Goat prices jump to $9.20/kg as supplies dwindle

Goatmeat prices jump to $9.20/kg record


Sheep
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Numbers of goats might be down, but they are fetching $9.20/kg over the hooks.

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RETURNS SURGE: Goat prices jumped 40c/kg in a matter of hours on Monday. Main image is of goat mustering at Lachlan Gall's Coogee Lake Station north of Broken Hill, NSW. Photo: MATT JACKSON

RETURNS SURGE: Goat prices jumped 40c/kg in a matter of hours on Monday. Main image is of goat mustering at Lachlan Gall's Coogee Lake Station north of Broken Hill, NSW. Photo: MATT JACKSON

THE record climb of goat prices shows no sign of slowing down, with reports processors are paying as much as $9.20 a kilogram on the hooks.

With numbers down due to unprecedented seasonal conditions, the price of goats has smashed the high of $7.50/kg recorded in 2017.

"It's the best price in Australia right now," Thomas Foods International livestock manager Paul Leonard said.

He said global demand particularly in the United States had driven the price rise, which was set by TFI on Monday.

"We have a vertically integrated supply chain in America, which sets us apart as we have strong customer demand where we supply 52 weeks of the year," he said.

Pastoralists' Association of West Darling president Lachlan Gall said these prices were a reward for those goat producers that had managed to retain numbers.

"Goats have kept a lot of families afloat in this drought, so they are really important," he said.

He said the goat prices allowed pastoralists to access "two birds with one stone" as mustering helped producers to remove numbers from their property and reduced grazing pressure, while also bringing in much-needed income.

But he said lower numbers were a concern for the sustainability of the industry.

Meat & Livestock goat industry project manager Julie Petty said recent calls to processors in the eastern states showed $9.20/kg was the present top.

She said a price correction would eventually occur, but the scale was hard to predict.

"Last time (2017) there was a price correction to $5/kg, I feel that will happen again but when and how much by I don't know," she said.

Ms Petty was a speaker at the recent PAWD annual general meeting, and said growers were "pretty excited" about the returns but there needed to be higher value placed on herd retention.

"We've been saying that wherever possible, we need to be moving into herd-building phase," she said.

"That can happen through people placing a higher value on pregnant females in particular."

She said MLA was attempting to address the shortfall in population through a project looking at kid loss.

Ms Petty said one option for growers in drought-affected areas, such as Far West NSW, was to "lease" the goats to producers in Qld that had recent rain, with the proviso they return when the season breaks locally.

"Guys in Qld have gotten rain and are chasing stock and as soon as the season breaks, producers down south will be also," she said.

"There is possibly the option to lease pregnant does to Qld, which is a win-win for both parties.

"It helps them build numbers, in the short-term, grazing pressure is down, and producers are not out of options when the season does break."

She said there was a shift in recent years to managed herds, away from the unreliability of mustering.

Ms Petty said MLA was also looking at eating quality, by working with processors to "identify low hanging fruit" to improve standards.

"That is being driven by growing demand in the domestic market, which is one more oriented towards quality," she said.

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