The team at Sheep and Goat Milk NZ had the privilege of interviewing Deb Crump from Caprigenz – Global Elite Dairy Goat Genetics. Here is her story.
It all began in 1990 when the Dairy Goat Cooperative was still in its infancy. Deb brought her first dairy goats with plans to become a commercial supplier. She took a similar approach to many new farmers, buying in “any old goat she could get her hands on” and the results were disastrous. It turned out commercial farms were selling unwanted stock at a cheap price, often due to health or performance issues, along with ferals and anything else available. It wasn’t the best way to build a quality herd of milking goats.
“Because the genetic turnover in goats is so fast you can mate kids at five months and they’re in the sh ed milking at ten months. There is the possibility of genetic gain or conversely wrecking the whole show and that can happen very, very fast. You can take it forwards or backwards in less than one year,” explains Deb.
This experience was a big learning curve and it’s something Deb has taken with her right through to this present day. The poor quality of goats resulted in a myriad of health problems including bad feet, parasites and black mastitis. After meeting with an established breeder and purchasing the best buck their money could buy, they noticed an immediate difference.
“If there’s one point you need to remember, it’s that your buck is half your herd”, Deb advises.
Deb’s background working as a vet technician and farming specialist has provided her with the opportunity to work in five different countries, consulting and establishing a number of dairy systems with the emphasis on the quality of genetics and animal health. To add another string to her bow, she also travelled to Texas in the US to learn about reproductive technology, including semen collection and freezing.
Mark, Deb’s partner, also has a substantial background in dairy goats, having played a major role in Landcorp for 12 years, importing the first Boer goat embryos from Zimbabwe. Mark’s role was breeding and rearing goats with the very best genetics, a job he proved to excel at, with on-farm sales reaching $1 million for one buck, Hercules, and the top does averaging $30,000 each!
Nearly 30 years later, Deb and Mark are a wealth of knowledge, much of which can be attributed to their extensive experience within the industry. Through their business Caprigenz, they are helping commercial and stud dairy farms achieve sound, healthy, productive herds that last, sourcing the best dairy goat genetics by importing and exporting semen and embryos to and from New Zealand. They also provide supporting services such as artificial insemination and pregnancy scanning.
Deb and Mark’s vision is to provide the dairy goat industry with a service that dairy cow farmers are able to enjoy, access to genetics and breeding expertise and a tailor-made approach for individual systems and goals.
“Before this industry goes out, we need to have people on the ground providing dairy goat specific consultancy services. People that understand genetics and the differences between indoor and outdoor herds,” continues Deb.
Knowledge is power and sourcing the right kind of advice and consultancy from the beginning is a great start for anyone entering the dairy goat industry.
For further information and discussions, you can like and join Deb’s two Facebook pages
- Caprigenz – Global Elite Dairy Goat Genetics
- Demore Sables Dairy Goats
You can also email Deb directly for investment opportunities at firstname.lastname@example.org