Welcome to the November 2018 issue of the Red Meat Producers Organisation's Newsletter
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RPO CEO honoured

The Livestock Registering Federation awarded Gerhard Schutte, Chief Executive Officer of the national RPO with an exceptional achievement certificate during the recent Aldam Stockman’s School.

He received the award in recognition of his continuous service to the stud industry and leader in genetic advancement to the benefit of the stud industry as well as the commercial red meat industry.

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Lessons from Namibia

The Namibian approach to land transformation was during the recent Aldam Stockman’s School outlined by Ryno van der Merwe, a Namibian farmer.
He said after independence the political environment in Namibia changed dramatically. The Namibian farmers accepted that the ballgame had changed and decided to adapt to the new rules. They have learned that if you want to change the result, you don’t change the goal, you change the approach.
The political sentiments of the ruling parties in Southern Africa are to correct the unjust past and to eradicate inequalities. Land reform is part of the process.
According to Van der Merwe it is very important to have access to the policy makers (government), to have good relationships with them and to establish an environment of trust. A process of consultation and negotiation must be in place and the agricultural sector must make pro-active contributions. Therefore, the role and function of organised agriculture is more important than ever before.

Census on agriculture conducted

Stats SA signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), according to which DAFF is to develop a Farmers’ Register, with special focus on small-holder farmers.
The general objective of the census of commercial agriculture is to collect basic quantitative information on South Africa’s commercial agriculture that is essential for planning, policy formulation, food security, etc.
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Meat tax might be needed to save the world?

Western countries like New Zealand need to cut their beef and pork consumption by 90% if humanity is to survive the next century, according to scientists. And they say a meat tax might be the best way to achieve it.
According to a new study, by 2050 the environmental costs of present-day food production will almost double, as the earth's population rockets to 10 billion and more of the world is lifted out of poverty and switch to meat-rich diets.
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Bovine brucellosis control should continuously be on the mind of every cattle and game farmer!

The monthly report on livestock disease trends as informally reported by veterinarians belonging to the Ruminant Veterinary Association of South Africa (RuVASA) urges livestock farmers to get involved in controlling Bovine Brucellosis.
Livestock farmers must test their cattle for brucellosis because of the following reasons:
  • Brucellosis is a herd disease – this means if you even have a single infected animal, it affects the status of your whole herd! An infected cow will rapidly infect the rest of your herd if not identified and slaughtered before calving.
  • Brucellosis causes reproduction and production losses in affected herds, which decreases financial turnover.
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Good rains means an increase in insects and ticks

Farmers are looking forward to a prosperous spring and summer season. With good rainfall comes an increase in insect and tick populations, according to the monthly report on livestock disease trends as informally reported by veterinarians belonging to the Ruminant Veterinary Association of South Africa (RuVASA).
Midges, mosquitoes, biting flies and ticks transmit diseases and farmers should have vaccinated their animals against these diseases. Examples of these diseases are:
  • Insect transmitted diseases: Blue tongue, Rift Valley Fever, Lumpy skin disease, Ephemeral fever (Three-day-stiff-sickness), Nagana, Anaplasmosis and African horse sickness.
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Tick resistance and spread as influenced by various factors.
Ticks are one of the leading causes of diseases of veterinary importance to the livestock industry. Ticks and tick-borne diseases affect 80% of the world cattle population, particularly in tropical and subtropical countries with an estimated annual loss of US$22–30 billion. Four groups of tick-borne diseases that pose major constraints to cattle production are heartwater, gall sickness, redwater and theileriosis. Ticks affect domestic animals directly with symptoms such as anaemia, restlessness, dermatosis, toxicosis, paralysis, loss of condition and decrease in milk production.
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Auctions for November 2018

Property clause must stay

Agri SA is firm in its view that the property clause in the Constitution is not an impediment to land reform,” said Dan Kriek, Chairman of Agri SA at the recent Aldam Stockman’s School.
He said the real reason for the slow pace of land reform relate primarily to deficiencies and inefficiencies in planning, execution and sustainable support, which must be urgently addressed. These reasons do not justify an amendment to section 25 of the Constitution.
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Important vaccines now available

Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP) announced that the Brucella S19 vaccine has been packaged and is available.
More than 10 000 units of the inactivated Rift Valley Fever vaccine have been approved for packaging and are also available.

Impacts of global warming

The intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways.
Dr Heinz Meissner said on behalf of the RPO that in line with the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) mitigation goals set in the National Development Plan, Agriculture in general and the RPO specifically have committed to set realistic targets to reduce GHG emissions substantially by 2025 to 2030. This commitment is in the RPO-NERPO Code of Best Practice, which also provides guidelines to farmers of how to reduce GHG emissions.
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Leather outlook more positive

After describing the continuation of the problems in the hide and leather supply chain (too much raw material, not enough demand for finished leather), the latest Leather Pipeline market intelligence report strikes a faint note of optimism.
“As bad as it may be at the moment,” it says, “and as grim as the outlook for the short term may be, we continue to believe that there is a fair chance of recovery some time in 2019. It would need very little and only a bit of creativity to bring leather back to the attention of the consumer. We are just lacking the organisation or the individuals devoted to this, which is what could trigger a turnaround.”

Mad cow disease in Scotland

An isolated case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (mad cow disease) was recently diagnosed on a farm in Huntly, Scotland.

The case is the first in Scotland since 2008 and mad cow disease was last found in the UK in 2015, when a dead cow in Wales was found to have had it. 

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International beef prices under pressure

Internationally, total protein inventories remain large, which continues to weigh on the beef market, according to ABSA Agri Trends.
Locally, prices are expected to follow an upward trend due to an improvement in demand during the warmer months, but pressure on consumers may limit the increases.
New Zealand steers traded 2.04% lower over the week of 12 October at 5.77NZ$/kg and cows traded 1.16% lower at 4.27NZ$/kg compared to the previous week.
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Positive lamb market outlook

Internationally, steady demand from China and restricted lamb supply out of Australia are supporting the lamb market outlook, according to ABSA Agri Trends.
Locally, prices remain under pressure due to subdued demand during mid-month.
New Zealand lamb and mutton prices traded mixed during the week of 12 October compared to the previous week. Lamb prices were 0.6% lower at NZ$8.25/kg. Ewe prices traded sideways at NZ$5.10/kg.
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