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ARTICLES >> Livestock Articles

Going Goat Trading "Big Time"

Posted by Bestprac on Aug 14 2009

By Sally Ware, NSW DPI, Hay

Low prices, coupled with the dry seasons were the catalyst for Rick and Jo Gates to look for alternative sources of income on their property “Burndoo”.

Rick Gates and the Holland stocklift race which is used for ear tagging and ear marking goats. The bars lift the goats off the groud making tagging and marking easier and safer for the operators.
 

The Gates family have been woolgrowers in the Wilcannia area since the 1920’s. Low prices, coupled with the dry seasons were the catalyst for Rick and Jo Gates to look for alternative sources of income on their property “Burndoo”. They bought some rangeland goats to fill one of the spare paddocks. As they emptied paddocks of sheep, they re-fenced them and filled them with goats. It soon became obvious to the Gates that they could buy large numbers of goats and resell them quickly rather than breed them on their property.

Rick Gates and the Holland stocklift race which is used for ear tagging and ear marking goats. The bars lift the goats off the groud making tagging and marking easier and safer for the operators.In 1998, they started trading and stopped breeding. They called their business “Gates Goats”. They had to establish market links and network with landholders or as Rick and Jo say “they had to learn the system”. In the next eight years, they moved from struggling woolgrower to major goat producer, buyers and exporters.

In 1999 they started to build their main goat depot yards at the house. These yards are steel and can hold 3000 goats. They contain a weighing pen for weighing drafted goats off the truck and a Holland stocklift race. They have a roof and can be watered using a sprinkler system; the yards are watered before handling goats. They now have five sets of steel yards with water in three sets.

The Gates use their own trucks to pick up goats and bring them back to the depot, however they originally started with a Toyota ute and a trailer and using truck contractors for the larger mobs.

The business moved quickly. They sold 10,000 goats in their first year of trading and 20,000 in the second year. In 2001 and 2002, they bought and sold next to zero due to the drought. The weighing pen was put into the yards in 2002 and this enabled the goats to be bought on liveweight once trading re-commenced. In 2008, over 100,000 goats passed through the yards and onto trucks from “Burndoo”.

The Gates aim to source rangeland goats from landholders located within a 250 km radius of their property. They pick up the goats and bring them back to the depot. The goats are off loaded and drafted into sex and size i.e. billies over 25 kg, nannies over 25 kg and the smalls which are under 25 kg. The mobs are weighed in the weighing pen and the weights are returned to the landholder within 12 hours. Payment is sent to the landholder no later than 10 days minus the freight charge per kilometre to collect the goats.

The average mob size bought ranges from 120 to 1400 goats. Each week loads of goats are booked into the main abattoirs. About 2000 goats are trucked out of the yards each week using contract trucks. The majority of goats are sold over the hooks to the export market and about 10% are killed for the domestic market. Billies over 25 kg are also sold and exported live by aircraft out of Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. These goats need to be of correct weight, horn type and conformation. Goats below 25 kg are sold to re-stockers.

The Gates now have a profitable enterprise that works for their property and suits their location.

 Rick and Joanne Gates drafting a consignment of goats in the main trucking yards. These yards are covered and watered using a sprinkler system.Rick and Joanne Gates drafting a consignment of goats in the main trucking yards. These yards are covered and watered using a sprinkler system.

 

Last changed: Feb 15 2012

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