Marketing Goats at the New Holland Sale Barn
(2002/2003 Interim Marketing Coordinator, Northeast Sheep and Goat Marketing Program at Cornell University)
Chris Parsons and Susan Schoenian of the Northeast Sheep and Goat Marketing Program had the experience of selling a group of goats through the New Holland Sales Stables, in New Holland, PA on 7 October 2002. The goats were from another Cornell University project, "Goats in the Woods". These animals were in market condition with body condition scores averaging 2.25 to 2.5 (on a range from 1 to 5) and included both Boer crosses and dairy goats.
The purpose of the trip was to market the goats. In the process we were able to document the shrink of the goats on the 245-mile trip and to request that the goats be sold by the pound. This provided first-hand experience about the feasibility of lamb and goat producers using this major regional market.
Each goat was weighed as it was put on the truck. Weighing started at 3:30 pm on Sunday 6 October 2002 and was completed by 4:30 pm when Chris Parsons started driving the truck to New Holland. The goats were unloaded at New Holland at 10:30 pm and there was a $0.25 charge per animal for hay and water over night.
Susan Schoenian met Chris at the auction barn the next morning. The auction started at 9 am and the goats sold at 11 am, 19 hours after they were loaded the previous day. Although the sales manager has been resistant to selling goats by the pound, he agreed to sell the goats from the "Goats in the Woods" project by the pound.
The 42 animals weighed a total of 2527 pounds for an average starting weight of 60 pounds per head. The total sale weight was 2283 pounds for a loss of 244 pounds or a 9.6% shrink. Thus the average selling weight was 54.4 pounds. The average price paid was $0.91 per pound or $49.50 per head. Fuel ($81.00), tolls ($6.80), and meals for the driver ($18) made the trucking cost $105.80 or $2.52 per goat. The sales commission per animal was $4.00 for total sales cost of $6.52 per goat. Thus, the net return on the New Holland sale weight was $42.98 per head or $0.79 per pound. The net return per pound of starting weight was $0.72 per pound. If the animals could have been sold from the farm for $0.91 per pound or $54.60 per head, then the difference in price would have been $11.62 or 21% higher. Recognizing that there are significant costs associated with on-farm marketing, the information gathered on this marketing trip to New Holland can be used to evaluate whether marketing from the farm makes economic sense.