The Australian Goatmeat Industry

The Australian goatmeat industry is considered relatively new, however the first goats on the first fleet that arrived on Australian shores were introduced by European settlers in 1788. These early goats were an important part of the development of Australian agriculture, as they provided a wide variety of products through their milk, fibre and meat.

Widely known for their inquisitive nature, these early goat herds proved quite difficult to contain and many escaped into surrounding bushland. These patterns led to the emergence of Australia’s extensive population of “rangeland” goats. These animals graze on indigenous pastures with limited exposure to chemicals. They are part of the natural ecosystem. Together with the domestic goat populations, rangeland goats have created a goatmeat product unique to Australia, which is now widely sought after around the globe.

Demand from traditional consumers may be driver which establishes goatmeat supply chains in these markets but it is expected that the healthy image and the increasing focus on cuisines where goatmeat is regularly used i.e. Indian and North African, will result in greater consumption by non-traditional consumers.

The harvest of the Australian rangeland goat populations for meat commenced in 1953 and continued sporadically up until the 1990’s when it became an important and readily available product.

In 1994 the South African “Boer” breed of goats was introduced to Australian domestic herds. The robust and resilient nature of this meat goat breed allowed it to be famed intensively. They have also been introduced to rangeland herds, creating an animal that could withstand the arid Australian conditions while maintaining a meatier carcass. IN doing so, seasonality of supply became less pronounced as goats were able to reproduce, thus also be harvested, at most times of the year.

Prior to the introduction of the Boer goat, the farmed goats in Australia were primarily raised to produce fibre (Mohair and Cashmere) or dairy products. Meat was a by-product of these goat enterprises. The introduction of the Boer goat led to the establishment of goatmeat focused farming enterprises.

Goatmeat – A Global Perspective

Goatmeat is the most widely consumed meat in the world, with global consumption of about 3 million tonnes per year. Australia is now the largest exporter of goatmeat in the world. Most major goatmeat producers consume all their product in their domestic market.

The Australian goatmeat industry has undergone a period of rapid development over the past decade, with the export market accounting for 90% of sales. In 2010-11 there were approximately 4 million goats in Australia, comprising of 3.2 million rangeland goats and 400,000 domestically farmed goats. In the same year, over 1.75 million goats were slaughtered for export or domestic markets, or exported live.

Healthy – Lean – Flavoursome

Goatmeat is lean and has nutritious qualities consistent with what health experts regard as a healthy meat alternative, particularly due to its low fat and cholesterol content. Australian goatmeat has a firm texture with flavour profiles from mild to strong depending upon the age of the animal, creating an ideal meat for spiced or slow-cooked dishes. It is versatile, and can be readily substituted in most lamb or mutton dishes.

Younger farmed Boer or Boer cross goats provide a meatier, milder flavour and generally more tender product known as Chevon. Chevon is ideal for slow cooking, but a number of cuts can be grilled, pan-fried or roasted. Australia also produces young milk fed capretto goatmeat which is highly sought after especially in fine dining environments. Capretto has very lean pink flesh with a mild pleasant flavour.
It blends perfectly with contemporary flavours and popular herbs and spices.

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Southern Cross Smallgoods
Dean and Deborah Quick
Phone: 0417 898 345
Fax: 07 5484 7339
Sexton QLD 4570

ABN: 41 231 473 612
Safe Food Production Queensland Accreditation No. 122456-000

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