Welcome to the March 2017 issue of the Red Meat Producers Organisation's Newsletter
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Relationships build with neighbours

Representatives of the national RPO, the Namibia Agricultural Union and the Livestock Producers' Organisation (LPO) recently conducted an exploratory meeting with the aim to build relationships and improve communication.

Exports were inter alia discussed. According to the LPO, the Namibian farmers are not favoured in terms of urgent exports.

The meeting agreed that the ideal would be to have protocols in place and to leave the market to do the rest. The Australian example does not necessarily work in Africa.

The RPO has been requested to help open markets and to apply free market principals to exports.

Other matters discussed include the drought, game farming, the South African classification system, import permits for livestock and traceability systems.

Remember to vaccinate against rift valley fever

The Directorate: Animal Health at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries would like to remind all livestock owners to vaccinate their cattle, sheep and goats against Rift Valley Fever (RVF).
RVF is a serious viral disease that is spread by mosquitoes and can cause abortions and death in cattle, sheep and goats. People can also become infected with RVF, which can be a serious disease in humans. Good rainfall, as we have recently experienced, will result in an increase in the number of mosquitoes which may transmit this disease.
One of the best ways to prevent the disease from developing in humans and animals is to vaccinate all cattle, sheep and goats against RVF using a registered vaccine. The vaccine has to be administered before the start of any RVF outbreak, as vaccination during an outbreak could cause further spread of the disease. Pregnant animals should only be vaccinated with the OBP inactive vaccine or OBP Clone 13 vaccine. All non-pregnant animals could be vaccinated with the OBP live RVF vaccine or with the OBP Clone 13 vaccine.  
For more information, please contact your local State Veterinarian.

Vaccines available at OBP

Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP) warns that the current wet conditions are very favourable for vector-borne diseases.

OBP anticipated these wet conditions and stock-piled vaccines against the most common vector-borne diseases. The following products are currently available at OBP: vaccines against Rift Valley fever, Three day stiff-sickness, Lump Skin Disease as well as Blue tongue.

Information days presented in the Northern Cape

The Northern Cape RPO and the NWGA will present a series of information days in the Northern Cape from 7 to 9 March 2017.

On 7 March the information day will be held in Fraserburg, on 8 March in Richmond and on 9 March in Griekwastad.  

The theme is “What is your excuse for not farming successful?” Dr Louis du Pisani, Prof Dirk Coetzee, Mr Herman Hugo, Mr Gerhard Schutte and Mr Alex Cilliers will also do presentations.

Contact Dirk Krapohl at 082 604 1320 or  053 832 9595 for more information and bookings or e-mail

Game meat industry to be regulated

South Africa’s multi-million-rand game meat industry will be subjected to the same regulations as other red meat soon.
New regulations will see the processing of game meat – such as venison, ostrich, bush pig and zebra – undergo the same inspections as red meat like beef and mutton. This will ensure safer and more hygienic practices. The inspections are expected to start soon.
While there is still much uncertainty around how the inspections will be implemented, meat producers and processors are generally in favour of the change.
Game SA chairman Mr Piet Neethling said laws and regulations regarding game concentrated a lot on hunting and transport, but there had never been any compulsory inspection of meat before it was sold to the public. “The new regulations mean game will have to undergo the same processes as other commercial red meats. This should mean more peace of mind for retailers and consumers, and the product should be considered safer.”
Source :

DAFF meets with China with prospects of exporting beef            

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) hosted a delegation from the general administration of quality supervision, inspection and quarantine (AQSIQ) of China to discuss cooperation in sanitary and phyto-sanitary matters and to further assess the possibility of exporting South African beef to China.  
Both parties agreed on mechanisms to strengthen the cooperation in sanitary and phyto-sanitary matters. Additionally, parties reviewed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on entry and exit animal inspection and quarantine and discussed veterinary measures relating to the export of South African beef to China.  

Precautionary measures to support bio-security

Precautionary measures are required to protect the herd against diseases acquired because of external contact, 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 categories are of concern :-
Read more ...


