Herd rebuilding affects slaughtering

Export abattoirs slaughtered about 20 991 cattle in the first quarter of 2019, compared to 9 111 cattle in 2020.

03 June 2020 | Agriculture



Livestock producers have started rebuilding their herds after the drought, and for that reason, the number of cattle and sheep marketed in the first quarter of this year dropped by 31.4% and 59.2% respectively.

According to the quarterly review of the Namibian Agriculture Union (NAU), Namibia exported 63 417 live cattle in the first quarter of 2019, compared to 48 896 in the same period this year. This indicates an estimated decrease of 22.9% based on statistics of the Meat Board of Namibia. The NAU said export abattoirs slaughtered about 20 991 cattle in the first quarter of 2019, compared to 9 111 cattle in 2020.

“This means that throughput to export abattoirs reduced drastically by 56.6%.”


Meanwhile, sheep export abattoirs received approximately 52 903 sheep in the first quarter of 2019 and about 14 700 sheep in the same period this year, showing a decrease of 72.2%. According to the NAU, live sheep exports did not perform any better, decreasing by 58.8%.

The number of live sheep exported in the first quarter dropped from 104 196 last year to 42 910 this year.

“The destocking period during the drought resulted in a large component of core breeding herds being marketed, and that diminished the quantity of livestock available for marketing in 2020,” said the NAU.

Furthermore, the number of cattle auctioned has dropped from 79 852 cattle in the first quarter of 2019 to 77 943 cattle in 2020, signifying a slight reduction of 2.4%.

Cows and calves

In 2019, a significant number of cows were auctioned.

Comparing the first quarter of 2019 to 2020, the marketing of cows at auctions decreased by 12.2%. Farmers auctioned 17 804 cows in the first quarter of 2019 and 15 634 cows in 2020.

The NAU added that the price of weaner calves started increasing from the third quarter of 2019 and continued rising in the first quarter of this year.

This left the weaner price as a percentage of slaughter price at 70.8% in the first quarter of this year, which is above the long-term average of 63%. The NAU said this is an indication that in the first quarter of this year weaner production was more profitable than ox production. Producers continue to pay more for inputs used in the production of livestock than what they receive for the livestock sold, the union said.

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