regarded by farmers as weeds.
The green clover, for which cattle and sheep have a grazing
preference, is not preferred by cashmeres. As cashmeres would
prefer not to eat green clover, they place it at a competitive
advantage over other plants in areas where they graze. Thus the
selective grazing preferences of Cashmeres can be used in the
establishment and management of improved pastures.
No Chemical Residues
Cashmeres are a more environmentally friendly solution to the
problem of weed control than the use of chemicals. The use of
chemicals in weed control is not only costly, but may also
restrict time of turning off livestock
to market due to the risk of chemical residue from the use of
those costly chemicals
Controlling Mulga Regrowth
In areas where Mulga regrowth is a problem, Cashmeres are an
efficient and cost effective solution. Not only will they happily
control the regrowth, but they will also thrive while doing so.
Low Cost Production
Unlike many other fleece bearing animals, cashmeres are not
prone to fly strike problems. Fly strike
preventative measures (jetting, crutching mulesing etc) can be
costly both in time and monetary terms. This was demonstrated in
a recent benchmarking study undertaken in NSW, by Wesfarmers
Landmark Yass, in conjunction with the accounting firm Boyce and
Co. The study found that 60% of the costs involved in producing
wool, were costs associated with fly strike prevention. Hence
cashmeres are way ahead of most sheep breeds when it comes to low
maintenance costs, for there is no need to crutch, mules or
jet them, nor is there the need for constant surveillance
for fly strike victims. Other husbandry practices are similar to
those of sheep, with the exception of the vaccination program for
clostridial diseases. Where sheep only require a booster every 12
months after the initial vaccinations, goats require a booster
every 6 months to maintain an immunity to these diseases.
The Australian Cashmere is a dual-purpose animal, bred to
optimize returns from both fibre and meat. It has evolved from the
Australian Bush Goat after many generations of selective breeding
for these attributes, whilst retaining the hardiness and fertility
of its origins.
Cashmere is the finest and softest of the natural fibres
available commercially, hence it is widely sought after and
attracts high prices (The
Schneider Group market indicators - for fine wool and cashmere. ). A number factors
are at play presently which favour a very bright future for Australian Cashmere.
- The first of course is the crisis in the oil industry.
With ever increasing shortages and escalating costs of petroleum
products in the not too distant future it is no longer going to
be possible to produce synthetic fibres economically. Natural
fibres will once again be relied upon to supply the textile
industry with raw materials.
- At present most of the world's cashmere is produced in
China and Mongolia. As the Chinese become more affluent, more
and more of the cashmere produced is consumed within China
itself. This is beginning to result in a shortage of cashmere
for European markets.
- Special Attributes of Australian Cashmere
Processors of cashmere like the Australian fibre as it is
free from contamination, unlike cashmere from the traditional
cashmere producing regions of the world. Australian cashmere
also has a higher tensile strength, which means that it is less
likely to break during processing. Elite Australian Cashmere
goats grow long cashmere fibre which is suitable for worsted
processing and the production of high quality cloths suitable
for use by the makers of expensive suits,jackets and coats. Only
a very small percentage of the world's total cashmere clip is
suitable for worsted processing. Most of the world's cashmere is
relatively short fibre and only suitable for woolen processing
to be made into jumpers and scarves etc.
Results of recent research undertaken by Dr Bruce McGregor of
the Victorian DPI, demonstrate that Australian cashmere
possesses special attributes which could be useful in developing
an attractive niche market for its products. Australian cashmere
possesses a lustrous appearance, quite unlike the dull and flat
appearance of the cashmere from traditional sources. It also
feels softer than cashmere of the same micron from the
traditional cashmere regions of the world. Australian Cashmere
can in fact feel softer than cashmere up to 2 micron finer than
itself. As the softness of cashmere is a crucial selling point,
the special softness attribute of Australian cashmere is indeed
a marketing tool worth exploiting.
CA$H FOR CASHMERE
Cashmere Connections, the Australian processor of
cashmere, buys raw cashmere fleece from producers.
Payment is made according to the yield, micron and colour
of the cashmere, with bonuses being given for well classed
and high yielding clips.
Due to China's dominance in the mass production of textile
goods worldwide, many of the large textile manufacturers here in
Australia have either folded, or moved their businesses
offshore. This has created a market opportunity for Australian
Cashmere, for in their place a number of small boutique
processors have sprung up and are looking at processing exotic
fibres. Several are very interested in processing Australian
cashmere and at present trialling cashmere tops, processed by
Cashmere Connections, in an effort to produce worsted spun
cashmere yarn. Cashmere Connections has also been dehairing
quantities of Australian Alpaca fibre for use by Australian
processors. Through these contacts, some cashmere top is also
going into blends with fine Alpaca. These are just some of the
new markets which are presently being developed for Australian
cashmere. Unfortunately due to the fact that the Australian
cashmere clip is relatively small, care must be taken not to
develop markets that can't be satisfied. For all those
interested in using Australian Cashmere to be satisfied cashmere
production needs to be increased
Meat Markets For Australian Cashmeres
Cashmeres produce a lean meat, which is the type of goat meat
preferred by many people who are the traditional consumers of
goat meat worldwide. Well finished cashmeres produce excellent
carcases. This has been demonstrated by their success in taking
off major awards, in the highly competitive hoof and hook
competitions at the Royal Sydney and Royal Perth shows in recent
Cashmere breeders have a number of choices as to when they
sell their male animals into the meat market. Cashmere kids meet
the specifications for the domestic Capretto market at 8-12 weeks
of age. Those producers not wanting, or not able to run stock on
have the option of quitting animals at an early age and receive
reasonable returns. Those producers who are able to run stock on
can shear animals once or twice before selling them into the
domestic or export meat markets. At present, the best returns in
a good cashmere herd, are from the sale of 15 month old animals
which have been shorn twice before being sold for slaughter.
Cashmere goats are generally very fertile and quite prolific.
A mature cashmere buck in good condition prior to joining can
serve 100 does .Under top management conditions 200% kidding
rates can be achieved. If in good condition at joining, does will
produce multiple births, usually twins and sometimes triplets.
The does are good and attentive mothers. If nutrition is adequate
and predators are kept at bay, the majority of kids will be
reared through to weaning. Because cashmeres are so fertile it
is important that male kids are either castrated or removed from
the flock at about 12 weeks of age. If this is not done, they
will start working and there will be unplanned pregnancies
amongst the doe portion of the flock.