Around 95% of Australia’s goat meat production is exported. Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of goat meat and live goats. The United States and Taiwan were the largest export markets for Australian goat meat, while Malaysia has been the largest market for Australian live goats for over a decade.
The vast bulk of Australia’s goat meat production is derived from feral populations of Rangeland goats. During the last ten years Australia has doubled its goat meat production to more than 31,000 tonnes. Prices for goat meat and mutton on the world market are closely linked and price varies with the exchange rate. The total value of goat meat exports from Australia has averaged AUD$220 million per year in the last five years, while live goats have declined to AUD$2 million.
There is a range of detailed information available on producing goats in Australia. A comprehensive resource is ‘Going into goats’, which is available to download in convenient topic based modules. An easy to access website focusing on producing goats in the rangelands has also been published by Meat & Livestock Australia, the research & development (R&D) and marketing body for the goat industry in Australia.
Facts and figures
- It is estimated that there were between 4-6 million feral Rangeland goats in Australia and around 200,000 farmed meat goats
- Around 2 million goats are slaughtered yearly in Australia, producing more than 31,000 tonnes of meat
- Generally over 95% of goat meat produced is exported
- Domestic consumption of goat meat in Australia was estimated at just under 3,000 tonnes per year but is increasing due to changing ethnic demographics
- The main export markets for Australian goat meat are the United States and Taiwan, followed by South Korean, Canada and Trinidad and Tobago
Goat producers vary from extensive rangeland farmers to those with small herds on ‘lifestyle’ properties. Goat meat is also produced as a by-product of fibre and dairy production.
Most goats used in meat production are raised in the rangeland areas of Australia. Feral goats are commonly referred to as ‘Rangeland goats’ and have historically been unmanaged and simply harvested through ‘wild capture’, but many producers are now moving away from a purely opportunistic system to one in which the goat population is partially managed. This includes growing out smaller, unmarketable stock and reducing the number of bucks within the mob to only retain or introduce quality bucks to improve genetic quality. Inferior does may also be culled if there are sufficient numbers