RECORD high goat prices have prompted a surge of interest in the industry, with some tipping it could lead to changes in management practices.
In the past 18 months, goat meat prices have almost doubled, according to Goat Industry Council Association president Rick Gates, Wilcannia, NSW.
“We usually sit about 10 cents (a kilogram carcaseweight) below the mutton market, but all of a sudden we’re up near the lamb market,” he said.
Last week’s on-hook prices show goat prices averaged $5.25/kg with a top of $5.40/kgcwt. In the same period, SA lambs averaged $5.23/kgcwt. One year ago the goat meat price was sitting at about $4/kgcwt. Mr Gates believed the price lift was sustainable and could stay in place for the foreseeable future.
Meat & Livestock Australia goat industry project manager Julie Petty agreed the industry’s future was looking “extremely positive”.
“The market records are largely driven by overseas demand,” she said.
Australia is the biggest goat producer in the world, with about 95 per cent of the meat trade exported, primarily to the United States.
Ms Petty said there were also strong movements in recent months in Asia, particularly China, where the meat was considered a “winter warming dish”.
Ms Petty said improved prices had encouraged a lift of interest in the industry.
MLA is putting together resources showing information such as potential cost of production and areas best suited to goats.
“The goal is to see more evolution from pure harvesting to have more of a semi-managed herd in place,” she said. “There are so many opportunities with weed control, diversification and to potentially increase stocking rates.”
In the past few months, Mr Gates said he had received questions from those considering the industry more seriously.
He believed a consistent good price for the next few years could mean more people moved from opportunistically trapping rangeland goats towards managed herds.
“Where there is a good return on investments, people will start to invest more,” he said. “Genetics are part of that, but infrastructure is the biggest thing.”