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‘First kill’ at new abattoir servicing Broken Hill region due in weeks

Goat processing in western New South Wales is on track to significantly expand when the Bourke abattoir opens its doors on September 13.

The abattoir, which first opened in January 2019, was marred with supply disruptions as a result of the drought and consequently closed in May the same year.

Thomas Foods International (TFI), who purchased the abattoir at the end of 2021 for an undisclosed amount, plans to process small stock, in particular rangeland goats, for the domestic and overseas markets.

Since the abattoir’s take over by TFI, significant upgrades have been made, turning the once doomed facility to a state-of-the art small stock abattoir, designed for the production of skin-on and skin-off goats, sheep and lambs.

TFI small stock manager Paul Leonard said the company is ‘pretty excited’ about their first kill due to take place on 13th September.

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The company expected it would take up to eight weeks of trial kills to get its US license and roll into full production.

Mr Leonard said, “the market for goats is very encouraging with strong supply and high customer demand, particularly across the United States.

“Initially we plan to process approximately 2500 to 3000 sheep and goats per day but look to increase that soon.”

At capacity the facility will be able to process 6000 head. It will help to keep up with supply demand from the western regions of NSW and Queensland. Its closest neighbour, the Charleville abattoir in Queensland some 450kms north of Bourke, has recently undergone an expansion to increase capacity from 15,000 per week to 22,000. Like Bourke, that facility, owned by Western Meat Exporters, primarily processes goats, with some sheep and lambs.

Combined, the two abattoirs could open up a more profitable avenue for the region’s goat producers and buyers.

Rangeland goats have become a key source of farm income for many parts of Western NSW. The local herds had been recovering following the drought, and the population is expected to increase as weather conditions improved.

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