Goat supplies tighten over winter

04 January 2016

Positive market signs continued for goat producers in June, with eastern states over-the-hook goat prices reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS) hitting 450¢/kg cwt. Goat slaughter rates continued to climb to unprecedented levels this year, with many producers capitalising on the strong market.

The average weekly goat slaughter in the eastern states during May dropped 43%, to 22,082 head and, with the exception of some short trading weeks, this is the lowest level since March 2012. The tight supply was felt across most states and follows sustained high turnoff during the past two years. While the NSW weekly slaughter was similar year-on-year at 2,498 head, South Australia, Queensland and Victoria all reported declines in average weekly slaughter rates of between 45% and 48%, to 3,884 head, 9,685 head and 6,015 head respectively.

Eastern states’ goat slaughter rates in the first week of June totalled just 7,690 head, the lowest level since June 2007 (excluding short weeks and public holidays). The tighter supplies saw some processing facilities close earlier than usual for annual maintenance breaks.

In line with fewer goats being processed, Australian goatmeat exports during May dropped 44% year-on-year to 1,764 tonnes swt, the lowest volume since June 2013 (Source: Department of Agriculture). Shipments to the US were 984 tonnes swt, down 40% year-on-year, while volumes to Trinidad-Tobago and Canada lifted 23% and 27% respectively to 176 tonnes swt and 81 tonnes swt. In contrast, exports to Hong Kong eased 68%, to 213 tonnes swt.

To help streamline supply and give producers more control and choice over when to sell goats, more producers are making the transition from harvesting to incorporating a managed rangeland goat herd or ‘goats behind wire’ on their properties.

Further information

Read producer case studies about how to make the transition and access MLA’s Going into Goats best practice guide or the guide with specific information about producing goats in rangeland environments.

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