CUMBORAH producer Nick Deshon, Llanillo, reckons the key to the goat job is to keep it simple.
"Less is more," Mr Deshon told The Land.
And it's a strategy that is paying off.
Just south-west of Lightning Ridge lies Llanillo, where Mr Deshon, with his wife Kath and their family, runs 3500 Merino ewes and 1000 agistment cattle plus cattle of their own.
He also sows country to wheat and barley and at another block, Karoola, he runs goats behind wire in conjunction with the Deshon Goat Depot.
"We run four to five thousand goats of our own plus whatever we muster from our back paddocks," Mr Deshon said.
"If we need to fill a few decks we can just go through them, peel a few out and make the decks up."
"It's a spin of the wheel. Where you used to just harvest goats, now you've got them behind wire and you can bank on them
And across the West, goats are no longer just a muster and punt commodity.
"The goats are breeding up and everyone is improving their herds with a few Boers or Kalahari Reds," Mr Deshon said.
"I still like to have a bit of that F1 [first-cross], rangeland type through them. They seem to travel a bit more and work a bit harder.
"Once you get into it, you make one goat paddock and then you realise you'll need a few more.
"Goats need to browse. Anything that has had plenty of room will come back in fit and healthy.
"They'll be top-buckle."
In other sheep and goat news:
- Cobar Red and Black Goat Sale reaches unseen before territory
- Bigger yardings put pressure on trade lamb prices
- First-cross ewes at Yass hit $535
Almost two decades ago the Deshons "got serious" with the depot. Still, they keep things simple.
"When we started out we started with netting around a dam and a couple of trap gates. We'd trap a few in and truck a few out," Mr Deshon said.
"The money we made we put back into fencing.
"We moved from those yards in 2003 to our main set of sheep yards, and now we run straight goats on that block."
At first, Mr Deshon paid a price per head for goats going in to the depot.
Now he pays on a liveweight basis using a set of scales fashioned from an old Toyota crate.
"You can weigh 25 to 30 goats at a time," Mr Deshon said.
"We did a mob of 30 at the end of the month which came to about $4000. They weren't big goats either.
"There's some money in it now with the weight, it's really accurate, and people just bring ute loads."
Meanwhile it's been an ideal season at Cumborah.
Mr Deshon said goats were coming off the water or wandering off crop with plenty of weight.
"With the spring flush, they're really cycling and breeding and numbers are coming up quick," he said.
At Llanillo, the Deshons have just joined their breeding ewes and the cattle on agistment from Winton, Western Qld, have "kept the wheels turning" too.
"They had a bit of misfortune at Winton with grasshoppers and the rain," Mr Deshon said.
"They've had it hard. You can make something out of a bit of mud, but if you've got to feed and cart water you're in a bit of pain.
"Those agistment cattle have been beautiful to handle and they've also knocked down all that high feed for the sheep and the goats," Mr Deshon said.
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