Economic analysis of feral goat control within the NSW Rangeland

Khairo, S.A., Hacker, R.B., Atkinson, T.L., Turnbull, G.L. (2011), Economic Analysis of Feral Goats Control Within the NSW Rangeland, Report Prepared for Western Catchment Management Authority, Economic Research Report No.47, NSW Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services, Trangie, November.

Executive Summary

Representative whole farm models and benefit-cost analysis methods were used to evaluate a range of feral goat management scenarios for the Bourke, Cobar and Broken Hill Districts.

Models were derived from existing representative whole farm models which were updated through focus group discussions with landholders in the three districts.

Models were formulated to allow the additional costs and benefits of feral goat management scenarios to be represented as partial budgets relative to the representative farm which excluded feral goat enterprises.

Alternative scenarios were evaluated in terms of Net Present Value (NPV) and Benefit–Cost Ratio (BCR) over 20 years time fame and each was assessed for sensitivity to feral goat price and population density. The scenarios evaluated were:

  1. No harvesting of feral goats.
  2. Opportunistic harvesting at the current level (as defined by focus group participants);
  3. Opportunistic harvesting with additional capital investment to maximise capture and turnoff;
  4. ‘Value adding’ to captured goats by use of a goat paddock to grow out small animals, without reduction in domestic livestock;
  5. As for 3 above but with a corresponding reduction in domestic livestock;
  6. Exclusion of feral goats by Total Grazing Pressure (TGP) fencing of as much of the property boundary as possible;
  7. Use of the ‘goat paddock’ established under 3 and 4 above for livestock grazing;
  8. Exclusion of feral goats by TGP fencing from an individual paddock with higher livestock production potential than the ‘goat paddock’ established for 3,4 and 6 above;

The analysis concluded that:

  • Opportunistic harvesting of feral goats is profitable for landholders in all districts and its profitability could be improved by additional capital investment aimed at maximising feral goat turnoff. Financial incentives for this investment would not be justified since it can be supported by the additional income generated.
  • Establishment of a goat paddock, with or without reduction in domestic livestock, is highly attractive in terms of both NPV and BCR and is well able to support the capital costs involved. In all districts establishment of a goat paddock with a corresponding reduction in domestic livestock returns the highest NPV.
  • Boundary fencing of properties with TGP fencing, to the extent permitted by local topography, returns negative NPV and BCR less than 1 in all districts if livestock increases are only equivalent to the feral goats removed. However, the additional increases in carrying capacity (within the fenced area) required to break even, or to return a NPV equal to the best feral goat harvesting scenario, are probably within the range achievable by improved grazing management practices.