Now is the time to invest in small livestock. A number of factors have come together to bring massive opportunities:
Exclusion fencing has given certainty, security and profitability back to the sheep and goat industries. Already more than 10,000,000 hectares have been fenced in Queensland, with another 5,000,000 hectares in the pipeline. Inside the fences, predation is down and reproduction rates are increasing – going from 50% to 85% in sheep and from 80% to over 125% in goats. This translates to an increase in gross margins of around 30 to 60% in wool and meat sheep, and 80% in goats.
Restocking is cheaper and cash flow return is quicker. With a return to improved seasons in 2021/2022, landholders are looking to restock. Diversifying into sheep and/or goats involves less of an initial outlay and a faster return to profitability.
Commodity prices are strong. Since 2007, prices for mutton, lamb and goat meat have increased by between two-and-a-half and four times and wool has continued to be valued highly.
Commodity prices 2016 to present
Between 2016 and now:
- Sheep meat prices increased from 560 to 734¢/kg CW
- Wool prices increased from 1,497 to 1,517¢/kg clean (EMI)
- Goat meat prices increased from 557 to 908¢/kg CW
Key stakeholders have begun to recognise the value of small stock in Queensland production systems. Participants in the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative (QFPI) cluster fencing have indicated that they will increase sheep numbers by 700,000 head in coming years.
They note that the fencing doesn't just bring security, it also has biosecurity and environmental benefits, with increased disease protection and marked increases in native flora and fauna.
Exclusion fencing is giving our kids a future in the industry
Growing the sheep and goat industries brings with it the chance to re-invigorate our regions, bringing people and money back and, with them, infrastructure and stronger communities.
The opportunity exists to lift the value of sheep and goat production in Queensland from $170 million per annum to around $350 million in the next five years. With emerging technologies adding better understanding and new environmental markets opening up, now is the time to fully embrace that opportunity.
Below is a longitudinal illustration of Gross Margins per hectare comparing wool sheep, meat sheep, goats and cattle over the period 2007 to 2022 using actual data and 2022 to 2027 using ABARE forecast commodity price data.
The Gross Margins per hectare are based on a generic property scale of 10,000 hectares and approximately 6,000 Dry Sheep Equivalents (DSE) or around 1.6 hectares per DSE. More information on the Gross Margins per hectare can be found with the Enterprise Calculator at the bottom of this page.
Gross margin per hectare – historical and projected
- 2007: $20.68
- Now: $44.27
- 2027 (projected): $52.63
- 2007: $13.99
- Now: $35.51
- 2027 (projected): $42.29
- 2007: $10.40
- Now: $46.76
- 2027 (projected): not available
- 2007: $16.57
- Now: $68.96
- 2027 (projected): $43.34
This Blueprint lays out a plan for the re-development of the Queensland sheep and goat industries. It is a guide to producers, industry and other stakeholders to allow them to take full advantage of this rare opportunity.