Welcome to the April 2017 issue of the Red Meat Producers Organisation's Newsletter
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RPO welcomes strategic workshop

The national Red Meat Producers’ Organisation welcomes the strategic workshop for the red meat industry which recently took place in Pretoria and was impressed with the way all role players in the value chain was represented as well as the support that was given from government structures for this event.
As far as the way forward is concerned, it was resolved that in order for this plan to be successful, the crutch will be to make interventions with a statutory levy in the industry.

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Good rainfall can lead to a whole lot of problems

Run-away veld fires, parasites and stock theft were among the issues discussed at the last meeting of the Livestock Welfare Coordinating Committee.

Because it rained a lot during the summer season, winter run-away veld fires will definitely be a problem. Internal and external parasites are also a result of the good rains. The value of some animals had almost doubled and stock theft is an increasing problem. If producers do not brand their animals, the problem increases and welfare issues will worsen. 

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Operation PHAKISA can benefit Red Meat Industry

The national RPO welcomes Operation Phakisa, which was recently announced by President Jacob Zuma.
Operation Phakisa makes provision for a national livestock census and an animal identification and traceability system. They are looking at the need to strengthen meat exports, improve disease control mechanisms and ultimately ensure adherence to international trade protocols. This will be of great benefit to the red meat industry.
Public/private partnerships with business, organised labour and civil society will be seeked in the implementation of the initiatives identified by Operation Phakisa. In July 2017 the main stakeholders in the sector will sign agreements committing themselves to the implementation of these initiatives.
Operation Phakisa provides AFASA and all other organisations seeking the transformation of agriculture a platform to raise their issues so that they can be discussed and find expression in government policy and programmes.

Animal Health Forum convenes

The compulsory community veterinary service is one of the issues discussed during the last meeting of the National Animal Health Forum.
The first year of compulsory community service went off well and no complaints had been received thus far regarding the 2017 group.
One of the greatest benefits of the community service year is that vets are now being exposed to areas in the profession to which they would otherwise never have been exposed. Applications for 2018/2019 had already been made. 
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Positive outlook for mutton prices

Internationally, mutton prices may be supported as supplies in both New Zealand and Australia remain low, according to ABSA Agri Trends.
Locally, the outlook for lamb and mutton prices are positive, due to high meat prices and low feed costs supporting the industry. Easter demand may be positive for this product as it triggers more demand.
The New Zealand lamb prices were mostly sideways during the week of 28 March 2017 compared to the previous week. Lamb prices closed the same at NZ$79.9⁄head for 15kg lamb. Lamb prices were the same at NZ$111.8⁄head for 21kg lamb. Ewe prices closed sideways at NZ$69.3⁄head for a 21kg ewe.
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The likely impact of the 2015/2016 drought and lessons to learn
How serious was the drought? The authors referenced below quoted the South African Weather Service which indicated that 2015 was the driest year since rainfall recording commenced in 1904. The average national rainfall in 2015 was approximately 400 mm compared to the long term average of about 600 mm. From 2012 to 2015, below average rainfall was recorded for every year, which is only the third time since 1904 that below average rainfall was recorded in four or more consecutive years, the other two periods being 1930 to 1933 and 1944 to 1949. The 2015 drought was also accompanied by extreme heat and 2015 was the hottest year ever recorded. During the 2015/2016 summer season 12 heat waves, totalling 71 days were experienced.
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Mpumalanga rpo elects new management

During the Mpumalanga RPO meeting, Dr Theuns Laas has been elected as Chairman and Mr Leon Histermann as Vice-chairman, while Mr Neil Grabe and Koos Dafel has been elected as additional Executive Members.

MOU signed with China

The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr Senzeni Zokwana signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the entry and exit animal inspection and quarantine with Chinese Vice-minister LI Yuaping.
The MoU is anticipated to enhance South Africa's cooperation with China in the agricultural sector and to facilitate the sharing of expertise relating to the implementation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary (SPS) agreement. The two states will also collaborate on the prevention of animal disease and control.
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Feeder calves contract soon rolled out

According to the newsletter of the Red Meat Abattoir Association (RMAA), the long-awaited feeder calves contract will be rolled out in the first quarter of 2017 at the JSE.
Many market participants feel that this product will induce increased trading activity on the beef contract as these products are complementary and serve as cross hedges of each other. The lamb carcass contract will roll out early next year.
The RMAA initiated the price information system with a database of historical and current price information. The RMAA strives to create and maintain an information system containing relevant and historical data essential for planning and development purposes. The primary objective is to timeously release accurate and valid information to the benefit of the South African abattoirs industry.

What to do during a Red Water outbreak

Numerous reports were received of cattle dying due to Asiatic red water, according to the monthly report on livestock disease trends as informally reported by veterinarians belonging to the Ruminant Veterinary Association of South Africa (RuVASA), a group of the South African Veterinary Association
It is important to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to take blood smears to confirm the diagnosis and prevent further losses and to put preventative measures in place!
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International beef prices remains supported

Internationally, on-going limited supplies from Australia and New Zealand are currently supporting prices, according to ABSA Agri Trends.
Domestically, lower feed prices and less livestock available are causing prices to increase. The outlook for beef prices is positive for 2017 with higher beef prices, lower feed prices and favourable grazing conditions expected to benefit the industry.
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Lamb with some “glam” at the 2017 US Woordfees

“Wholesome and versatile, just the way nature intended”- this is the core message that Lamb and Mutton South Africa communicates regarding proudly South African produced lamb and mutton meat. There’s sheep meat for every taste in South Africa, whether it is a herbaceous piece of Karoo lamb or fragrant mutton meat. The diversity of South African lamb and mutton meat was showcased at this year’s Woordfees in Stellenbosh with a glamourous lamb and wine tasting, educating consumers on the influence of terroir on the taste of lamb.
The “Woordfees” is an arts, culture and lifestyle festival celebrating stories in the form of music, poetry, visual arts, the art of conversation and of course the art of cooking. The stories behind agriculture were well represented at this year’s Woordfees with live conversations on stage with some of the country’s “Mega Producers”.
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