AUSTRALIA - The Australian goat industry started 2014 in stark contrast to the previous year, according to analysts at Meat and Livestock Australia.
In January 2013, the dry conditions had slaughter pushing record levels, while the combination of high supply and a high Australiqan dollar placed downward pressure on 12-16kg cwt export over-the-hook (OTH) goat prices.
In 2014, however, indicative eastern states goat slaughter began at more moderate rate, with slaughter levels back 19 per cent year-on-year, for a total of 122,700 head processed during in January (MLA’s NLRS).
The lower supply ensured that eastern states OTH goat prices commenced the year at much stronger levels, with average prices in January at 214¢/kg (up 29 per cent year-on-year) and at 220¢/kg cwt in February (up 39 per cent year-on-year).
Overseas inquiry was strong, with the lower A$ assisting export demand.
Some rainfall in early March hampered goat movements and saw supplies tighten, as slaughter numbers dipped to around 127,000 head.
However, fine and dry weather in the autumn months underpinned a quick rebound, with slaughter at 156,000 head and 193,500 head in April and May, respectively.
Assisted by strong overseas demand, price improvements gathered pace throughout the autumn months, hitting an average of 283.5¢/kg cwt in May.
MLA said that despite winter not typically a period of high goat mustering activity, June and July were characterised by a situation of overseas demand outstripping supply.
In June, the number of goats processed was almost double that of the previous year, at 149,600 head, while July was 62 per cent higher year-on-year, at 214,500 head. The unseasonably high kill did little to dampen prices, however, with OTH prices averaging 318¢/kg cwt.
At the end of winter goat slaughter did start to ease as a result of some rainfall throughout Queensland, with 165,000 head processed in August (back 18 per cent year-on-year), and the tightening of supply saw prices reach the 330¢/kg cwt range.
The very high turnoff seen early in the year began to have an effect on goat supply during spring.
Slaughter in September was 23 per cent lower year-on-year, at 131,700 head, while during October eased 14 per cent, to just over 142,000 head, with lower goat slaughter in Victoria attributed to the decrease.
Prices continued their upward trajectory, averaging 337¢ in early spring and 360¢/kg cwt by the end of the season. Some of the highest OTH prices seen since 2011 were recorded during this period, as the market topped at 400¢/kg cwt in November.
Currently OTH rates are averaging 363¢/kg, wrapping up what has been an extraordinary year for goat prices.
MLA said that Australia continued to export the majority of its goat meat in 2014, as exports totalled 32,685 tonnes for the year-to-November (an increase of four per cent on the same period last year), with 97 per cent as whole carcases (Department of Agriculture).
The majority was shipped to the US (17,495 tonnes), with Taiwan (4,709 tonnes) and China (891 tonnes) the second and third top destinations, respectively.
Live goat exports also increased during 2014, according to the MLA data.
For the year-to-October, live goat exports totalled 76,839 head, up 21 per cent on the same period last year, with a FOB value of $7.34 million (up five per cent year-on-year), according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The vast majority (92 per cent) of live goat exports were to Malaysia, while Singapore (six per cent) and the UAE (one per cent) were the second and third largest export destinations, respectively.
TheMeatSite News Desk