Growth, feed efficiency and carcass
characteristics of Boer-influenced meat goats has received considerable
attention. However, product yield from these goats is not well defined. In this
study, carcasses from half-blood Boer wethers were fabricated into case-ready
products. Product yield data was then used to estimate wholesale value and
evaluate the merit of a producer-driven, wholesale meat production
A significant portion of the meat
goats produced in Texas is exported for harvest and processing in other states.
Therefore, carcass fabrication and case-ready product preparation are two
potential value-added opportunities for meat goat producers. In addition,
freight cost per unit of retail product is significantly less for boxed meat
than live animals.
Retained ownership of goats
through the carcass fabrication phase is not without risk. Compared to beef,
lamb, pork and poultry, very little retail product yield information is
available for meat goats. Such information is a critical component of the
decision-making process employed by producers as they evaluate marketing
The objective of this project was
to determine the case-ready product yield of the following cuts from half-blood
Boer wether carcasses: square cut shoulder, boneless shoulder, rack, loin,
saddle, leg and ribs.
Carcasses harvested from twelve
Boer X Spanish wethers were fabricated by professional meat cutters to determine
retail product yield. Wethers (live weight range from 57-100 lb; average 69.5)
were randomly selected from a group of 250 that had been fed (ad libitum) a
complete balanced ration for 75 days. Goats were transported approximately 70
miles in the early morning, weighed and slaughtered immediately after arrival.
Hot carcass weight was recorded on the kill floor. Chilled carcass weights were
recorded after a 24 hour chill at 38F.
Carcasses were randomly divided
into two groups and fabricated into case-ready products 24 hours after
slaughter. Fabrication regimes are outlined in Table 1.
Loin, Bone In
10 Rib French Rack
Ribs w/ breast
Square cut shoulder
Ribs w/ breast
Boneless leg - hind
leg, sirloin off with femur and tibia removed
Loin - separated
from rack between 12 and 13 rib, includes sirloin
French rack -
contains ribs 3-12, distal end of ribs bare for 1.5 in.
Saddle- loin and
rack left intact
Shoulder - includes
ribs 1 and 2, shank and neck
Shoulder ( cut) - neck,
shank and portion of breast removed
Ribs w/ breast -
ventral ¾ of ribs 3-12 with sternum (breast) intact.
Trim - soft tissue
with at least 50% lean content
A limited survey indicates
significant interest in boneless legs, loins and racks amongst retail meat
purveyors. These same retailers are also interested in a goat sausage, therefore
the bone was removed from the shoulder in regimen A to facilitate grinding.
According to protocol B, the loin and rack were left intact to form a saddle;
the longissimus dorsi muscle was left entire should a retailer need boneless
loins. Also, the shoulder was square cut to form an attractive, bone-in product
very suitable for roasting.
Carcass fabrication results are
presented in Table 2. Carcass characteristics and product yield (%) were very
similar across the carcass weights included in this study. The dressing percent
observed (51%) in this study is:
- lower than that reported by
Loosli (1984) and Oman (1996a);
- identical to that previously
reported for similar live weight goats by Riley et al. (1989), Machen et al.
(1996) and Oman et al. (1996b);
- higher than an industry estimate
of 40% by Strube
1991 and the 44-49% reported
by Misra (1983).
Dressing percent (chilled carcass
weight/live weight at slaughter) is of paramount importance in the consideration
of whether to sell live goats or carcass weight on the rail. Small changes in
dressing percent (2-3%) may seem insignificant but, in fact, could represent the
difference in profit and loss of a retained ownership/value-added
Yield of the four major wholesale
cuts, leg, loin rack and shoulder (Table 2) was similar to that reported by
Snowder for Spanish goats.(unpublished data). The shoulder represents a larger
percentage of the carcass than typically observed in lambs.
Carcass Fabrication Results
|Live Weight, lb
Chilled Carcass Weight,
% of Chilled Carcass
|Leg, bone in
Loin, bone in
Shoulder, bone in
Kidney & Pelvic
Yield of case-ready products by
fabrication protocol is shown in Table 3. Loin and shoulder fabrication differed
between the two protocols. The most significant difference between the two
methods was the amount of trim and waste, most of which apparently resulted from
the shoulder. Producing boneless shoulders minimized the amount of trim but
increased the waste. Likewise, production of square-cut, bone-in shoulder
reduced the amount of waste but increased the trim. Decisions regarding exact
fabrication technique are influenced by the respective wholesale value for each
of the products.
