Livestock prices on local markets are dropping sharply as volumes of slaughter animals climb in the face of the drought afflicting the central and western parts of South Africa. Neighbouring southern African countries are also facing a bleak winter as rainfall has been significantly below average.
With quality and quantity of pasture very low as the sub-continent goes into winter, producers have been forced to sell off excess stock before their condition drops and prices drop even further. Feedlots are reporting slow sales into the retail markets as a slowing economy squeezes consumers and volumes drop. Crop losses in the major cropping areas of the country have also forced maize prices higher, catching especially intensive producers in a pincer.
Farmers are advised to sell off older and lower producing animals while their condition is still good to maximise the return on forced sales. A core of prime productive animals should be retained to ensure rapid flock growth when the rain returns in the new season. Licks specifically formulated for drought conditions should be made available to animals in good time to reduce weight and condition losses on animals. Many farmers are preparing for their breeding season for spring kidding now and especially these animals should be receiving the best quality feed available on the farm. This will ensure strong healthy kids and maximise the kidding yield.