Meat & Livestock News

Australia’s Goatmeat Trade: A New Chapter with China’s Growing Appetite

In the dynamic world of global meat trade, Australia has long held the crown as the top exporter of goat meat. The July–September quarter of 2023 has been particularly noteworthy, with the goatmeat industry experiencing a remarkable upswing in both production and export, especially to China.

A Closer Look at Production and Slaughter Trends:

The period saw a significant 49% year-on-year increase in goat slaughter, reaching 698,424 head, the highest figure recorded since 2017. However, it’s interesting to note a slight dip in the average goat carcase weight, which dropped to 15.5 kg from the previous year’s 16.6 kg.

This trend suggests a shift in slaughter practices, likely leaning more towards rangeland systems known for lighter weights, as opposed to the heavier turn-offs from managed systems.

As a result, goatmeat production surged by 39% to 10,805 tonnes, marking the highest quarterly output since March 2023. Given Australia’s export-centric goat meat industry, these increases have predominantly found their way into international markets.

Export Dynamics: A Shift Towards China:

2023 has been a year of change in Australia’s goatmeat export landscape. While the United States remained a significant market, its share in Australian exports dipped to 41% from 57% in 2022, despite a 3% increase in total volume.

The real game-changer, however, has been China’s burgeoning interest in Australian goat meat. From a modest 289 tonnes in 2022, accounting for just 1% of Australia’s exports, the volume to China has astonishingly increased by 4,053% to 5,587 tonnes in 2023.

This leap has propelled China to become Australia’s second-largest goatmeat market, now absorbing 20% of total exports.

This shift not only highlights the versatility of Australia’s goat meat trade but also underscores the growing global palate for diverse meat products. The Chinese market’s newfound preference for Australian goatmeat is a testament to the industry’s ability to tap into emerging markets and adapt to changing global consumption patterns.