Weather leads to better supply

31 May, 2006 08:45 PM
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HIGH goat prices and favourable trapping conditions in pastoral regions have

created a great start to WA goat figures.

WA's biggest goat processor Geraldton Meat Exporters (GME) has seen a

movement towards consistent supply of goats over the past 12 months.

GME general manager Paul Jones said although summer continued to be its

busiest period for goat processing, supply had remained steady over 2005

and into 2006.

Weather conditions in the pastoral region had been a contributing factor

towards supply consistency, improving as warmer weather created better

trapping conditions.

Consistency of supply in the goat industry is important to provide

better marketing opportunities and to create better conditions for

retaining skilled staff at abattoirs that process goats.

Processing 210,113 goats in 2005, GME was currently employing about

100 staff and had processed around 1800 goats this month, an increase of 600

head on last year's figures.

Mr Jones said processing goats required a highly skilled labour component and

this created a higher cost per head to process each animal.

"Depending on staff levels, the slaughter of goats cost GME between $18 and

$22 per head, which is a lot higher than the cost of slaughtering sheep," Mr

Jones said.

"Taiwan is our biggest export market and it prefers a skin-on product, which

requires more workers to process.

"This market is active between September and October but stops buying at the

end of the Chinese New Year.

"Mexico, Trinidad and Jamaica are some of the other markets GME supplies."

Mr Jones said Taiwan preferred rangeland goats over 25kg live weight.

He said there seemed to be a variance in meat yield between different

strains of goats, with a lot of goats traditionally from the Kalgoorlie area

showing a lighter meat yield.

Mr Jones said low-stress handling and welfare practises had become standard

throughout all livestock industries and goat handling was no different.

GME promoted the minimal use of devices such as cattle prodders because

stressful handling creating dark cutters and lower returns for producers.

"Ultimately we prefer goats to be delivered within two to three days of

trapping as this reduces stress on the animal," Mr Jones said.

Producers leaving their smaller nannies when trapping to

increase herd numbers would result in more goats coming off rangelands

creating a more sustainable industry, he said.

Current goat prices at GME varied depending on the lines of goats supplied

but ranged from $28 to $32 per head with some producers receiving higher

prices for billies.

Both nannies and billies were required by GME, the Taiwan market

required a 60pc billy 40pc nanny ratio.

Meat and Livestock Australia's (MLA) national over the hook (OTH) quotes had

recorded little movement from December levels across all categories.

May averages indicated that trade weight (12-16kg cwt) goats were at 239c/kg

while 16-20kg cwt goats suitable for the export market were at 247c/kg.

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