January 7, 2005 | By: Aimee Heald-Nielson
LEXINGTON, Ky.

Kentucky goat producers had a banner year in 2004. They received the highest prices in the country and higher prices than any other period in history. Producers can maximize profits when they realize goats are seasonal breeders and that seasonality affects supply, demand and price.

“Most of the goats are bred in early fall,” said Terry Hutchens, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Extension associate for goat production. “Most kid in winter and most slaughter goats are ready for market at the lowest price point in the market. There are things producers can do to maximize profits.”

Hutchens said producers should schedule breeding seasons to maximize sales in December and January through May and minimize marketing at low price periods from June to October. He said targeting late fall and winter ethnic holidays would help increase profits as well. 

“Markets usually spike two weeks before major holidays,” he said. “It’s ideal to plan holidays at least three to five years before the present marketing year since these holidays are moving targets.”

Supply is the major reason for price fluctuation. Hutchens said there are fewer slaughter goats on the market early in the year, but as kids are taken off pastures in Texas and the southeast, large supplies of winter-born kids hit the markets. Large supplies of meat goat hit the market in June and supplies remain high until October. At that point, goat supplies decline and prices increase.

“Holiday meat demands impact the low supply frenzy after October and continue to impact price well into spring of the following year,” Hutchens said. “If Kentucky goat producers would plan their breeding season to have animals available during low supply times, they could take advantage of the higher prices.”

Hutchens added that Kentucky producers have a great marketing system once the goats are ready for market.

“We are very fortunate to have a well-developed system for pooling quality animals into marketable packages for buyers of slaughter goats,” he said. “These are graded and grouped and Tel-O-Auction sales are conducted by many yards throughout the state.”

Information about graded sales is available from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. Contact Tess Caudell at (502) 564-4983 for details.

Contact: 

Writer: Aimee D. Nielson 859-257-4736, ext. 267
Contact: Terry Hutchens 859-257-2465