Cattle marketing takes a 10% dip

by Deon Schlechter

Cattle marketing takes a 10% dip

Windhoek

A total of 144 859 cattle was marketed between January and May this year of which 50 568 were slaughtered whilst live exports made up 94 291 cattle. The live cattle exports make up 65% of the total cattle marketed, while cattle that were slaughtered locally accounted for 35% during the reporting period.

Comparing year on year, a decrease of 10.18% can be observed in the total marketing of cattle from 161 277 units in 2015 to 144 859 in 2016 over the reporting period (January to May). Increased live exports can be attributed to emergency marketing of weaners by producers due to the drought conditions, says the Meat Board of Namibia.



Statistics clearly show that both the slaughtering and live exports of cattle are below that of the 5-year average. A slight decrease can be observed in both the cattle that have been slaughtered and those that have been exported from specifically April to May 2016.

It is therefore evident that total live exports of cattle are well above those that are slaughtered. The prevailing drought situation in the country can be a factor affecting the willingness of farmers to continue producing slaughter animals compared to weaners for live exports.

Live export of cattle to South Africa reduced from 100 332 in 2015 to 94 291 cattle units in 2016, showing a decrease of 6 % between the two years. Live exports for 2016 are below that of 2013 specifically. Although lower than that of 2013, a very similar trend in terms of the fluctuations is observed. 2013 was a drought year similarly to that of 2016 as declared on June 31 2016. Increased marketing of live cattle compared to those that are slaughtered at both the export abattoirs and the butchers will prevail.

The new revised RSA import conditions are anticipated to have an impact on the live cattle exports in a negative manner as South Africa is the market for Namibian weaners. The combined impact of the drought as well as that of the new import conditions might put the cattle sector at large at a disadvantage.

Live exports have the biggest junk of the market share standing at 65% whilst export abattoirs and local abattoirs made up 27% and 8% of marketing, respectively. No slaughtering took place in the NCAs therefore accounting for 0 % of the total market share of the formal channels.

Sheep Live Exports Sheep Slaughtering

There has been a steady increase in sheep slaughtering from January to May 2016, moving from 8 660 in January to 33 641 sheep in May 2016.

Total marketing of sheep by the end of May 2016 was 396 295 head, indicating a 10.12% decrease in the total marketing, down from a level of 440 934 head last year, over the same reporting period. This is composed of 148196 head of sheep exported to South Africa and 158 900 head of sheep slaughtered during the reporting period.

Despite the rainfall received in some parts of the country, it was not sufficient to help farmers maintain the animals on the land due to limited availability of forage. The decrease in marketing, between the two years, month on month, can be attributed to the fact that the rain prospects for 2016 were much better than that of the previous year as the expectation for more rain was positive at the beginning of the year.

Out of the total live exports to South Africa, a total of 7 190 sheep was exported under the “too lean too small” scheme. Sheep exports that were exported under the normal quota made up 140 250 sheep, accounting for 94.6% of live exports, whilst the stud exports and the fat-tail sheep were equivalent to 56 and 700 sheep, respectively.

With a three-month capacity of 165 000 a total of 60 763 sheep was slaughtered at the Mariental abattoir, representing a 37% capacity utilisation of the abattoir during January – May 2016. Keetmanshoop abattoir and the Aranos abattoir utilised 38% and 21% of their five-month slaughter capacity, respectively. The low capacity utilisation percentages can be attributed to the shortage of slaughter-ready sheep.

There has however been a steady increase in the slaughtering capacity utilisation from January to May 2016 across all three abattoirs, thus also causing an increase in the ratio of slaughtering compared to that of live exports. However, it is clear that abattoirs are still operating below the 80% capacity. Low production numbers of sheep as well as the uncompetitive pricing of the abattoirs can be one of the attributing factors for the low through-put at these abattoirs.

A2 Sheep Prices

It is evident that both the Namibian and Namibian-Super prices for the A2 sheep traded below both the RMAA and Northern Cape prices.

Producer price differences can be observed in the latest statistics, which indicate the difference between the Namibian and Namibian-Super price compared to that of the Red Meat Abattoir Association (RMAA) and Northern Cape prices.

A big difference between both Namibian prices and those of the RMAA was experienced in week 1 as well as week 9 with a price difference of N$11.32 and N$9.32, respectively.

The weeks 19, 20 and 25 also saw a huge difference between the Namibian prices with those of the RMAA specifically with an average of N$8.

The low production of pigs and therefore pork meat is much lower in Namibia compared to the volumes that are produced in South Africa. This therefore contributes towards the higher market share that the imported pork has compared to the local slaughter. The imports make up 51% of the total market share while local pork makes up 49% of the market share. This difference is such as Namibia remains a net importer of pork and pork products from South Africa.

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