United Kingdom & Europe

Been there, done that

There are many people more highly qualified in the world of goats, than the folk at Terraweena. In fact we would have a hard job justifying the right to air our views at all, if qualifications, literally, were the sole requirement for knowledge.

However, having been challenged by a such a diversity of experiences and environments at almost every level of goat selection, breeding and production throughout the world, we are assuredly in our comfort zone when ‘talking goats’.

Three Decades – from Then to Now

Decade 1:

In 1985 Geof and Celia Burnett-Smith migrated from the family farm in Zimbabwe to Adelaide in South Australia.

Their reasons will now be well understood with Zimbabwe recognised, worldwide, as a fearful and embarrassing spectre of corruption and greed.

With the grim reality of losing their Motherland – Rhodesia – never far below the surface, the Burnett-Smiths set about turning Geof’s vision for their future into a reality.

Britannia

A small tribute to beautiful Terraweena Britannia who died recently (November 2015) a week before her 5th birthday. In the best of hands with Chris and Ron of Clearday Park, she left behind a little boy and a little girl to be remembered by – then only 2 weeks old.
I commit my first range of lovely ‘lotions and potions’, hand made for me in Provence, to my precious, dear and departed Britannia :

THE BRITANNIA COLLECTION

RIP special Brit xxx

  • Classification
Classification training at Parks Farm

Classification training at Parks Farm

Celia running through the processes of classification (independent animal assessment).
Classification day at Parks Farm

Classification day at Parks Farm

The first public introduction to the benefits of an independent classifier working through the animals.
Morley Farm Stud

Morley Farm Stud

A group of breeding does about to be classified'.
At Morley Farm

At Morley Farm

Animals and facilities kindly provided by Morley Farm for a 1 on 1 training session.
Dalbury Stud

Dalbury Stud

Does awaiting their turn to be classified.
TerraMac Australia

TerraMac Australia

Animals and facilities kindly provided by TerraMac for a 1 on 1 training.
Clearday Park

Clearday Park

The first stop on a long 1 on 1 classification training trip.
Dudauman Park - Australia

Dudauman Park - Australia

A long day of classification, culminating in an MLA Buck Trial, the first of its kind in Australia.
Micathel Stud

Micathel Stud

Continuation of 1 on 1 training, This time on Micathel breeding does.
Bengara Stud - Australia

Bengara Stud - Australia

Bengara animals being classified and 1 on 1 training session continues.
Brykarie Stud - Australia

Brykarie Stud - Australia

A big day of classification. Note the even quality of the group. The result of regular classification.
UAE

UAE

A totally different environment. Fujairah in the UAE. Sand and sun and sand and sun.
UAE

UAE

Individual assessment of animals imported from Australia.

 

I have come to realise that Classification (ClassiMate in particular), strikes fear and bad vibes in the hearts of English breeders. I’m certain that’s because it’s misunderstood and viewed as a threat rather than a tool.

Once the ‘big picture’ of classification is understood, it becomes evident that it is the clear and obvious foundation required for a stable industry.

In the first instance only is it a moderately daunting reality check which could go either way, depending on your stock.

Any breeder will have at least a rough idea whether their stock is of high, medium or more commercial quality. There should be no major, unexpected surprises and there is a strong chance that attributes will be observed, pointed out and drawn INTO the breeding flock for their good points rather than relegated as undesirable for their weaker traits.

Classification is based on positivity NOT negativity.  It serves as an endorsement of what you are doing – and surely no-one wants to waste time and money by ‘doing it wrong’.

Breeders are far more likely to gain knowledge and confidence rather than feel upset. If they are distressed, post classification, then it is likely that they have been deluding themselves.

In summary, I doubt that anyone really wants to breed sub-standard Boer Goats.
So :

  • Let it be your guide and let it be your standard.
  • View it as an asset, not a threat.
  • Recognise that it is an education and not a criticism.

Not meaning to sound loftier or better than anyone else – I am fully qualified as a South African Inspector and Judge and my passion is Boer goats. I am ‘infamously’ non-commercially minded and would be pleased and feel honoured to be invited to classify any breeder’s animals, for the good of their personal flock standard and the future of the industry.

Once understood, classification becomes your most powerful marketing tool and equips new breeders with the certainty that they are ‘getting what they’re paying for’ when they purchase stock.  Otherwise, sadly, unless one is already informed or educated, a buyer is at the mercy of the breeder who is unlikely to point people AWAY from buying their stock.

It is THE way to move forward. It is your benchmark of quality and your licence to professionalism and success.

This will be more generally understood and accepted with the passing of time.  Delaying the inevitable serves no purpose.  The leading breeders will be offering classified animals OR –  if not, why not?
I am happy to counter any doubts and fears. Please ask the questions.
Celia Burnett-Smith