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Goat Industry Undergoing Transformational Change

10 June 2021

Key points:

  • The goat industry is moving from being largely opportunistic harvesting to semi-managed and managed production systems
  • Goatmeat supply will improve in the near future once herd numbers have rebuilt
  • 97% of Australian goatmeat is exported, with 55% going to the US

The Australian goat industry is going through a period of rebuilding and transformational change as it moves from opportunistic harvesting operations to semi-managed/managed enterprises. Recent ABS data was made available for MLA, highlighting goat slaughter and production trends for the March quarter. The data showed a declining level of goatmeat production since 2016. The data has goat production at 4,632 tonnes cwt for the quarter, a 5% lift on Q1 2020, but 37% below the 10-year quarter average.

NSW and WA have experienced declines in recent years, with 96 and 2 tonnes produced by each state respectively, although Victoria has experienced a modest uplift. The decline in goat production levels comes off the back of high goat prices and drought induced destocking. Goat producers are allowing their herd numbers to rebuild, which will make the industry stronger for the future.  

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Goatmeat remains a niche part of many consumers’ diets, mostly among key ethnic segments. Globally, Australia is a minor producer of goatmeat (0.3%) but one of the largest exporters. Australian goatmeat is almost exclusively

(97%) exported as a frozen whole carcase. The US remains the key market for boxed goatmeat, accounting for 55% of exports. Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, South Korea and Canada are also consistent importers of Australian boxed goatmeat.

This period of change and growth is exciting for the goat industry, with more producers getting into goats, a stronger focus on managed goats and improving production systems allowing Australian goat numbers to rebuild.

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© Meat & Livestock Australia Limited, 2021