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Silvopastoral systems with Goats in the Humid Tropics, examples?

 
Scott Gallant
Posts: 42
Location: Costa Rica
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Hey all,

Does anyone out there have any recommendations for projects/sites that are successfully (or otherwise) working with goats in silvopastoral systems or fodder bank systems in the humid tropics?

I am based in Costa Rica and looking to revamp our goat systems over the next year. I would love to find examples of others, what challenges they have faced, what they are doing well, what works, etc.

Thanks in advance for any ideas!

Scott Gallant

Rancho Mastatal Sustainable Education Center
www.ranchomastatal.com
 
Fred Morgan
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
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I work with goats on our lands - so I can give you some advice. We live in Costa Rica.
 
Scott Gallant
Posts: 42
Location: Costa Rica
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Thanks for your reply Fred!

I would love to get more information on what you all are doing.

A bit of history: we are located in the wet tropical forest, at about 300m. We get between 4000-6000mm of rain/year. The topography is very steep and rugged; it is fairly quintessential tropical mountain terrain. We have had goats for about 5 years, primarily managing them through a cut and carry fodder system. This system is OK, and improving, especially as we find new sources of fodder and increase our stock of plants. Originally we hoped to incorporate the goats into a grazing system around orchards of Jack fruit, Nispero, Biriba, etc. In hindsight, our planning and timing of tree plantings was not well done, and looking ahead it is hard for us to envision a system of grazing goats where they do not destroy any perennial plantings. Our land does not have traditional pasture, it wants to be forest if you will.

I could list off a dozen plus questions for you, management practices, primary feed, biggest challenges, etc. Perhaps you could describe how you have incorporated the goats into your site?

Thanks in advance,
Scott


 
R. Mason
Posts: 2
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Hi Scott,

How is your goat system getting along? I ask because we have about 25 goats here in Hawai'i and we're thinking about new ways of managing them. Right now half of the herd is out browsing on old sugar cane land that is now covered with ferns, shrubs, and "trash trees". They used to be mostly on pasture but using this marginal land seems like a good way of taking the pressure off the pastures and also maybe reducing the goats' parasite load (because they're mostly eating quite far from the ground. What's your experience been like?

Aloha,
Rachel
 
Scott Gallant
Posts: 42
Location: Costa Rica
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Hi Rachel,

We ended up phasing out our goat system. The lack of pasture land and our steep topography on our property made the cut and carry fodder system too challenging.

For me the best way to monitor your animal system is through the Bulleseye monitoring system.
https://www.ncat.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Bulleseye-Manual.pdf

This is perhaps the most systematic way to make sure you are getting the results you want for the land.

Good luck!
 
R. Mason
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Sorry - been meaning to read the Bullseye document and then compose an informed reply to you hopefully commenting on how useful it is. But so far I've just got as far as printing it out and thinking "this looks helpful"

It's a shame your goat system didn't work out (they're great animals, as I'm sure you know), but clearly you're wise to phase out the system if it wasn't right for the property. All the best!
 
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