• arrow-up Output fell to $8.1 million with lower prices and lower goat meat production.
  • Australian goat slaughter was the lowest since 2007-08.
  • Rangeland goat populations have recovered since the end of the drought.
Rangeland goats are a key source of farm income for parts of Western NSW. The industry is in recovery following drought and there is a transition toward semi-managed or managed systems. The rangeland goat population is expected to increase as weather conditions improve and producers keep does and kids on farm.

National Goatmeat Supply Forecasting Committee

The National Goatmeat Supply Forecasting Committee, co-funded by NSW DPI and Meat & Livestock Australia, meets annually to estimate the number of goats that will be supplied for processing in the coming year. The Committee consists of five representatives from various sectors of the supply chain. NSW DPI and other stakeholders provide supply and population modelling, data and market analysis to inform the forecasting process. This information is integrated with the Committee's industry intelligence and knowledge to formulate the forecasts. Since its inception in 2017, the Committee has significantly increased the industry's capacity to predict and understand supply and population trends, enhancing the goatmeat sector’s strategic planning.
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Succession uncovered in new young farmer’s podcast

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Young Farmer Business Program recorded Propagate across the state, talking with farmers who have been through succession or are planning for succession. NSW DPI Young Farmer Business Program Team Leader Alex Hicks said the second season of Propagate uncovers the essential ingredients for a positive succession plan. “Succession planning experts share tips on communication and professional avenues for support and advice to keep family relationships and the farming business on track.”

Image: Renae and Scott Connell

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Australian goatmeat production was 16,812 tonnes, of which NSW produced approximately 520 tonnes. 151 Goatmeat production was down 11% in 2020-21 with COVID outbreaks and restrictions in Victoria one factor for the decline. Generally, better weather conditions over the year allowed pastoralists to restock, and more animals were kept on farm.

NSW has the largest rangeland goat population in Australia, but the main processors of goats are in Victoria and Queensland. Over the past three years, NSW contributed nearly 70% of the goats that were processed in Australia.

Goats in stalls
Slaughter numbers fell 24% to 943,000 head across Australia, well below the pre-drought peak in 2013-14. This was the lowest number since 2001-02, when 895,000 head were processed. Victoria and Queensland remained the largest states, processing 490,600 and 285,300 head respectively. New South Wales had its lowest quarterly offtake on record in December 2020 and processed a total of 62,400 head through the year.

One indication of restocking by producers is carcase weights. The average carcase weight has increased to 16.6kg, a record high. As producers keep lighter kids and does to grow out, a higher share of heavier bucks are sold to processors, increasing the average carcase weight. The only other time carcase weights were above 16kgs was between 2010 and 2012. Kid slaughter in early 2021 was reported to be 36% down on the March quarter 2020. 164

In terms of supply, New South Wales provides most of the goats for processing. Cobar, Bourke and Wilcannia were the regions that supplied the largest number of goats to processors in 2021.

NSW supplied 686,000 goats to Australian processors in 2020-21, accounting for nearly 70% of national supply. 144 NSW is a key supplier of goats to Victoria, Queensland and South Australian processors.

Following the drought, goat numbers in NSW have increased in 2020 and 2021. From a low of 2.4 million head in 2018, the estimated population has rebounded significantly to 6.8 million in 2021. As females can commonly produce twins and triplets, the rangeland population has been able to quickly recover.


The average over the hook price for goats was 806 cents per kilogram carcase weight in 2020-21, down 6% over the previous year’s record levels. 151 Goat prices bottomed out in July 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted supply chains and lockdowns in the United States, the largest export market, reduced demand. Prices recovered to 842 c/kg by September as countries emerged from lockdowns. There was an extended rally in goat prices between March 2021 and June 2021, ending the year at 875c/kg.
Goat prices again outperformed lamb and mutton prices, though lamb prices were higher for several months in 2020. Since June 2015 goat prices have increased 105%, compared to 41% for the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator and 89% for the Medium Mutton Indicator.

Goat Prices are closely tied to Lamb and Mutton Prices

  • Goat
  • Lamb
  • Mutton
Source: MLA (2021)

Goat Prices Outperformed Lamb and Mutton in 2020-21

  • Goat
  • Lamb
  • Mutton
Source: MLA (2021)


NSW goat exports were $3.2 million, up 137% compared to 2019-20. 128 This mostly came in the second half of the year. Australian exports were 23% lower, down to $165.6 million. This was similar to the drop in production, but reflective of lower export prices for goat meat. Export volumes were 14,764 tonnes, down 15% on 2019-20 levels.

Australian exports to the United States were 9,045 tonnes, or $101.6 million. By volume, exports to the US were down 31% over the previous year. Demand from the US still underpins Australian goatmeat exports, as it accounted for 64% of exports in 2020-21. South Korea overtook Taiwan as the next largest export destination, with a value of $19.7 million, up 33%. Goatmeat exports to Taiwan were $14.0 million, down 18%.

Live exports from Australia were $7.1 million, with China, Philippines and Malaysia the major export destinations. Malaysia was the lowest of these by value, but it was the only consistent market over the year. Malaysia has historically been the largest market for live goats from Australia, but this has steadily waned over the past five years, with high prices one reason for the decline. 154

NSW and Australia did not import any goatmeat in 2019-20.


Better conditions have encouraged farmers to allow rangeland goat populations to rebuild under semi-managed systems. This is expected to flow into higher offtake levels over the next few years. 15 159 With high livestock prices following the drought there has been increased interest in goats. Stud animals have attracted record prices 169 , and online auction providers like AuctionsPlus have facilitated new markets for older does for new entrants or young bucks for backgrounders.

Meat and Livestock Australia is working to promote the industry, help producers to improve goat genetics and to develop value-added products such as beauty creams. 157

Goats on a sunny hillside