mand for goat during this pandemic time remains strong. One may speculate, with confidence, that the upward surge in slaughter prices usually seen from pre-Thanksgiving to Christmas will once again come to pass. If so, retail prices for goat carcasses will likely be in the $9-10/lb range in the Philadelphia/Washington DC/ New York City/NJ urban corridor by pre-Xmas time. One can also expect that slaughter goat prices will show the normal winter highs and peak the week prior to Easter, 2021; retail prices will nec- essarily follow apace.

These projected pricing patterns seem to be increasing the de- mand for breeding stock by current and prospective goat producers. My 2020 goat brokering business was adversely afflicted by the pan- demic early-on (bankers were loath to loan $$ for replacement goats). However, my sales picked up as supply of breeding animals came on the market in late summer. I will sell about 2,300 hd this year (3,000 in CY ‘190) at about 10% higher prices/hd. My commission earnings reflected reduced sales but, at 92, I am ever thankful… for the $$ and for the interactions with my buyers.

(Dr. Frank Pinkerton, PhD, is a retired extension goat specialist

living in San Marcos, Texas. He can be contacted at 512-392-4123 or by e-mail at His book, A Compila- tion of the Wit and Wisdom of the Goat Man, is available for purchase at

Dairy goat production up in Iowa When one thinks of Iowa agriculture, you usually think of

the state’s corn, soybean or hog production, right? But dairy goats? Recent data from the National Agricultural Statistics Serv- ice shows that Iowa is ranked third in the country in dairy goat production, behind Wisconsin and California. Iowa is tied with Texas at No. 3. According to the USDA, the state’s milk goat in- ventory has grown 74% since 2007. Despite Iowa’s high-ranking in the dairy goat industry, it is still a small, niche market with producers making various cheeses, milk, yogurt, soaps and lotions often sold at farmers’ markets, cooperatives and grocery stores across the state. There are 214 licensed dairy goat herds in Iowa, with the

largest concentration in the eastern half of the state, according to a survey last fall conducted by Iowa State University. There are approximately 34,000 milking does in Iowa.

The average herd size is between 100 and 199 goats, with some herds being as large as 300 or more goats. An average goat will produce around 2,000 pounds of milk a year, or up to a gal- lon a day, according to the American Dairy Goat Association. Producers have to be licensed and are subject to Department of Agriculture inspections in order to sell their milk or cheese.

October 2020 | Goat Rancher


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