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Considering Raising Meat Goats? Here’s What the Market Looks Like

By   /  October 31, 2016  /  Comments Off on Considering Raising Meat Goats? Here’s What the Market Looks Like

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Thanks to Steve Bryns, Texas A&M Agrilife, for this article.

Meat goats such as these visiting a salt block on native range near Sonora are valuable property, a Texas A&M AgriLife study proves. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Steve Byrns)

Meat goats such as these visiting a salt block on native range near Sonora are valuable property, a Texas A&M AgriLife study proves. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Steve Byrns)

Researchers at Texas A&M just finished a  six-year study proving what many of their West Texas stockmen know; properly managed meat goats are valuable property, no matter how many you have.

Bill Thompson, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist, and Dr. Dan Waldron, Texas A&M Agrilife Research geneticist, both at San Angelo, and Dr. Rob Hogan, AgriLife Extension economist at Uvalde, recently finished a formal price analysis of the meat goat kid market in San Angelo, home of Producers Livestock Auction.

“Producers Livestock Auction is the largest sheep and goat market in the nation, so it has some price bearing on other sheep and goat markets across the country,” Thompson said. “The auction staff has been cooperating with us by making their sales data available, which has given us an opportunity to extract some interesting findings.”

Goat Prices Up, Goat Numbers Down

Data from 2010 to 21015 showed that goat prices are increasing, but the numbers across the U.S. are declining.

Waldron said the very nature of the goat, predominantly a seasonal breeder, can have a strong bearing on price.

“We do see an expected seasonal goat price drop in the summer,” Waldron said. “Basically, we see lows between July and September and that’s also when we see our greatest volume of goats sold. So we see simple supply-and-demand economics at play there.

“Our area producers typically avoid kidding in June through September simply because the hot temperatures affect the forage quality, which affects milk production and subsequent growth of the kids. That obviously affects when the kids will reach market weight.”

Waldron said the highest prices usually occur between December and March due to the smaller numbers available at that time.

Thompson said another interesting point was that as in most livestock species, the price per pound drops as the animal’s weight increases. With meat goat kids, the price actually increases – up to about 60 pounds. So if range conditions allow, producers can increase their gross revenue by keeping the animal on the range until they reach 60 pounds.

“But once they pass 60 pounds, the price per pound starts to drop,” Thompson said. “It appears 60 pounds is the preferred market weight of these animals.”

Big Lots Not a Big Deal

goats-at-auction“And finally, we didn’t see much of a premium for goats sold in lot sizes above six to 12 goats. For wool sheep and cattle, we typically see a greater price paid for animals sold in larger, uniform lots.”

Thompson said that point alone may make the meat goat business more appealing for producers who can only keep a few animals.

“There is always a need for maintaining uniform quality animals, but it’s probably not going to affect the price received as much as other classes of livestock.”

For the consumer, all agreed, it would be nicer if the supply was a bit more uniform throughout the year and not so concentrated during the summer. Despite Texas goat numbers declining, adequate supplies of meat goats are still available throughout the calendar year.

The future of the meat goat industry remains positive on several fronts, Thompson said.

Just $4903.54 to go! Help us out.

Just $4903.54 to go! Help us out.

“That segment of our population that prefers goat meat is growing,” Thompson said. “And there has long been a place in our range management for goats. They’re used to reduce fuel loads for fire mitigation, to control noxious plants, and to increase the range efficiency as they consume plants cattle and sheep avoid. Couple these factors with strong prices and the demand for the final product and I do think the future for the meat goat industry is a bright one.”

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  • Published: 1 month ago on October 31, 2016
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  • Last Modified: October 31, 2016 @ 3:57 pm
  • Filed Under: Goats, Livestock

About the author

editor and contributor

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she's not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.

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