Retail Product Yield
|Loin, bone in
|10 rib French
|Shoulder, square cut
**Bone, fat trim,
ECONOMIC ANALYSIS &
An economic analysis of a
value-added meat goat enterprise is presented in Table 4. Column (letters) and
row (numbers) identification is associated with the table for reference
purposes. References will be abbreviated Column:Row (ex. A:1 indicates column A,
row 1). Live animal and carcass characteristics are shown in F:3-10. An
arbitrary live price of $0.90 per pound was selected for this discussion. Note
that the total per head investment per 70 lb goat, including live value,
slaughter and processing fees is $91.73 (G:11) or $2.59 per pound of carcass
In this example, the carcass was
fabricated according to protocol A as previously described. Percentage (carcass
weight basis) of each product is listed in D:16-25 and the resulting weight of
each product is shown in F:16-25. Inedible waste (bone, fat trim, etc.) is
responsible for the 68¢ difference between average break-even price for the
products ($3,27; D:28) and the cost per pound of processed carcass ($2.59;
G:12). The prices listed in
G:16-25 were selected to result in an average price of $3.27. As such, they
provide some insight to the wholesale/retail prices expected if a value-added
venture is to be attempted.
Taking the value-added concept one
step further, if the boneless shoulder and trim were ground and made into a
processed product (i.e. smoked sausage), the break-even cost of such a processed
product would be $3.96 (J:28).
Sensitivity to several production
parameters is shown in Table 5. Consideration is limited to those parameters
upon which the producer can have a direct impact or those major factors included
in marketing decisions.
Sensitivity to Production Parameter Changes
Break-even Price, $/lb*
|A. decrease liveweight to
|B. increase liveweight to
|C. increase liveweight to
|D. reduce dressing percent to
|E. reduce live price to 80¢
|F. increase live price to
$1.00 per lb.
|* Compared to the
baseline of $3.27 (Table 4; cell D:28).
** Compared to the baseline
of $0.00 (Table 4; cell H:32).
Parameter changes A, B and C
demonstrate the long-known, well-accepted fact that increasing slaughter weight,
and hence carcass weight, spreads the overhead expenses (slaughter and
processing fee) over more pounds of meat and lowers the break-even price of
wholesale products. Introduction of the Boer goat has facilitated development of
goats that can efficiently and economically reach 80-100 pounds by 12-13 months
of age. However, the absence of widespread consumer acceptance of product from
these larger carcasses has precluded aggressive packer procurement of larger
(>80 lb.) slaughter
Accurate estimation of dressing
percent is a critical component in the consideration of retained ownership.
Although the goats in this study dressed 51%, communication with meat packers
indicates 44-48% is the industry average. Table 5 line D demonstrates the effect
of a 3% reduction in dressing percent. Although a 3% change seems relatively
insignificant, in this example it represents a $4.57 change in the bottom
Retained ownership is most
appealing when live price is depressed. As indicated in item E, Table 5, a $0.10
per pound reduction in live price improves the profit/loss in this example by
$6.95 per head. However, a $0.10 upward move in the live market ($0.90 to $1.00)
results in a loss of almost $7.00 per head (Table 5; F).
Meat goat production enterprises have long
been extensive in nature; most of the kids produced are sold immediately after
weaning at 4-6 months of age. Value-added opportunities may exist for producers
willing to retain ownership of their production beyond weaning age/weight. Such
opportunities warrant consideration, are not without risk and will require
promotion and consumer education at the retail meat counter.
Animals and financial support for
this project were provided by Ferrell Davis and Bob Duke, 4D Ranch, Utopia,
Texas. Also, the cooperation of Robbie Bertheola and the staff of Hill Country
Meats, Ingram, Texas is greatly appreciated.
Loosli, J.K. 1984. Role in Meeting
World Food Supplies. In: Extension Goat Handbook. Extension Service USDA,
Machen, R.V., E.R. Holland, L.W.
Thigpen, Jr. and K.W. White. 1996. Growth and Carcass Characteristics of
Spanish, ¼ Boer and ½ Boer Wethers After 66 Days on Feed. Texas Agricultural Experiment Station
Sheep and Goat Research Reports CPR-5257.
Misra, R.K. 1983. Genetic Analysis of
Growth, Survivability, Efficiency of Feed Conversion and Carcass Yield and
Composition in Sirohi (goat) and its crosses with Beetal. Kurukshetra University
, Haryana, India. Ph.D. thesis.
Oman, J.S., D. Griffin, W.S. Ramsey and D.
Waldron. 1996a. Effects of Breed Type on Goat Carcass Composition, Retail
Shelf-Life , Sensory and Chemical Characteristics. Proceedings of the Southeast
Regional Meat Goat Production Symposium. February 21- 24, 1996. Tallahassee,
Oman, J.S., D.F. Waldron, D.B.
Griffin and J.W. Savell. 1996b. Effect of Breed-type and Feeding Regimen on Goat
Carcass Characteristics. Texas Agricultural Experiment Station Sheep and Goat
Research Reports CPR-5257.
Riley, R.R., J.W. Savell, M.
Shelton and G.C. Smith. 1989. Carcass and Offal Yields of Sheep and Goats as
Influenced by Market Class and Breed.
Strube, A. 1991. Meat Goat Buying,
Slaughtering, Packaging and Marketing. In: Proceedings of the National Symposium
on Goat Meat Production and Marketing, August 16-18, Tulsa, OK.