Target marketing of slaughter goats by Pinkerton, McMillin, Herr, Stanton• Definition: target-marketing is a management scheme in which portions of one’s herd are bred to produce kids that will reach desirable age/weight/condition (as defined) for sale at predetermined times• Target-marketing may not be a logical strategy for all producers because of agro-climatic considerations and other issues
Implementing a target-marketing program• Why? To take advantage of seasonally higher prices due to supply/demand imbalances• When? Premium prices for slaughter kids occur in the ‘winter quarter’; see below• Where? The major sales venues are those that supply packers in the northeast and mid-west• What sort of goats? See handout• How? See below
Seasonal variations in market prices• Refer to handout showing sources of variation• Seasonal variation, figure 1• Annual variation, figure 2• Weekly variation, figure 3• Live grade, figure 4• Sale weight, figure 5• Sales venues, figure 6
Price variations, continued• Differential price responses to weight category; see figures 7 and 8• Differential price responses to live grade; see figure 9• Differential pre-sale sorting practices at San Angelo, Nashville, and New Holland; see handout
Economics of seasonal marketing• Winter prices typically average 25-30% higher than Jun/Oct lows; holiday spikes higher?• Are these premium prices worth pursuing?• Only if the increased revenue exceeds the associated costs by some measure• First, calculate the returns to your current production/marketing scheme (this is sometimes a bit too thrilling/chilling.
Economics, continued• Secondly, estimate the cost-benefits accruing to targeting winter markets• Income will be higher on the same weights• Production costs of spring breeding/fall kidding for winter sales may be higher• These costs are rather site-specific and only you can decide your optimum alternative; compare fall vs ‘other’ kidding times
Logistics of seasonal production/marketing• To target winter markets (mid-Nov/late Apr):• Breed in Dec/Jan and kid in May/Jun; assume ADG of .33 or 10 lb/mo, plus birth wt, less 3-4% shrink; estimated sale wt 70-80 lb?• Breed in Apr/May and kid in Sep/Oct; assume same ADG, BW, and shrinkage; estimated sale wt in Feb/Mar 65/75 lb?
Logistics of holiday marketing• Refer to the Handout for planning breeding schedules to optimize target holiday weights• This can be both promising and dicey; you can do very well or, on occasion, you can blow it, depending on precise timing and on competitive numbers at the same sale• Forward contracting may reduce uncertainty, but proceed cautiously
Obstacles to spring breeding/fall kidding• Not all does will cycle in spring; some do so ‘naturally’, but some need hormonal manipulation via management decisions.• Mid-Dec/mid-Feb lighting (20/24 hrs/day), followed by 4/6 week hiatus, followed by introduction of ‘lighted’ bucks will USUALLY result in April/May conception rate of 75-82%, but there are no guarantees; breed differences? Individual differences?
Estrous induction and synchronization• Non-cycling does may be induced to cycle via hormonal manipulation with vaginal sponges; unfortunately, this is currently illegal here• Cycling does may be synchronized to breed in a very narrow window, 4-6 days, for management convenience/target marketing using Lutalyse (1-2 cc/hd on day 1; another 1-2 cc/hd on day 10/11; estrus will occur 2-4 days later; conception rates will be 80% plus
Continued• Caution: if you are selling market kids, au natural, the use of endocrine products to induce, or even synchronize, estrus may render the resulting kids unacceptable to certain buyers/consumers• I have heard that eating such kids will render one sterile or, worse, impotent/disinterested, and can alter your DNA. On to New Holland…
Summary• Consider winter sales of market kids if it appears economically feasible and if it fits your particular management scheme• Use only a portion of your herd to ‘try’ this novel production/marketing strategy• Breed yearlings late or use early-weaned does end of presentation