COMMITMENT to innovation, best practice and embracing the cutting edge in genomics are just some of the keys behind the ongoing success of a Meningie Goat Dairy and Dairy Goat stud.
Situated on the Narrung Peninsula, products from Idealview Dairy Goats are exported across the globe.
Bucks have been sent as far afield as Indonesia, the Philippines, China and Malaysia.
The milk from their 670-head Saanen, British Alpine and Toggenburg milking herd is used in Meredith Dairy, Vic, goat cheese, which is exported across the globe, while wethers are sold to another farm where they are reared for meat.
While John and Bec Falkenhagen say the enormity of the global goat industry is often underestimated in SA circles, they remain unbothered and are driven to squeeze every last drop of potential out of their high-performing milk herd.
Previously managers of a cow dairy, the Falkenhagens established their dairy goat herd a decade ago.
All of their farm infrastructure is self-designed and self-built because as Mr Falkenhagen says "you can't buy anything for dairy goats off a shelf".
Twice-a-day milkings are done in a dairy that the Falkenhagens converted from a five double-up herringbone cow dairy into a 16 double-up goat dairy.
Feed troughs, kidding sheds and milk warmers have all been carefully considered with efficiency and the Falkenhagen's staff at front of mind.
Producing up to 1200 litres per head across a 300-day lactation period, the Falkenhagens say their operation is different to most goat dairies with milking herds not housed but rotationally grazed across nine paddocks at a time.
The entire property is split into 52 paddocks, allowing the Falkenhagens to utilise feed efficiently and spell land when needed.
Lucerne is across all paddocks and is oversown with oats, vetch and ryegrass during winter.
What also makes the Idealview operation impressive is the Falkenhagens commitment to data collection and their imminent foray into herd genomics, which will allow them to quickly pinpoint high and low performers to accelerate the genetic potential of their herd.
All goats are herd tested so the Falkenhagens know the production and milk characteristics of every animal they have ever owned. They also classify goats to record type traits.
"We only keep 150 kids and sell about 400 doe kids to export markets each year," Mr Falkenhagen said.
"The data we've collected for 10 years - 30 points on every animal - can be combined with the genomics of the new kids' DNA to decide which to keep and which to sell at eight-weeks-old."
WHILE change seems ever-present at Idealview Dairy Goats at Narrung, perhaps the largest transition yet is just getting under way.
Among the tall six-week-old dairy kids are four, only slightly shorter, but robust-looking Kalahari Red meat kids produced via embryo transfer.
They represent the early stages of John and Bec Falkenhagen's 10-year plan to transition into a meat goat herd.
Mr Falkenhagen said the initial years of their meat goat plan would involve lots of crossing to see how a composite breed would perform.
The transition is largely lifestyle-based - while the dairy herd is very productive it is also very time intensive, with 4am and 4pm milkings just the bookends of busy work days.
"Another one of the reasons we did it is because the Kalaharis are not seasonal breeders," Mr Falkenhagen said.
"We currently don't have a May kidding with our dairy goats because you can't mate on the first of December because the bucks aren't interested.
"If we've got Kalaharis for bucks, which aren't seasonal, that'll help us in that regard."
Start the day with all the big news in agriculture. Sign up here to receive our daily Stock Journal newsletter.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.