Welcome to the May 2019 issue of the Red Meat Producers Organisation Newsletter
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FMD has successfully been contained

There have been no new cases of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) detected in the disease management area declared in Limpopo in the last ten weeks and thus, three incubation periods have lapsed.
Intensive surveillance demonstrated that the FMD virus did not spread and that the outbreak has been contained, according to a statement by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
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Research and development programme developed

RMRD SA research and development programme for the November 2020 and onwards levy period was developed.

A workshop was held in 2018 to develop new research programmes which were followed up with a co-ordination session in January 2019, where it was decided to add an additional programme with the title “Commercialisation of the emerging sector”. It contains the following: 
  • Sustainable natural resource utilisation
Elements include sustainable natural resource management; veld monitoring and management; ecosystem sustainability (decision support systems); environmental protection; restoring the value of grasslands/rangelands and livestock and forage genetic resources.
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Namibia enters Chinese market

Namibia became the first African nation to export beef to China, when it recently transported the first 21 tonnes of beef to China the world’s largest consumer market.
China could be an important market for Namibia as it imports 6.5 million tonnes of beef, 250,000 tonnes of mutton, 2.3 million tonnes of pork and 1.7 million tonnes of chicken per annum.
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Proposed new EU rule to ban use of veggie ‘burger’

Agriculture lawmakers in the EU voted recently to push for new definitions for meat products in upcoming negotiations with the European Commission and EU government to reform the EU’s 59-billion- euro-a-year (about R937 billion) farm policy.

  According to a statement by European Parliament’s agricultural committee, members were campaigning to pass a law ensuring that meat-related words such as steak, sausage, escalope, burger and hamburger could only be used for meat products.

The proposed law would seek to ensure that labels on food packaging, promotional material, or in marketing of food items that were “primarily made up of proteins of vegetable origin” could not use the meat-based terms.

 The term “veggie disk” had been proposed as an alternative name for the famous veggie burger.

Look of for parasitism

Several cases of internal and external parasites were reported after the rainfall in the last part of summer, according to the RuVASA (Ruminant Veterinary Association of South Africa) disease report for March 2019.
A summary of the most important diseases and conditions that were reported during March was:
Internal parasites:
Late summer rains were recorded in many parts of South Africa. Moisture and temperature above 15 degree Celsius play a major role in the hatching of roundworm eggs and the development into the third infective stage larvae on the grazing.
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Can soil health be regarded as an asset?

The economic benefits of restoring natural capital have been well known. Also, the economic value of ecosystem goods and services, when taking a natural capital accounting approach, often far exceeds the usually accepted value of natural capital. Yet, despite the obvious value in restoring and maintaining natural capital, the world is facing a crisis with respect to environmental breakdown. This crisis, in part, is due to poor connection between the members of society (farmers mostly) who are responsible for, and thus bearing the cost of land management, and society at large (including financial institutions and companies down the value chain) that benefit from good land management. 
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Meet our latest "Lambassador"

Lamb and Mutton SA likes to work with different social media personalities, also referred to as "Influencers". These are individuals who have a large group of loyal followers on social media. This month we work with “Aniseeds” on the popular social media platform, Instagram,  as well as in Pick n Pay's food magazine Kook en Kuier / Fresh Living. “Aniseeds” boasts with nearly 30,000 followers and she posts a new recipe or two every day. She loves lamb and her family farms with sheep in the karoo. “Aniseeds” developed some delicious lamb recipes for Lamb and Mutton SA this month.She will be sharing them with her followers and it will also be available on our website:
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May 2019

Fifty-year-old semen still works

In 1968 Dr Steven Salamon freezed some sperm samples from one of his sheep in liquid nitrogen.

This year, researchers at the University of Sydney used those sperm samples to impregnate Merino sheep — 50 years after the sperm samples were frozen. And, incredibly, the sperm showed just about the same level of viability as sperm frozen for only 12 months. A whopping 34 of 56 inseminated ewes gave birth to lambs from this half-century-old sperm.

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Genetic breakthrough on tropical grass could help develop climate-friendly cattle farms


Cattle are a mainstay for many smallholders but their farms are often on degraded lands, which increases cattle's impact on the environment and lower their production of milk and meat.

Researchers at the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) have shown that Brachiaria grass species can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cattle and increase productivity - and breeding improved varieties can potentially augment the environmental and economic benefits.

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Proposed prevention measures for wet carcass syndrome 

The Agricultural Research Council’s animal production division’s research on wet carcass syndrome indicated that it probably is of genetic origin.
It appears that animals carrying the genetic defect show the syndrome under certain stress conditions. It is suspected that the calcium ione canal of affected animals does not close comprehensively in the cell wall which means that fluids leak and this causes wet carcass syndrome. The proposed prevention measures must be regarded as temporary until the current research is completed. There is also no guarantee that it will prevent wet carcass syndrome completely.
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Offal, the fifth quarter!

Sheep and Mutton SA will launch an offal series in cooperation with Africa Day in May. It will include a live demonstration on the Espresso Morning Show on SABC 3 by "Lambassador" chef Naledi. 
The Lazy Makoti
There will also be an Instagram video series in May with "The Lazy Makoti". Her recipe book is currently the number one recipe book seller in South Africa (and one of the top five books in the country). She has more than 90 000 followers on Instagram.
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Beef market trends

Local Class A beef prices are expected to remain fairly stable until the end of May and from there the prices are expected to start declining as the demand for Class C beef increase, according to ABSA Agri Trends.
The strengthening of the Rand as well as increased prices in the international markets may support domestic beef prices.
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Sheep meat market trends

Class C prices are expected to start trending upwards as winter approaches, however prices may experience a dip in May in line with seasonal trends according to ABSA Agri Trends.
Class A prices are expected to remain fairly stable in the coming months with minimal price movements.
International sheep meat market
Lamb and ewe prices in New Zealand increased week-on-week during the week of 18 April 2019 while import parity for each declined compared to last week. With regards to specific cuts - rib prices are down by 5.4% week-on-week and shoulder were not traded this week. New Zealand lamb average hot carcass weights are currently at a ten-year high of 18.73kg. Current lamb production is at higher levels than last year due to a similar number of animals slaughtered but at a higher carcass weights. However, poor feed quality in some areas may result in a decline of carcass weights in the coming months.
Local sheep meat market
The local market traded negatively this week with a decline in class A and feeder lamb prices; while class C prices remained the same as last week. All prices are lower than levels achieved this time last year with feeder lambs showing the largest decline of 14.5% down year-on-year. The number of animals slaughtered increased this week and is 20.4% higher than a month ago.
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