Welcome to the July 2017 issue of the Red Meat Producers Organisation's Newsletter
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Chairman re-elected at Animal Health Forum

Dr Pieter Vervoort and Dr Charlotte Nkuna were re-elected as chairman and vicechairman
of the National Animal Health Forum (NAHF) during its recent annual general meeting.

In his chairman’s report, Dr Vervoort said the NAHF continues to support the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) in implementing the national veterinary strategy. Bovine Brucellosis being the “model disease” has received much attention with the continued guidance of the Brucellosis Steering Committee.
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Heartwater situation is concerning

The incidence of Heartwater was discussed during the latest meeting between representatives of the National Animal Health Forum and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Heartwater is becoming more evident in the Eastern Cape, specifically in sheep and goats and the spread is by way of tics through wildlife. It started with the Angora goat breeders, but it has now spread to different breeds and sheep additionally. The blood vaccine is available, but the culture vaccine is still in the process to be manufactured.
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US ban Brazilian meat imports

The United States has suspended Brazilian meat imports over "recurring concerns about the safety of products intended for the American market".
Several countries banned Brazilian meat in March, when prosecutors said health inspectors there had been taking bribes to approve sub-standard meat. The US didn't impose a ban then; instead, it introduced checks on all of Brazil's meat shipments.
It says now a significant proportion of Brazilian meat failed safety tests.
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Not all animal were vaccinated

Looking back at disease outbreaks during the spring, summer and autumn of 2017, it was quite apparent that not all farmers vaccinated their animals against insect and tick transmitted diseases, 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.
The following diseases could have been prevented if animals were vaccinated before the summer rainy season commenced: lumpy skin disease, three day stiff sickness (ephemeral fever), blue tongue, African and Asiatic red water and African horse sickness. Vaccines are cheap in comparison to the cost of treatment and fatalities that occurred.
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How to select for resistance against wireworm

It is possible to select for sheep and goats resistant or resilient to wireworm in the summer rainfall area.
The following is keys:
BCS = Body condition score
FEC =Faecal egg count
TST = Target Selected Treatment
Target group: Stud breeders and group breeding schemes – selection for resistance
  • Do normal worm management during the period until weaning
  • Optional: Individual FEC’s can be done on ram lambs before their first treatments – low egg counts will select for innate resistant rams.
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Can bluetongue virus survive the winter?
Certain viruses can overwinter in insect vectors. With bluetongue virus though the possible over-wintering vector is unknown; one possibility is overwintering in adult Culicoides midges which can survive mild winters where temperatures seldom drop below 10oC. The reduced activity of midges and the absence of outbreaks during winter may create the impression that the virus has disappeared from the area. To investigate whether Culicoides midges are indeed a major vector and to understand the mechanism of possible overwintering of the bluetongue virus, the authors of the study referenced below embarked on a comprehensive study.
In the study they used light traps in close association with horses to collect the midges. More than 500 000 were collected from 88 collections and sorted to species level, revealing 26 different Culicoides species.
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Avian influenza breaks out in SA

A single outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza of the H5N8 type has been isolated on a farm near Villiers.

According to the South African Poultry Association, this strain of the virus has its origins in Europe and has been infecting European poultry for more than a year.

In May, it was isolated in Zimbabwe. The disease is spread primarily by water fowl that carry the disease in the highly pathogenic form, the Association said.

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Indian ban on slaughter may be revoked

The Indian government may rethink a new rule banning cattle trade for slaughter after the issue snowballed into a national controversy, prompting anger from state governments and at least one high court hearing petitions against the rule.
In a notification announced recently, the government said cows and buffaloes cannot be sold for slaughter at animal markets across India, allowing only farmland owners to trade at animal markets.    
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Investigation by competition commission: the RPO's view

The RPO has taken note of an investigation of price fixing by the Competition Commission on different meat companies in three provinces.
The RPO clearly states and are on record that the organisation did not initiate or requested this investigation.
The RPO is of the opinion that one of the most important pillars of the red meat industry is free market principles. This must be protected at all costs.
The RPO supports any investigation that will ensure free market principles and therefore supports any investigation to this effect.

RuVASA congress held

The RuVASA (Ruminant Veterinary Association of South Africa) 2017 Congress was recently held in Gauteng.
The Congress serves to provide RuVASA members with quality continuing professional development and promote collaboration between veterinarians, industry and producer organisations.
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Beef prices remains supported

Internationally, strong consumer demand for beef on the global market and less supplies in the major exporting countries of New Zealand and Australia may support prices. Domestically, high demand is currently supporting prices in the market, according to ABSA Agri Trends.
New Zealand steers traded sideways over the week of 15 July 2017 at 5.66NZ$⁄kg and cows traded 0.47$% higher at 4.31NZ$⁄kg compared to a week ago. In the US, beef prices for the week were mostly higher as follows: topside traded 7.03% higher at $251.85⁄cwt. Rump was 0.55% higher at $363.53⁄cwt and strip loin was 4.61% higher at $816.97⁄cwt. Chuck traded 3.75% higher at $232.83⁄cwt. 
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Mutton market is strong

Internationally, while currency factors will play a large role in price direction going forward, global lamb markets continue with the positive trend due to good demand. Locally, lamb and mutton prices are strong, supported by good demand, according to ABSA Agri Trends.
New Zealand lamb prices traded mostly higher during the week of 15 June 2017 compared to the previous week. Lamb prices closed 0.8% higher at NZ$96.4⁄head for 15kg lamb. Lamb prices were 0.75% higher at NZ$134.9⁄head for 21kg lamb. Ewe prices traded 1.1% higher at NZ$86.1⁄head for a 21kg ewe. The import parity price for lamb was 2.91% higher at R66.35⁄kg, while the import parity price for mutton was 3.06% higher at R46.13⁄kg.
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