Here the authors report the objective veterinary clinical measurement of productivity in a representative south Indian Malabari goat herd. The authors show failure to meet pragmatic production targets that are commensurate with the animals’ genetic potential or adequate to meet the demands of global food security. The authors suggest that this situation may have arisen as a consequence of animal husbandry constraints and protein undernutrition and imply the involvement of nematode parasitism. Benzimidazole resistance was detected in Haemonchus species, showing the need for better understanding of the principles of sustainable helminth parasite control within the southern Indian context. This study highlights the need to understand the true costs of goat production in seasonally resource-poor environments, while also considering its impact on the overall ecosystem in which the animals are placed. They conclude that pragmatic opportunities for improvements in goat production efficiency lie in the development of problem-focused planned animal health and nutrition management.