Heavier carcases somewhat offset lower goat kill

14 February 2017

Unlike the cyclical nature typical of Australian sheep and cattle production systems, rangeland goat supply is highly volatile and is largely influenced by water availability (or lack of) and harvesting logistics – both heavily dependent upon weather.  Following dry conditions over much of the country in November last year, which saw Australian goat slaughter spike, December brought above-average rainfall across large parts of central and southern Australia, and a subsequent reduction in the number of goats processed.

The latest data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates Australian goat slaughter in December declined 6% from November and 14% from the corresponding month the previous year, to 191,360 head.  The volume of goatmeat produced in December, however, was down to a lesser extent (9%) year-on-year than slaughter, to 3,146 tonnes carcase weight (cwt) – reflecting heavier carcases processed for the month.

This brought the total national goat kill for 2016 to 1.93 million head – down 10% on the previous year and 3% below the five-year (2011-2015) average.  An increase in average carcase weights – underpinned by improved seasonal conditions and feed availability across the year – assisted in slightly offsetting the decline in slaughter, with goatmeat production for 2016 8% lower than 2015 levels and back 3% on the five-year average, at 30,268 tonnes cwt.

The overall decline for the year was attributed to lower processing in Queensland and NSW, compared to 2015, while Victoria, SA and WA registered higher kill numbers for the 12-month period:

  • Queensland goat slaughter declined 34%, to 469,174 head, with production down 31%, to 8,321 tonnes cwt
  • NSW slaughter and production decreased 25% and 21%, respectively, to 82,956 head and 1,171 tonnes cwt
  • Victoria slaughter lifted 1%, to 996,384 head, with production up 5%, to 15,073 tonnes cwt.
  • SA slaughter and production increased 10% and 1%, respectively, to 332,967 head and 4,541 tonnes cwt
  • WA slaughter jumped 68%, to 52,095 head, while production more than doubled, to 1,164 tonnes cwt

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