How many goats are out there?

26 April 2017

A critical requirement for a viable, long-term goat industry is accurate and reliable data on supply. For this reason, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and the Goat Industry Council of Australia (GICA) have funded a population modelling project initiated by the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI).  

Existing data from sources such as NLIS Limited, aerial surveys, and FARMS (NSW stock and land return information) are being drawn together to develop population and supply models to support industry forecasts. The models will enable  industry to estimate the number of goats managed, unmanaged and marketed annually. It will allow for modelling of population changes and the sustainability of supply under different harvesting rates. In summary, this project seeks to generate reliable information to improve industry’s ability to forecast supply.  

Initially, the project has focused on establishing a method for population and supply forecasting within NSW. Once the methodology has been proven, it will be rolled out nationally to other significant goat production areas.  

Through the project, supply forecasting processes will be established, similar to those used in the sheep and cattle industries. Producer surveys are likely to be undertaken and a forecasting committee established to review forecasts and adjust parameters based on industry knowledge.  

Results from the NSW analysis  to date have revealed the below (Table 1) goat population estimates by region.  The data is derived from kangaroo and aerial survey counts conducted in the winter of 2016. The regions are the kangaroo management regions in NSW and a map is available to view here.  The aerial survey counts do not distinguish between managed and unmanaged goats.

(Kangaroo Management)
(Number of Goats)
Bourke 550,055 1.109 609,986
Broken Hill 913,373 1.349 1,232,277
Cobar 404,146 2.31 933,745
Coonabarabran 616,892 1.692 1,044,087
Griffith 1,053,473 0.56 589,527
Lower Darling 567,592 1.161 659,127
Tibooburra 550,707 1.323 728,631
Total 4,656,237 5,797,380








Table 1: Goat population estimates by NSW region (Data Source: Office of Environment and Heritage)

Stay tuned for more updates from this project and if you receive a survey from MLA or NSW DPI asking for information about goat numbers, please complete and return it.

For more information please contact Trudie Atkinson, Development Officer, NSW DPI on

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