Herd rebuilding continues

31 May 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT



WINDHOEK

With continued herd-rebuilding exercises, a further decline in cattle marketing is expected for 2021, with the Meat Board forecasting formal slaughtering of less than 53 000 cattle for the year.

Until the end of February, only 7 775 cattle were slaughtered in the formal market.

Currently, the B2 beef carcass price stands at N$50.54 per kilogram as per January to February statistics, while weaner prices stood at N$42.74 during the first two months of 2021, the Meat Board said.

It added that a persistent drought saw more than 1.36 million cattle marketed during 2017 to 2019 with a slow-down of more than half recorded in 2020.

In addition, 2020 was poised to experience an upsurge in beef carcass prices but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for premium beef in Namibia’s key export markets dropped, with prices stabilising at an average of N$45.50 per kg.

Sheep sector declines

Meanwhile, the Meat Board said the sheep sector experienced an unprecedented decline in marketing in 2019, leaving Namibia with only one export facility in Aranos.

“Sheep marketing also decreased by half, which led to a decline in slaughtering and a focus shift from export markets to local markets.”

According to the board, this shortage caused an increase in market prices for meat. Producer prices increased from N$60.11 per kg in 2020 to 70.90 per kg in 2021.

Due to a critically low sheep herd, producers were unable to take advantage of increased sheep prices.

It said this year is expected to see reduced marketing in comparison to 2020, but the rate of decline is expected to be less with total slaughtering forecast at just below 105 000 sheep. To date, 8 798 have been slaughtered in the formal market.