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Research into the genetics of goats and what they eat have created some interesting results for University of Waikato student, Nadine Huitema.
She is conducting research into improving the quality of milk from New Zealand goat herds and understanding what environmental and genetic combinations work best for a farms productivity.
Nadine says the area was one which needed research in New Zealand and practices have not changed for a long time.
Compared to dairy cows, goats, are quite different an very polymorphic, and their genomes are much more flexible than in cows which requires a different approach to cows.
Results are still being collected, but there have been big changes to in the results of the last few years.
The study is done during the mid lactation period, the most stable part, and there has been a huge shift in the ratios of fatty acids in the past two seasons and she hopes the research will show why it has happened.
In the long term with more research Nadine says a clear set of recommendations could be developed to tell farmers what to feed and how to breed for the end products made from dairy goat milk.
The research is aimed at supplying dairy goat farmers with better information and knowledge about their farms and to improve productivity and quality.
She says the commercial out come would be from increased product and with strong growth for dairy goat products in Asia prospects are good for farmers.
While the research will help now, she says more research will be needed from others in the future to get the best from the New Zealand dairy goat sector.