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Australia goat prices move from ‘strength-to-strength’

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Oscar Rousseau

By Oscar Rousseau+


Two-thirds of the goat meat Australia exports go to the US
Two-thirds of the goat meat Australia exports go to the US

A relatively good balance between the Australian and US dollar during 2016 fended off a price pinch for goat meat exporters hit with trade decline.

Levy board Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) claims over-the-hook (selling livestock to a processor) goat export indicators reached “unprecedented levels” in 2016 and moved from “strength-to-strength” as the year progressed.

The good price comes as figures from MLA also show trade to Taiwan, the Caribbean and South Korea have declined.

MLA said on 13 December that while the Australian dollar dropped below $70c against the US dollar in January, it averaged $75c against the US dollar for much of the year, benefiting returns livestock producers got for their goat meat.

High price

Coupled with tighter supplies, the development of modern goat meat processing facilitates and apparent growing demand for goat meat, both domestically and overseas, meant it was a strong year for goat, MLA said.

Carcase weight (cwt) for goat meat from Australia’s eastern states, Victoria, Queensland, and New South Wales, averaged AUD $556c per kilogram (kg). This, MLA said, is AUD $261c higher than the country’s five year average of AUD $295c per kg.

The high rise in prices for the eastern states comes despite a sizable decline in goat slaughtering over 2016. The average weekly slaughter was 27,997 goats – 15% lower than the five-year average of 32,449 head of livestock.

World Trade Stats - Australia’s top five sheep and goat markets
  • US: 92,538t
  • China: 80,086t
  • United Arab Emirates: 31,067t
  • Malaysia: 25,431t

US trade steady

MLA said the tighter supplies for slaughter were the result of wetter conditions combined with an earlier extended period of high slaughter, which dented livestock numbers in paddocks and rangelands last year.

The lower production hit exports too, with Australian goat meat shipments down 21% to 23,797 tonnes (t) from January to November 2016, according to the Australian Department of Agriculture.

Trade with the US accounts for two-thirds of Australian goat meat production (66%) and remained firm over the year. Exports to Taiwan and the Caribbean dropped by 19%. Taiwan imported 2,782t, while the Caribbean imported 1,558t of goat meat from Australia.

Goat meat exports to South Korea are down 11% to 1,359t.

MLA said that the stable US market and continued domestic investment in goat meat production will, however, continue to support the sector in 2017.

A comment from the Goat Industry Council of Australia could not be obtained at the time of writing.

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