It’s not a bad feat for a meat once considered the poor man’s protein, and an animal long reviled by farmers as a pest in plague proportions across large swathes of outback Australia.
Goats are now trading above the near-record high rates for lamb. Goat prices averaged $6.50/kg carcass weight during the first six months of this year, slightly above the benchmark trade lamb indicator’s $6.42/kg.
“The good news is it hasn’t been an overnight thing either,” Meat and Livestock Australia goat industry project manager Julie Petty says.
“We’ve had steady growth in prices over the past two years and it’s really added some stability to the market.
“And, while I haven’t got a crystal ball, all the signs seem to be indicating that we are not going to see a massive drop off in price. We’ve just got such an overwhelming demand that we’re just not able to meet at the moment.”
- Australia is a relatively small producer of goatmeat but is the world’s largest exporter of goatmeat.
- Australian goat slaughter in 2011-12 was around 1.63 million head (ABS).
- Traditionally, Australian bush goats (rangeland goats) and Boer goats are used for meat production.
- About 90% of goatmeat production is produced by rangeland goat enterprises.
- Goatmeat is extremely low in fat and a good source of protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.
- There are few, if any, religious taboos limiting goatmeat consumption. In fact, goatmeat is an important component of the traditions of the Hindu and Muslim faiths.
- The largest producers of goatmeat are the largest consumers, but not the largest importers or exporters. These countries are China, India and Pakistan.
- In 2011-12, Australia exported 24,478 tonnes swt of goatmeat (DAFF).
- The two largest markets for Australian goatmeat exports are the US and Taiwan (DAFF 2011-12). Demand in the US is generated from the wide diversity of traditional goat eating cultures represented within the US population i.e. the Hispanics are the largest minority group in the US.
- The value of Australian goatmeat exports in 2011-12 was around A$114 million FOB (ABS).
- In 2011-12, Australia exported 71,895 head of live goats (ABS).
- The largest markets for Australian live goats are Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei (ABS 2011-12).
- Live goat exports were valued at A$9.65 million in 2011-12 (ABS)
- Mohair comes from the Angora goat while Cashmere comes from the Cashmere goat.
- World production of cashmere is about 8,000 tonnes annually of hair-in product from which the worlds cashmere processors extract around 3,600 tonnes of down. About half of this is produced in China and the Chinese Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia. Around 850 tonnes of down are produced annually by Iran and Afghanistan and 700 tonnes by the Republic of Mongolia. Australia and New Zealand between them produced just on 45 tonnes of down.
- It is believed that Cashmere is eight times warmer than sheeps wool. Cashmere also absorbs water faster than wool.
- The process for making a cashmere garment involves five processes: Collecting the fibre, sorting, de-hairing, spinning and then weaving/knitting.
- First year cashmere kid fleece is the softest and finest but it is harder to de-hair because the goat hair is as soft as the cashmere fiber and is hard to separate. Second and third year fleece is considered the prime of fibre production. The goat hair turns harsher and thicker with age making it easier to separate from the cashmere fibre.
- Fine white fleece, between 35 and 100 mm, currently attracts the highest price.
- Angora mohair is the closest you'll find to human hair as far as colours, and texture, and natural highlights. Many artists use mohair for rooting for dolls, fairies, horse models, animal sculpts, felting, and spinning.
- Mohair is considered to be the most resilient natural textile fibre, and is often combined with other fibres in the production of apparel and home fashion items.
- The finest grade of mohair is Kid Mohair, obtained from the first shearing of a young angora goat. Kid Mohair possesses the unique feature of natural wicking properties that takes perspiration away from the skin, preventing bacterial build up and odor.
- As of 2009, world output of mohair was estimated at around 5 000 tonnes a year, down from a high of 25 000 tonnes in the 1990s.
- South Africa accounts for 60% of total production. South African mohair is generally exported raw or semi-processed to textile makers in Europe, the UK and the Far East.
- The industry remains small; The fresh milk is mainly supplied as a health product to people intolerant of cow's milk and those suffering from bronchial and asthmatic conditions. It has also recently become more popular as a gourmet milk, as cheese, yoghurt, soap, moisturisers and in fine dining restaurants.
- Goat milk has a more easily digestible fat and protein content than cow milk. The increased digestibility of protein is of importance to infant diets (both human and animal), as well as to invalid and convalescent diets. Furthermore, glycerol ethers are much higher in goat than in cow milk which appears to be important for the nutrition of the nursing newborn.
- Goat milk tends to have a better buffering quality, which is good for the treatment of ulcers.
- Goat milk can successfully replace cow milk in diets of those who are allergic to cow milk.
- Goat milk is used for drinking, cooking and baking. It is used to make cheese, butter, ice cream, yoghurt, candy, soap and other body products. Due to its small fat globules and soft small curd, products made with goat milk are smooth and cream-like.
- Goat milk is whiter than whole cow milk. Butter and cheese made from goat milk are white, but may be coloured during processing.
- Chevre is the French word for goat. Domestically, it is a generic term that applies to all goat cheeses, and more specifically the mild fresh cheeses.
- Typically dairy goat lactation lasts for 300 days with an average of 2-3 litres of milk per doe per day. At peak lactation this can increase to 3.5-4 litres per day.