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more winter-born kids come to the sales… larger volumes beget lower prices. The San Angelo market has seen bigger runs of slaughter goats from April 22 (2,520) to May 6 (4,031), with concurrent decreases in prices. However, #1 still averaged more than $3 per pound and #2 averaged above $2.75 per pound for 40 to 60 pound goats. We are getting increasing numbers of calls from readers inquiring about possible short-term and long-term adverse effects of the virus on goat demand per se and on slaughter prices at auction. In particular, pro- spective buyers of my brokerage goats are increasingly concerned about the advisabil- ity of purchasing goats this year and also about the procurement of loans to cover pur- chase and hauling costs.


I speculate that they will remain in- decisive until the extent of the virus invasion is clarified. In the meantime, the goats are on the ground as usual and doing their thing, virus be damned. They will be ready to load out in August and September. Only their des- tinations remain to be seen. We read/hear the same public infor- mation that readers do; it predicts an uncer- tain date for recovery from virus. Given this situation, we are reduced to suggesting that goat meat consumption levels will be a func- tion of (depend on) ethnic incomes, which in turn are dependent on ethnic jobs. The pan- demic has caused serious unemployment for most all citizens — and ethnic groups are not immune. As ethnic household incomes di- minish, they may well shift from domestic unfrozen goat meat to cheaper imported frozen goat meat or to poultry because their economic circumstances simply dictate the change. However, we confidently predict that consumption of domestic goat meat will return as soon as ethnic employment returns. Remember, food purchases are cul- turally driven and changes in eating habits happen only slowly. Conversely, we are told by sellers of goat meat in NYC that younger ethnics are increasingly drawn to American fast-foods (McDonalds, KFC and endless beef/chicken/fish tacos) and thus away from traditional ethnic fare. Accordingly, ethnic acculturation looms as a distant threat. Recent readers of Goat Rancher know that certain producers are making changes in their management and marketing practices. For example, ever higher land prices are in- fluencing new players to undertake confine- ment or semi-confinement operations while increasingly tight enterprise profit margins are causing some producers (old and new) to change from kidding once a year to kidding 3 times in 24 months to increase net profit


16 Goat Rancher | August 2020


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