Welcome to the February 2019 issue of the Red Meat Producers Organisation Newsletter
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Negotiations with trade partners kick off

The Directorate of Animal Health has begun the process of negotiation with trade partners on the export of products derived from cloven-hoofed animals which are regarded as safe from foot and mouth disease (FMD). 

Letters have been sent to Angola, Bahrain, Brazil, Botswana, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, Lesotho, Jordan, Kuwait, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Oman, Qatar, Swaziland, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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FMD: bad time for the industry

The recent foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in Limpopo comes at a very bad time for the red meat industry.
The industry is also suffering from a country-wide drought. Feed and maize prices have escalated and the consumer’s purchasing power is under pressure. This is in the midst of a herd rebuilding phase after the 2016 drought. All these factors put the producers’ cash flow and financial survival under pressure. It represents a challenge to the mission of the RPO which is based on the facilitation of a competitive and sustainable red meat environment for the producer.
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Predators have a great time on farms

The occurrence and numbers of predators, especially coyotes/jackal and caracal, on farms in the central Karoo are not affected by stock farmers’ measures to contain them, was the surprising result of research conducted for a doctor’s degree.
Marine Drouilly of France completed her studies at the University of Cape Town and from 2012 until 2015 conducted research on 160 000 ha in the central Karoo.
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CCTV cameras to be compulsory in Scottish abattoirs

Abattoirs will need to install CCTV cameras in all areas where there are live animals under new laws to be introduced by the Scottish government.

The move is aimed at ensuring there are the "highest standards of animal welfare" in all abattoirs, the government said. It has pledged to bring forward legislation later in the year.

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Livestock owners warned of stock theft scam

The SAPS stock theft unit in KwaZulu-Natal has issued an alert to livestock owners to be aware of the latest scam used by criminals.

According to police, the latest modus operandi entails thieves posing as Stock Theft Unit officers, informing owners that they have recovered their stolen livestock in another province. They are requested to deposit an amount of cash – up to R2 000 – so that their livestock can be transported back home.  

Police are cautioning livestock owners not to fall prey to this scam and to contact them immediately if they are contacted by fraudsters. All stock theft victims are advised to maintain contact with their investigating officers as soon as they have opened cases.Source :

Turkey suspends live exports of cattle

The news that Turkey has suspended live exports of cattle is described as "a further setback for Irish beef farmers."

Live exports are a very important part of the Irish beef sector and it will be a huge loss to farmers bringing cattle to market. 

During 1 January to 1 December 2018 live exports totalled 235 000 head of cattle, up 32% from 179 000 for the same period in 2017.

 This change was driven by a significant increase in exports to other EU countries. Exports to third countries decreased in 2018 – due in part to currency fluctuations in the Turkish Lira. Nevertheless, nearly 13 000 head of cattle were exported to Turkey to date this year.

Source :


Antimicrobials (antibiotics) are widely used for disease prevention and growth promotion in food animals.

ore antimicrobials are used in food animals than in humans and a significant fraction of them is antimicrobials that are important in the treatment of common human infections and also necessary to aid in major surgeries, organ transplantation and chemotherapy. This widespread use of antimicrobials in livestock contributes, by means of natural selection, to the emergence of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria (ARBs) which has significant public health implications. The ARBs of animal origin can be transmitted to humans through the environment and food products to agricultural workers and others by direct contact.
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February 2019

Available products at OBP

Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP) has the following products in stock:
Anaplasmosis (gall sickness), anthrax, black quarter, blue tongue, bot/black quarter, bottullism, B-phemeral, brucella REV, brucella S19, brucella CFT antigen, brucella STD serum, calf paratyphoid  INACT, Coryne, e.coli, gas gangrene, heartwater, leukopast, leukopast 3, lumpy skin disease, pasteurella cattle, pulp kidney, pyogenes, redwater Africa, redwater Asiatic, Rift Valley fever inactive, Rift Valley Fever live, speticum, swelled head, Tetatanus, Tuberculin Bovine and Wesselsbron.

Weaner calf prices drop with 20% within one month

Weaner calf prices dropped with 20% within one month, with inter alia the foot and mouth disease outbreak resulting in more uncertainty in the market.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the industry appointed task teams to convince South Africa’s trade partners not to suspend imports of red meats from South Africa.
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No sheep exports to Middle East over summer

The Australian Livestock Exporters' Council (ALEC) has announced that no sheep will be exported from Australia to the Middle East over the Northern Hemisphere summer.

The moratorium, to take effect from 1 June 2019, will mean no shipments of Australian sheep will depart any Australian port for the Middle East during the highest heat stress risk period of the northern summer, a statement said.

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McDonald’s wants to reduce antibiotics use in beef production

International fast food company, McDonald’s, recently announced plans to work more closely with its beef suppliers worldwide in an effort to decrease the use of antibiotics in livestock production by the end of 2020.
According to media reports, McDonald’s was partnering with beef producers in its top ten beef sourcing markets: Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Ireland, Poland, the UK, Canada, the US and Brazil, in an effort to better understand the current usage of antibiotics across the beef supply chain
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Brucellosis: still a long way to go

Although the industry have made positive steps in controlling Bovine brucellosis, the model disease stated in the Veterinary Strategy, the country is far from achieving its goal, according to the Brucellosis Steering Committee of the national Animal Health Forum.
Dr Trudie Prinsloo, a veterinarian and legal advisor, has compiled legal aspects regarding brucellosis control and it is very important that all farmers avail themselves with the content of this document.

It is important to remember that the Act aims at protecting the national herd, as well as humans against serious diseases such as brucellosis.
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Lower trend in beef prices should continue

Beef prices traded lower during the week of 18 January 2019 and indications are that the trend may continue in the short term until the price of yellow maize are fully factored into higher animal feed prices, according to ABSA Agri Trends.

Both beef carcass and weaner prices will continue to trade lower. To regain our foot-and-mouth disease free zone status may take up to a year.

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Strong sheep prices expected for 2019

Internationally, the strong global demand for sheep meat and limited supply availability are expected to support strong prices through 2019, according to ABSA Agri Trends.
Locally, sheep meat prices may follow the lower beef prices into next week.
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