by Samantha Townsend
Once considered a pest of the land, goats are fast becoming a sought-after commodity fetching prices on par with lamb.
According to Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), the national goat average price stands at $6.58/kg while lamb is $6.62/kg, up from $6.24/kg a week ago.
“Goat prices have gone through the roof,” MLA manager of market information Ben Thomas said.
“We can’t get enough to keep up with the demand.”
Mr Thomas said the turning point for goats came when the Australian dollar declined in 2014, which saw some producers get record prices of $7.50/kg.
Goat meat is the most widely consumed meat in the world. Australia is the largest goat exporter, sending 95 per cent globally to countries including the Caribbean.
Last year there were two million goats processed producing up to 33,000 tonnes compared to 23 million lambs processed with 500,000 tonnes.
Meanwhile consumers will still be feeling the pinch for beef as prices continue to remain high due to a lack of supply of cattle in the market.
Laurie Argue from Kempsey Stock and Land said producers had been reaping the benefits of beef prices since 2014 due to a number of reasons including a shortage in America, lack of domestic supply and widespread rain.
“Producers are getting some of the best prices we’ve ever seen in the last 12 months,” Mr Argue said.
“The high prices in beef have flown down the line to the supermarkets where you’ll find consumers have to pay more, up to $10/kg for premium meat, while budget cuts have also seen a rise.”
Love goat meat? Here are some recipes from Meat and Livestock Australia.
Mediterranean goat casserole
(Preparation time 15 minutes, cooking time two hours, serves four)
600g goat meat, diced
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 cup beef stock
1 cup red wine
400g can diced tomatoes
4 sprigs fresh oregano
1 large zucchini, chopped
2 finger eggplants, chopped
1 red capsicum, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and cracked black pepper
Heat a large casserole dish over medium high heat. Brown the goat meat in batches in a little olive oil. Set aside.
Add a little more oil to the pan and cook the onion and garlic until it starts to soften. Return the meat to the pan, along with the stock, wine, canned tomatoes and oregano.
Bring to the boil then turn down the heat to a low simmer and cook slowly for 1 ½ hours. Add the zucchini, eggplant and capsicum and continue cooking for another 30 minutes.
Season and add the parsley. Serve with crusty rustic bread and risoni.
Feta stuffed goat meatballs
(Preparation time 30 minutes plus 15 minutes refrigeration, cooking time 20 minutes, serves four)
600g goat mince
½ onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
salt and cracked black pepper
100g greek feta, chopped into 2cm cubes
Tzatziki, tabouli and pita bread, to serve
Put the goat mince in a large bowl with the onion, garlic, spices, parsley, lemon rind, salt and pepper. Mix until fully combined.
Take enough mince mixture to roll into a ball just larger than the size of a golf ball. Make an indent in the centre of the ball and place a cube of feta. Fold the mince around the feta to ensure the cheese is fully enclosed. Repeat with remaining mince mixture and feta. Place on a tray and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Fry the meatballs over medium heat in batches until golden and sealed then place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Transfer to the oven and cook for another 8-10 minutes.
Serve meatballs with tzatziki, tabouli and pita bread.