Prices for slaughter, breeding goats likely to remain high in ’21

As long-term readers of this column know, CY 2020 has shown that the usual pricing pattern for slaughter goats (April highs followed by a June swoon and lower prices until Thanksgiving) did not occur. Prices fell only a little bit post-Easter and remained high all the way to late fall. I show prices at the Salem, Ark., auction (600+ head) for November 27, 2020, to validate this observation. Texas auctions saw prices for #1 55-65 lb kids of $3.25 to

$3.45/lb near Thanksgiving. My contacts in PA, NJ, NY are now re- porting rising prices pre-Christmas as per the usual pattern. Retail customers will be paying $9-10/lb of carcass for the holiday. Goat prices have historically been higher than Texas prices at auctions located ever closer to PA/NJ terminal markets and packers. I expect to see higher prices all the way to Easter 2021, and I specu- late that there may again not be a summer/fall swoon in 2021. The Covid invasion is said to have caused supply disruptions and erratically higher retail prices for beef, pork, lamb and poultry. It is likely that goat meat prices also reflected this situation. However, the advent of Covid vaccines could, one imagines, alter this atypical occurrence by late summer.

At this time (early Dec ’20), I can only speculate how much these good slaughter prices will influence the price of breeding-qual- ity doelings and young open does in summer/fall ’21, but as I watched the breeder prices go up in the Upper Midwest and Northeast in the fall of ’20, my thought was/is that the industry will see a $10- 20+/head rise in ’21.

The prospect of selling $200/hd slaughter wethers/bucklings in mid ’21 will be the rationale for this rise, and breeding females will likely follow apace. It is a seller’s market, for sure.

Slaughter plants for goats The American Goat Federation is using USDA grant monies to explore opportunities for, and constraints to, meat goat production as it strives to increase goat production, goat meat supply and consumer consumption.

The decreasing number of local slaughter/processing plants is one such constraint. As always, my goat industry colleague, Dr Ken McMillin, LSU meat scientist, with extensive connections to USDA agency personnel and programs, has provided the useful information to AGF, which I now share with you:

“I regularly use the FSIS USDA site

( tory) to look up various information on 6,516 federally-inspected meat plants. I downloaded the Excel file.

That website also has establishments listed by demographic date (e.g., species) so I downloaded that file and eliminated all plants that did not list goat as a species. Unfortunately, that list does not include the address and telephone information for the 401 federal plants. For goat species. I’ve attached a spreadsheet of federal meat plants that slaughter or process goats into which I’ve cut and pasted the contact information. Even so, not all states have federal plants that slaughter or process goats.

6 Goat Rancher | January 2021


“As you have indicated, many goats are slaughtered in state-in- spected plants in the 27 states that have state meat inspection pro- grams. Unfortunately, neither the slaughter data nor the listings of the state plants are readily available. Also, there is no way to doc- ument or even to estimate the numbers of goats that are slaughtered informally without meat inspection. (FP: the USDA Sheep and Goat Inventory Report, due in March 2021 Goat Rancher, does not esti- mate this number. We speculate it could ‘miss’ about 40% of the an- nual kid crop).

Atypical feedstuffs for goats

I recently fielded a question from an Indiana meat producer, to wit: can I feed day-old bread as a supplemental feed for my goats? My answer was: yes, indeed, your goats will do good on day-old (or older, but not moldy) bread. My goat nutritionist’s ‘bible’ (Nutrient Requirements of Small Ruminants; about $60 from the National Research Council) shows two analyses:

Bakery product 90% dry matter, 90% Total Digestible Nu- trients, 12% crude protein (7.8% digestible protein) and good Ca and P content, and Bread Byproduct: dry matter 68%, 91 % TON, 14% crude protein (9.6 digestible protein) and useful Ca and P levels. These products are generated by bakeries in various large cities and metro areas in wrappers and/or pelleted form. (Do not offer wrappers as goats may choke on them).


There are many other byproducts that can be fed to goats, for % dry matter %TON %CP

Apple pomace, wet: Apple pomace, dry: Brewers grain, wet Brewers grain, dry

20 89 23 92

Distillers grain, corn, wet 36 Distillers grain, corn, dry 91 Beet pulp, wet Beet pulp, dry Citrus pulp

Cattle manure, dry Molasses, cane Molasses, beet Corn grain, whole Oat grain, whole Barley grain, whole Wheat grain, whole

17 91 90 93 76 77 88 89 89 89

Soybean meal, solvent 91 Cottonseed meal, solvent 90 Cottonseed, whole


15 65 21 84 36 92 14 75 79 38 75 75 88 76 84 88 84 77 95

6.0. 2.4 5.0 6.8

%DP 1.5

25.0 19.5 11.3

29.0 23.1 4.5

11.0 7.0

2.4 5.1 5.1

5.3 8.8 1.3

6.9 3.3

17.0 12.3 6.0 9.0 9.0

13.0 8.7 12.0 7.8 14.0 9.8 49.0 45.6 48.0 40.2 23.0 17.7

I show whole grain and high protein feedstuffs lastly to illustrate

the differences among traditional feedstuffs and high moisture feed- stuffs. I have nutrition information on many other feedstuffs available for the asking, among them forest, pasture, range forages and browse plants. Most all are relished by goats.

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