Article by: Hari Yellina
With growing flock sizes, greater carcase weights, and increased slaughter, Australian goatmeat output is on the rise. According to the recent global goatmeat snapshot from Meat & Livestock Australia, goat production has risen after a period of low supply due to environmental factors. Despite distribution issues associated to COVID-19, such as international aircraft disruptions and high shipping container rates, foreign demand for Australian goatmeat has remained strong. Australia sold 19,046 tonnes shipping weight of goatmeat in 2021, up 34.5 percent year on year, for a total trade value of $242 million, up 67 percent over 2020. Due to favourable seasonal conditions, MLA global market insights manager Vereena Rooney predicted that 2022 would be another excellent year in terms of production.
Dr. Rooney explained, “Obviously, that has encouraged bigger numbers of offspring in the flocks and heavier animals, which will lead to greater productivity.” “With COVID-19 affecting the food service channel, where the great bulk of Australian goatmeat is marketed in our export markets, the last several years have been extremely difficult.” With the opening of the globe and the resumption of food service, demand for goatmeat is expected to stay robust. After a few years of dwindling output and export, Dr. Rooney said it was nice to see the industry on the mend. “Approximately 71 percent of surveyed goat producers have a harvested rangeland enterprise structure,” she stated.
With the improving weather and increasing demand for the commodity, it’s possible that producers may transition to a semi-managed system to try to offset some of the supply volatility. Prices have been pretty robust as well, so it makes sense for them to look at modifying their management strategy if they want to capitalise on that. In 2021, goat slaughter in the Eastern states climbed by 42% year over year, totaling 1,006,292 head. Queensland slaughtered the most animals, at 401,570 head, up 41% from 2020. Victoria processed 394,711 cattle, South Australia handled 123,326 cattle, and New South Wales processed slightly over 86,685 cattle. Despite its lower processing level, NSW is the major producer, feeding Queensland, Victoria, and South Australia abattoirs.
While the United States remained by far the largest market for Australian goatmeat, accounting for 12,589 t or 66 percent of exports, South Korea grew by 91 percent to 2128 t, displacing Taiwan as the number two market. Dr. Rooney attributed the high growth to Korean customers’ experimental palates and an inflow of foreign employees from places where goatmeat is customarily consumed in greater quantities. “They also have a black indigenous goat on the Korean market that is often utilised for medicinal purposes… it’s becoming fairly pricey, so they’re seeking for alternate goat sources to meet that need,” she explained.
Live goat exports increased 43 percent year over year to 12,018 head in 2021, owing to increased supply as well as demand, primarily through Malaysia’s primary market and demand for breeders in the Philippines. While low availability and increased costs have made live goat exports less competitive in Malaysia in recent years, the country reclaimed its position as Australia’s largest live goat export market with a 113 percent increase in imports, taking 7393 head. Strong demand, thanks to goatmeat’s importance in religious celebrations like Eid, and the recovery of wet market supply networks, drove the increase.