Welcome to the December 2018 issue of the Red Meat Producers Organisation's Newsletter
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Stock Theft: Time to do your bit

The National Stock Theft Prevention Forum requests that all role players in the red meat industry urgently play an active role in stock theft prevention and urge the general public for their assistance. 
The National Stock Theft Prevention Forum (NSTPF) recently had its meeting to discuss the challenges facing the criminal justice system and all role players regarding livestock theft in South Africa. 
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Federation in favour of safeguard levy

The Federation of South African Red Meat Producers at its meeting was unanimous that it does not agree with a press release by the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AIME) on the latest Gazetted agricultural safeguard levy of 35,3% imposed on bone-in chicken cuts.
According to AIME, Europe sees the safeguard as a considerable blow to the preferential nature of their trade relations with South Africa, the costly effect of which will extend to the already cash-strapped South African consumer.
AIME is of the opinion that the local poultry sector is highly profitable and does not need protection.
The Federation supports the safeguard levy.
The Federation also expressed its satisfaction with the proposed draft regulation on certain red meat products in terms of the Agricultural Product Standards Act, 1990.

Research projects completed

A list of the completed research and development projects of Red Meat Research and Development SA was submitted to the South African Federation of Red Meat Producers.
Projects which have been completed in 2018 are the following:
  • Effects of chilling and electrical stimulation on carcass and meat quality attributes of selected breeds of cattle with different carcass weights.
  • Pre-slaughter stress, animal-related factors, stress biomarkers, nanostructure and technological properties of beef.
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Drought aid still critically needed

The drought conditions in many parts of South Africa are still having a severe impact on the sustainability of many farms. Farmers in the Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Limpopo are still under threat by the continuous drought.
Agri SA again appeals to South Africans to contribute to Agri SA's drought disaster fund in any way. Contributions have ranged from feed, diesel, trucks and financial donations and remain welcome. Since 2015, thousands of farmers and farm workers have benefitted from the fund. Agri SA is thankful – these communities need all the help we can give.
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Economic overview released

Consumers are expected to become increasingly poor as South Africa’s economy continues to grow at a sluggish pace, while consumer price inflation increases, according to ABSA Agribusiness’ 2018 spring outlook.
The M3 money supply, which includes cash and credit, is set to increase. This indicates that consumer debt levels are increasing. GDP (gross domestic product) growth is expected to decline in 2019 to 1,2%, compared with the expected growth of 1,7% in 2018. However, it is expected to increase in 2020 and 2021 to 2,1% and 2,2% respectively.  Food inflation is anticipated to range between 4,7% and 5,6% in 2020, well above the expected GDP growth.
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One of the distinct features of Southern African rainfall is its highly variable nature, which makes it very difficult for farmers to plan, according to ABSA Agribusiness’ 2018 spring outlook.
Moreover, the sequence of consecutive drier and wetter seasons is also problematic, with below average rainfall for five or more consecutive years, especially in drier provinces, not uncommon. This can have devastating effects on farming activities and financial sustainability.
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Global mutton market dominated by China

China is the world’s largest producer, consumer and importer of sheep meat, according to ABSA Agribusiness’ 2018 spring outlook.
The export market is very concentrated, and currently dominated by Australia and New Zealand, which are also the second- and third-largest sheep producers in the world. Production in these two countries declined marginally in 2017. During the 2017/18 season, increased sheep turn-off as a result of poor weather resulted in an increase of sheep meat production in Australia, with the drier conditions leading to a higher slaughter rate.
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Are all the arguments against livestock justifiable?
Worldwide, many debates about the future of livestock farming concentrate only on its negative impacts without considering the positives. These discussions focus on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, use of resources and land, industrialisation of systems, deforestation etc. Also, people are worried about animal welfare and ethics, and in the most extreme cases, some even refuse both the slaughter and exploitation of animals. According to these activist groups, livestock farming should be abolished for a better world and a more environmentally friendly agriculture.
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Auctions for December 2018

Callicrate bander to castrate adult bulls condemned

The use of the callicrate bander in South Africa to castrate grown bulls is not approved and the Livestock Welfare Coordination Committee (LWCC) urges that its use is not advertised, encouraged or published, except for the purpose of discouraging or preventing its use.
The use of the callicrate bander has its origins in the US may be advocated for use in South Africa, the LWCC said in a press release.
The LWCC, a broad-based organisation with representation from all the significant stakeholders in the livestock industry, have obtained expert opinion both in the US and locally and have come to the conclusion that its use cannot be approved in view of the pain caused and associated risks. The LWCC can only accept castration that is not accompanied by anaesthesia in calves.  Adult bulls should not be castrated except as a surgical procedure under anaesthesia carried out by a veterinarian.
Those who advocate, publicise or advertise the callicrate bander may render themselves liable to prosecution for encouraging the use of a method of castration in cattle that has been condemned by the LWCC.

AGRI SA blasts recommendation to amend constitution

Agri SA rolled out the next phase of its tactical plan against expropriation without compensation (EWC).
The recommendation of the Constitutional Review Committee on the amendment of section 25 is diametrically opposed to the crucial goals of protection of property, economic stability, job creation, investor confidence and sustainable agrarian reform.
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Meat-eaters healthier

Vegetarians are less healthy than meat-eaters, a controversial study has concluded, despite drinking less, smoking less and being more physically active than their carnivorous counterparts.
A study conducted by the Medical University of Graz in Austria found that the vegetarian diet, as characterised by a low consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol due to a higher intake of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products, appeared to carry elevated risks of cancer, allergies and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
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US cattle producers encouraged to adopt traceability systems

Cattle producers who fail to adopt a traceability system eventually may have difficulty selling their product, a veterinarian in the US warned.

Dr Christine Navarre said the traceability requirement is needed to help control a disease outbreak and because consumers want to know the source of their food. “It’s going to be mandated by the market if you want to sell. You’ll have to do it because the public demands it.”

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Brucellosis is a threat to the red meat industry

Bovine brucellosis has been identified as the single biggest threat to the red meat industry, apart from foot-and-mouth disease. The disease is especially dangerous because it is a zoonosis, which means that humans can also be infected.
Because brucellosis causes abortions in heifers, it has the most severe impact on calf percentage and the efficiency of the red meat industry and all cattle producers should play their part to eradicate it.
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Global beef production should grow

Global beef and veal production is expected to grow marginally in 2018, mainly due to increased production in Brazil, the US, and Argentina, according to ABSA Agribusiness’ 2018 spring outlook.
Production growth in Brazil is driven by higher carcass weights, stronger domestic demand, and record exports.  
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Local beef prices may recover

Internationally, seasonally easing demand for beef in the US can weigh on the market, according to ABSA Agri Trends

Locally, prices were weak during the week of 23 November due to subdued demand during mid-month. Meanwhile, prices may recover in line with seasonal trends, as there is normally improved demand during this period and into the festive season.

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International mutton prices to remain strong in 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, even though prices have struggled to increase over the past weeks, sheep meat prices are expected to recover in the short term in line with seasonal trends and improved demand.
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