Livestock production prices on the rise

16 September 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

The cost of producing livestock has been on the rise, resulting in producers paying more for inputs.

According to the Namibian Agriculture Union (NAU), livestock producers paid about 7.0% more for their inputs in the first half of 2021, as opposed to the same period last year.

The increase resulted from price increases in fuel (7.7%), maintenance and fixed improvements (12.9%), capital expenditure (17.4%) and medicinal costs (6.6%).

The union says a rise in the cost of transportation had a negative impact on imported products.

“Livestock producers received better prices in 2021 (January to June) than in 2020 (January to June).”

According to the union, sheep prices improved by 26.0%, and cattle prices grew by more than 17.6%.

It says cattle prices increased because of a 21.8% and 11.4% improvement in the price of weaners and oxen respectively.

Weaners

“The production and sale of weaners remained more profitable than ox production, because on average the weaner price as percentage of the slaughter price stood at 76% in 2021.”

It noted that the weaner price dropped slightly by 5.3% from the first to the second quarters of 2021.

“The drop in the price of weaners could have resulted from an increase in grain prices, which affected feedlot input costs leading to a low demand for weaners.”

The union further said that weaner prices are variable, and the weaner production system has a high drought risk.

“The system is risky, in that it consists largely of breeding cows, and during drought, herd reduction occurs resulting in a good number of cows being marketed.”

According to the union, this poses a challenge to the system because breeding stock after a drought is always highly priced. Still, the weaner production system has been the most profitable over the past five years, it added.