Goat Production Booming Due to Mohair Demand

Farm Tender Jul 24, 2018

Mohair is a fine fabric sourced from the hair of Angora goats. It is particularly in demand for its excellent sheen and lustre, which is why mohair is often referred to as the ‘diamond fibre’.

Mohair is durable and elastic in nature, takes colours exceptionally well and can be worn both in winters and summers. It is also crease and flame resistant. Mohair is often mixed with other fibres to add a dash of beauty and shimmer to the fabric.

Mohair is considered a luxury fabric and is more expensive than most good quality wool sourced from sheep. Understandably, the demand for mohair is forever on the rise.

Breeding goats for the supply of mohair can, therefore, be a viable business opportunity for Australian farmers, especially if you are already in the farming business and are eager to explore other opportunities.

Mohair Production in Australia

Breeding of Angora goats came into prominence in Australia around the early 70’s and producing mohair was considered a viable primary business for farmers and breeders. At that time, mohair was a relatively new fibre and considered as an exciting new alternative to wool.

A lot of breeders entered the goat breeding industry in anticipation of a growing primary manufacturing sector.

Fluctuating Fortunes

Fortunes, however, have fluctuated since then due to several reasons. Demand and adequate supplies of mohair from other nations, the near collapse of the textile industry around the late 80’s and recession in the textile trade in the early 90’s are some of the factors that have forced many breeders to look the other way.

The Turnaround

Recently, however, the tables have turned once again in favour of Australian breeders with rising demand in global markets for the supply of high quality mohair.

One of the prime reasons for this is a devastating drought in South Africa, which is the largest producer of mohair in the world. Production from the country has reduced drastically forcing spinning mills to look at other nations for adequate supply.

Other factors include increased demand and better price for the fabric as it gains in popularity with more and more people discovering its exceptional quality and benefits.

For Australian breeders who consider the supply of mohair as a viable business, now is the right time to capitalize on these opportunities.

Australia has the right climate and terrain for goat breeding to become a strong primary manufacturing sector. All that is required is commitment, an introduction of better breeds and large stocks to meet the rising global demand.

Why Consider Goats instead of Sheep

Traditionally, breeders in Australia have been keen on breeding sheep as wool production has always been a good source of income. However, given the rising demand for mohair and the poor global supply, goat breeding is no longer being sniggered at.

In fact, goat breeding can even be more profitable as compared to traditional sheep breeding for several reasons. One is, of course, the rising demand and better global prices. To put matters in perspective, a bale of best quality mohair fetched $42.50 per kilogram recently in New South Wales.

The second most important reason is that since 2010, the export of goat meat from Australia has almost tripled to more than $200 million. This means that you can make a handsome income both by selling high quality mohair as well as goat meat.

Australia is Well Suited to Goat Breeding

The dry inlands of Australia are perfectly suited for breeding Angora goats. This is because of the Angora’s origins in central Turkey, a region that is particularly dry and harsh.

In fact, recent studies by Meat and Livestock Australia clearly indicate that goats prefer coarser and drier forage. With the right development of infrastructure and involvement of more large-scale commercial producers, the region can become a hub for mohair production in Australia.

No Additional Costs Required

Breeders who are already into sheep breeding can breed goats simultaneously. Goat breeding does not require any special infrastructure and the process is similar to sheep breeding. You might just have to fortify your fences further as goats are inclined to escape regularly, making it difficult to keep your flock together.

Other than that, you don’t have to make any additional investment for breeding goats. Moreover, as goats prefer drier forage as compared to sheep, both can be bred together without compromising the available grazing area.

So breeding goats is a great way to diversify your business and improve your profits without incurring any additional running costs.

Developing the Mohair Industry in Australia

It is obvious that a potential market for mohair exists in Australia along with demand for goat meat. However, further investment, logistical support and infrastructure are necessary to give the industry a more cohesive shape.

Husbandry requirement for production on large scale, safe and hygienic compatibility with other livestock and streamlined management systems are crucial. Additional logistical support – in the form of steady supply of adequate stock, ready availability of breeding infrastructure and a proper channelized and well-controlled trading mechanism – is essential to give the industry a further boost.

The Challenges

At least ten nations across the globe source mohair from Australia. There obviously is scope for further expansion especially given the rising demand and better price for the fabric.

There is a fledgling brokerage system in place that takes care of marketing and trading to supply to the manufacturers in these nations. However, the cost of collecting the raw materials and assimilating produce from smaller breeders into larger lots for better management and saleability is still a challenge that has to be overcome.

There has been a steady improvement over the years both in the price of stud animals as well as the commercial market. However, the production is yet to pick up in response to the rising demand and better prices.

In retrospect, there is the need for a well-managed organization of breeders to represent and lead the industry. Support from the government is also vital to encourage more breeders to take up goat production and make it into a profitable primary sector industry.


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