Farmers Shift Slaughter Due to Good Rains

While certain areas of Namibia received good rains in the past few weeks of the rain season, drought remains a factor and many farmers have been anxious about marketing their cattle to Meatco.

Following showers, some farmers have opted to keep their cattle to market later in the year, mostly during the month of May and June. Thokozile Mdlalose, Corporate Communication Officer of Meatco, says many farmers have cancelled their slaughter for April, mostly shifting slaughter slots to May and June. Some have also booked to slaughter in July and August. “Many farmers feel that with the good rains, they have more time to get their cattle into better condition, and will then receive better prices for their animals,” she says.

According to Sakkie Coetzee, President of the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU), producers are expected to opt to slaughter later so they can provide better quality cattle to Meatco. “This is also an aantage for Meatco, since we have had concerns about the poor quality of animals received for slaughter recently. Three months ago we didn’t know there would be rain, and I doubt we can expect a drought for the biggest part of the country. But it is better to make an informed decision once the rainy season ends in April. Then we will know for sure if it is a drought year or not,” he says.

Producers are urged to deliver more cattle for slaughter to fill up the empty slots at the plants in Windhoek and Okahandja. In the meantime both factories have opted to cancel slaughtering on Saturdays and are filling up weekday slots first.

Meatco Okahandja is currently experiencing a reduction in slaughter numbers due to cancellations at the Okahandja Abattoir. This will put more pressure on producers later in the year when the drought gets worse and farmers flock to slaughter their cattle. “I would recommend that farmers deliver their cattle as per their slaughter allocation because chances are that later in the year when the drought gets worse, they may not get a slaughter space for their cattle,” says Johan Goosen, Okahandja’s Plant Manager.

“Farmers should keep in mind that the last recorded rains may not carry them throughout the year, but only for a limited time. So even though they would like to increase the quality of their cattle now, the question is will their cattle still be in that condition by the time they get another slot?”

“Other farmers already have allocated slaughter slots for later in the year, so it will be difficult for farmers that delay slaughter now to get space then, especially in the months leading to August. It would be better to slaughter within the booked slots to avoid an overflow of cattle later, especially considering the additional signing contract that farmers have been allowed,” Goosen concludes.

Source : New Era