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Meatco stabilises livestock industry with best prices

2021-10-27  Staff Reporter

Meatco stabilises livestock industry with best prices
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Namibia recorded an increase in the value of exports during August 2021, which grew by 41.5% to N$7.1 billion up from N$5 billion in July 2021. This is according to the latest figures from the Statistician General’s reports.

An overview of the Namibian livestock sector, presented by the Meat Board of Namibia, highlighted that cattle marketed from January to August this year decreased by 15.87%, compared to the same period last year. This report reveals that 174 902 cattle were marketed by August 2020 compared to 147 146 marketed by August this year.

Around last year in August, export abattoirs contributed 21% to the cattle marketed; however, there is a marginal improvement of 26% this year.

According to the Namibian Statistics Agency (NSA), the agricultural sector performed relatively well in the unusual shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Official figures show that the sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew from 4.5% in 2019 to almost 6.6% in 2020, with primary livestock production accounting for more than 55% of this figure.

Namibian weaner prices this year are on average N$39.58, compared to South Africa’s N$37.90. Because the Namibian herd has shrunk, and slaughter-ready cattle are scarce, cattle prices have increased. The average price of slaughter-ready cattle is N$51/kg, and Meatco continues to pay this best price.  

According to Meat Board statistics, during the months of April and May 2021, Namibia was paying a competitive price measured against Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil.

In this regard, it is evident the Namibian producers continue to receive the best prices – just as their counterparts in Australia, the United States and the European Union, where prices are subsidised by the respective governments.

International markets

The dramatic rise in beef prices continues. According to the World Beef Report, prices of slaughter cattle are driving the meteoric rise that has been the norm in the last four weeks, during which special grass-fed steer was up US$40.50 cents per kilo carcass.

The report further states that with the high extraction of cattle in recent months, the number of heavy and well-finished animals arriving at meatpackers is relatively small – but thus far, industrial demand covers everything that can be acquired. 

In addition, only a few animals arrive at meatpacking units at around 420 to 430 kilos, which is practically the weight at which feedlots are buying. This means feedlots are finding it difficult to compete for these animals within the industry. 

In some cases, feedlots choose to buy animals 20-30kg lighter and speed up their own rearing, while others are on hold, negotiating higher prices with meatpackers for future sales.

The few remaining lots of special grass-fed steers trade at US$4.70/kg or a few cents more and the light ones at US$4.60 to US$4.65/kg. Cows, if they are heavy, reach US$4.45 to US$ 4.50/kg, and heifers around US$ 4.55/kg.

While there are currently no signs the price escalation will cease, the World Beef Report states that time for the last sales for New Year holidays in China was at the end of September. 

In this case, it seems likely that when they fall behind – possibly in the second half of this month, the market trend will change.  

2021-10-27  Staff Reporter

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