The history, value and relevance of the LSU system
Recently, I have been approached on several occasions to explain the meaning of the Large Stock Unit (LSU) and where it comes from. Initially I was surprised since the LSU is such an integral part of our estimations of grazing capacity and stocking rate, until I realized that a new generation farmers has taken over who have not grown up with the concept. The first publications were of course already published in 1983! In the last month or two I have written two articles in separate journals, but because of the interest I thought it appropriate to touch on the subject in the Newsletter as well.  
Read more ...
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National minimum wage announced

The Deputy President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, announced the long-anticipated national minimum wage. This comes after two years of negotiations at various levels, said Ramaphosa.
According to a press release by Agri SA a new national minimum wage, which will take effect on 1 May 2018, is based on an hourly rate of R20. The agricultural sector will initially have to pay 90% of the said wage, i.e. R18 per hour. The 2018 implementation date is now a year earlier than initially announced.
Read more ...

Updated manuals available

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has announced that the updated brucellosis and tuberculosis manuals that replace the 2013 interim versions are now available on the DAFF website.

Both manuals were edited to improve the quality thereof and no legislative or policy changes have been made.

The manuals are available at http://daf/

Cattle farmer of the year information day held

The National Cattle Farmer of the Year, Heinrich Bruwer’s Voermol farmer’s day will be presented on 23 March 2017 at his farm Lovedale near Vryburg.

Veld management is the nucleus of his enterprise and this has a direct impact on fertility, weaning weight and lick intake, which is a major expense in livestock farming. He makes use of a five camp system where one camp is rested for a period of one year. An embryo coil and implant facility has recently been erected on his farm and he enhances genetic progress by coiling embryos of the best genetics which is implanted into surrogate cows.

Various speakers from Voermol will be in action at the farmer’s day, as well as Mr Dawie Maree of FNB.

Contact Ms Amanda Bruwer at 082 979 4452 or Mr Gawie Coetzer at 082 774 3874 for more information and bookings.

Canada appropriated R60 million for vaccines

Shrinking state subsidies forces the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) to increasingly rely on external incomes to maintain its research projects.
According to Dr Shadrack Moephuli, Chief Executive of the ARC, forced budget cuts
had an enormous impact on the council’s work.
According to the council’s annual report, it is involved in various projects to develop
new vaccines that are appropriate for African conditions. ARC researchers are working
with researchers of the University of Alberta in Canada. They obtained financing of
R60 million from the Canadian International Development and Research Centre
(IDRC) and World Affairs Canada.
Read more ...

Spotlight on tenure agreements

For the sake of effective future enforcement, the following procedure should be adopted for the proper implementation of the tenure agreements, according to Agri SA :-
As a first step, it would be wise to read through the draft agreement to ensure that it is customised to address the varying needs of the owner and to prepare such an agreement as a draft. The agreements are drafted in simple and understandable language to address its purpose and there should not be any difficulties to adapt or customise same.
Read more ...

International supply of beef is tight

Internationally, tight Australian and New Zealand supplies may continue to support prices, according to ABSA Agri Trends.
Shortage of lean and extra lean grinding beef in the US will also add a bearish tone on prices. Domestically, the outlook for beef prices is positive for 2017 with beef prices showing good gains over the past couple of weeks.
New Zealand steers traded sideways over the week of 14 February at 5.21NZ$⁄kg and cows traded sideways at 3.92NZ$⁄kg compared to a week ago. In the US, beef prices for the week were mostly lower as follows: top side trade 1.28% lower at $202,53⁄cwt. Rump was 1.60% higher at $281.53⁄cwt and strip loin was 2.63% lower at $519.85⁄cwt. Chuck traded 0.19% higher at $237,46⁄cwt. brisket traded 3.20% lower at $199,27⁄cwt. The carcass equivalent price was 1.61% lower at $278.14⁄cwt.
Read more ...

International demand for mutton remains strong

Internationally, demand remains strong all over the globe which supports prices. Prices may also be supported as they start to respond to supply shortages, according to ABSA Agri Trends.
Local prices remain supported due to favourable weather conditions which support herd rebuilding.
The New Zealand lamb prices were higher during the week of 14 February compared to the previous week. Lamb prices closed higher at NZ$78.0⁄head for 15kg lamb. Lamb prices were sideways at NZ$109.2⁄head for 21kg lamb. Ewe prices closed sideways at NZ$65.1⁄head for a 21kg ewe. The import parity price for lamb was 1.07% lower at R56.65⁄kg while the import parity price for mutton was 0.74% lower at R37.92⁄kg.
Read more ...
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