Live goat export update

16 November 2017

The sustained increase in Australian prices over the past two years and importers seeking alternative supplies has seen a significant decline in exports of Australian slaughter goats to Malaysia over the past 12 months.

This year, importers have developed relationships with goat and sheep suppliers in Myanmar and Thailand.

They have found a ready supply of cheaper goats which typically vary in size from 30-70kg and are mixed breeds. They are well adapted to local conditions and their distribution is not constrained by ESCAS requirements.

There was a big build-up in goat numbers in Myanmar and Thai in the lead up to Korban (period of sacrifice) on 1-3 September. They were widely distributed in Malaysia and largely replaced Australian goats for the event.

Goat exports to Malaysia for the nine months to September were 7,027 head, well down from the same period last year (35,432 head) and way off the peak of 84,000 head exported in 2015.

During 2015 and 2016 exports of Australian slaughter sheep were increasingly substituted for the more expensive goats. Slaughter sheep exports have also declined in 2017 due to local competition. Sheep exports peaked at 69,410 head in 2016 and were 28,729 head for the nine months to September.

Australian goats are exported to Malaysia by airfreight, as are the majority of sheep (with some consignments by ship). In July, Malaysian Airlines stopped the consigning of goats or sheep on the freight section of passenger aircraft. As a result, airfreight consignments can only be sent on freighter, meaning single consignments are now around 1,100 for narrow-bodied charter flights or 2,200 head for wide-bodied aircraft.

With the recent decline in Australian goat prices, there may be more interest from importers, and this will be influenced by the availability from alternative sources.

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