Livestock slaughter numbers pick up

Photo Supplied: National Red Meat Development Programme (NRMDP)

The FNB latest data update on South Africa’s commercial livestock slaughter shows a modest increase in cattle and sheep numbers for July 2020 relative to the June levels.

According to Paul Makube, agricultural economist at FNB said “the number of cattle and sheep slaughtered during July increased by 7.5% and 5.4% respectively month-on-month (m/m) at 218 636 head and 324376 head.”

Figures released by the Red Meat Levy Admin concur to this, as the total number of cattle slaughtered for June was 203, 421 compared to May at 195, 955.

By July 2020, the figure representatively stood at 218,638 cattle that were recorded to be slaughtered.

Since the announcement of lockdowns, slaughter of sheep declined marginally. At the start of January 2020 – March 2020, average head of sheep slaughtered was hovering above 360 000 sheep slaughtered, now in July standing at 324,376 sheep slaughtered.

“In the live market, the strength in both the weaner calf and feeder lamb prices continued supported by tight supplies and good uptake across markets.  Weaner calf prices might strengthen further as early seasonal rains stimulate pasture regrowth and encourage farmers to hold on to their stock” added Makube.

At current levels, weaner calf prices are 25% and 6.4% higher relative to last year this time.

The Northern Cape province slaughtered more sheep than any other province since January 2020. July was it lowest at 83 000 sheep slaughtered compared to June (89 000), May (99 000) and April (117 000).

Makube said the recovery of slaughtered livestock was buoyed by activity gains momentum after the “reopening of the economy to level 2 of the risk adjusted strategy to contain the spread of the coronavirus”

The pork market however showed a level of decline. The number of pigs slaughtered declined marginally by 0.4% m/m in July 2020.

“This combined with renewed uptake lifted the average monthly pork and baconer prices by 7% and 8.5% respectively m/m. Pork and baconer prices have retained the strong momentum into August with prices advancing by 9% and 7.9% respectively m/m.”

South African Pork Producers Organisation (SAPPO) monthly pork slaughter statistics indicated this decline, as by June 2020 year to date slaughters stood at 1 593 361 compared to the previous year at 1 615 971.

The month of May showed the biggest slaughter of pigs at 290 000 compared to June which was 275 000.

Gauteng still had the highest pig slaughter rates, with an overall of 121.7 000 (42%) followed by Western Cape at 63 000.

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