A WESTERN Queensland processor says the domestic market for goat meat has taken off in the past 18 month, as throughput remains consistently high this year.
Weekly Goat slaughter hit its highest number in six years last month, with a voluntary Meat & Livestock Australia survey recording 49,920 head. Since then, it has been above 50,000 head – including 51,716 head last week.
“Throughout 2017 goat slaughter numbers tapered off, whereas this year, there has been a steady supply of goats all year with slaughter numbers not falling below 25,000 head a week (excluding the Christmas and New Year shutdowns) – in part due to the rise in managed goats in recent years,” an MLA report said.
Charleville-based Western Meat Exporter managing director Campbell McPhee said the company had increased its throughput this year, with the domestic market increasing its share.
“The domestic market has really come into its own over the last couple of years,” Mr McPhee said.
“Especially now that it has become more affordable and they don’t have to compete so much with the export market. We are seeing great numbers going through to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and elsewhere – it is certainly becoming a bit more cemented into the industry.”
Mr McPhee said the company has had to change some of its processes to supply the suburban butcher shops, who are looking to service a more culturally diverse customer base.
“We have had to redesign our weekly structure to supply fresh product to those customers,” he said.
Goat prices to remain steady this year
Like other livestock categories, goat prices have taken a hard fall from record prices over the past year. MLA’s latest over the hooks report has goats making 237c/kg carcase weight, which is as low as it has been all year.
“Going into the end of this year, pricing is likely to remain fairly steady and stay about where it is now,” he said.
“But as we head into the North American winter we might see some price changes. Goat is a lot more consumed in the winter months over there and a lot of those customers are putting orders in to meet those market requirements.
“With the lower prices available to them, it might drive a lot more interest in Australian goat meat.I don’t think we will see goat prices move until some other meat categories move.”
Working through supply issues
Mr McPhee said the company had been working through labour issues to increase processing capacity. He said many producers were keen to see the plant at capacity with a drought on the forecast.
“We are a lot closer to full capacity than what we were earlier this year, the labour market is slowly increasing and we are on the right path,” he said.