Meat & Livestock News

2023 Marks a Record Year for Goat Slaughter and Production in Australia


  • Goat slaughter rates and production volumes hit record highs in 2023, with a 41% increase in slaughter and a 30% rise in production.
  • Carcase weights varied, leading to a slight decrease in average weight due to processing a broader range of goat sizes.
  • Export volumes also saw a significant increase, particularly to China, benefiting from zero tariffs under the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has unveiled its official livestock slaughter and meat production figures for 2023, revealing unprecedented levels of goat slaughter and production. The data, released on 20 February 2024, highlights a significant uptick in activity within the goat sector, underscoring a year of robust growth and productivity.

In a remarkable surge, goat slaughter numbers soared by 41% to reach 2,358,430 head, marking the highest level recorded compared to the previous year. Victoria emerged as a leading contributor, accounting for 47% of the total slaughter with 1,097,406 head processed.

This increase in slaughter rates was mirrored by a 30% boost in production, which totalled 28,463 tonnes, evidencing a strong and steady goat population capable of supporting such record-breaking levels.

The year also witnessed fluctuations in carcass weights, which ranged between 14 kg and 17 kg per head. The average carcass weight for 2023 experienced a slight reduction, settling at 15.63kg, down by 1.3kg from the previous year. This variation was anticipated, given the broader range of goat sizes being processed to meet the increased demand.

On the international front, goat export volumes experienced a notable rise, reaching 18,356 head in 2023. This figure represents the second-largest volume recorded over the past five years and marks an increase of 13,487 heads.

China solidified its position as the second-largest market for Australian goat meat, importing 2,308 tonnes. The growth in exports to China was propelled by favourable pricing conditions and the advantageous zero tariffs afforded by the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

These insights into the goat sector’s performance in 2023 reflect the industry’s capacity to adapt and thrive amidst changing market conditions and external influences. As stakeholders look to the future, the data serves as a valuable benchmark for planning and development within the Australian goat industry.