With a large international trade for goat fibre products and a local cottage industry, there is an opportunity for Australian producers to increase participation in this trade. Success will be underpinned by clear marketing strategies to either niche targets or the commodity trade. Genetic resources and optimised production systems are also important success factors.
The AgriFutures™ Goat Fibre program aims to direct targeted RD&E that contributes to the profitability, sustainability and productivity of this industry.
About the industry
The Australian goat fibre industry is comprised of the cashmere and mohair producers.
Cashmere is the fine soft downy winter undercoat found on many goats. A goat which grows this fine undercoat of the correct quality and in sufficient quantities to be commercial is called an Australian cashmere goat.
Cashmere is one of the finest commercial animal fibres. It is soft, warm, light and luxurious, and used to make some of the most expensive garments in the world.
The Australian cashmere industry was established in the 1970s and after years of selective breeding, the Australian Cashmere Goat has evolved into a distinctive breed of goat, far removed from its bush goat origins.
In 2012, there were about 10,000 cashmere goats in Australia. Total production of fibre was 3 tonne (hair in) and 1 tonne (dehaired) for a gross value of $88,000.
Mohair is produced from Angora goats. The finest mohair is used in high-end fashions and furnishings.
In 2006, there was estimated to be 59,000 Angora goats in Australia on 500 holdings, with 50% of total production in the hands of 30 commercial producers.
Most mohair is classed and sold through the industry-controlled broker the Australian Mohair Marketing Organisation based in Narrandera, NSW.
Australian mohair production was estimated to be 137 tonne in 2011-12, with a gross value of $1.45 million.
The Goat Fibre Program is funded by statutory levies paid by industry participants. This levy revenue is matched by AgriFutures Australia and allocated to relevant projects as sufficient funds accumulate.
The Goat Fibre Program RD&E objectives for 2013-2018 are covered by the objectives of the Animal Industries RD&E Plan:
- Provide new and developing animal industries with regular and up-to-date market assessments
- Enhance industry success through targeted industry-specific RD&E Strategies
- Facilitate new industry growth through multi-disciplinary approaches that potentially advantage several industries
- Improve capacity across new and developing animal industries.
Broad areas of priority include:
- Genetic evaluation and improvement: building upon previous work, with a focus on increasing fibre yield and quality
- Goat-specific husbandry advancements, such as label extensions of animal health products, disease management more broadly and nutrition (in collaboration with the AgriFutures Australia dairy goat research and MLA meat goat program)
- Market research into on-shore fibre processing (in collaboration with other rare natural fibre industries)
- Extension of outcomes from previous projects, especially through the consolidation of online resources.
General Manager, Research
0437 179 359