Drought and demand threatens goat population

Drought and demand threatens goat population


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Felicity McLeod says the impact of the drought across Western NSW has contributed to an increase in slaughter numbers over the last 12 months.

Felicity McLeod says the impact of the drought across Western NSW has contributed to an increase in slaughter numbers over the last 12 months.

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The impact of the drought across Western NSW has contributed to an increase in slaughter numbers over the last year.

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Strong prices and drought conditions have combined to be a catalyst for a significant decline of 3.5 million head in the population estimates for rangeland goats in Western NSW since 2017.

The impact of the drought across Western NSW has contributed to an increase in slaughter numbers over the last 12 months, as graziers have moved to destock their properties.

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This widespread destocking has resulted in more young nannies and younger goats being sold, reducing the numbers of future breeding stock available.

Minimum carcase weight that graziers will see a return from has dropped from 10kg to as low as 6kg in the past five years. The possibility of a nanny goat that is dressing out at under 10kg of having had a kid is lower.

Graziers must be vigilant when sending stock to slaughter if they wish to have a rangeland goat population and continue to supply an opportunistic cash flow.

Alternately, graziers who put goats behind wire can regulate cash flow with minimal management and ensure that all goats trucked to slaughter meet fit to load standards and meet processors carcase requirements for payment.

Sustainability of the herd population is the number one issue facing industry. - Felicity McLeod

Sustainability of the herd population is the number one issue facing industry. Population and its capacity to continually supply our markets and contracts are paramount.

'Restockers' are a relatively new concept for the industry, but are a way to underpin the herd sustainability - and your hip pocket. The value of scanned and pregnant nannies in the restocking market was evident in a recent AuctionsPlus sale, where the highest price nanny sold for $160, equating to $16/kg dressed.

We recognise that producer's decisions about their own stock are theirs to make. However it is critical to recognise that short-term profits may come at the expense of the sustainability and longevity of the goat industry.

We need to maintain capacity to ensure that our industry remains strong and sustainable into the future and that is something all goat producers should consider next time they are selling stock.

  • Felicity McLeod is the NSW Farmers Goat Committee chair.
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