SA to fork out more for beef

Prepare to fork out more for your favourite cuts of beef.

This is the word from analysts, who predict beef prices will soar beyond 30% this year, as hard-hit livestock farmers battle the effects of a three-year drought while attempting to rebuild their herds.

Agri EC analyst and Red Meat Producers Organisation national vice-chairman Pieter Prinsloo said slaughter figures had declined considerably since January.

The drought has wrought havoc on the national beef herd, which has been reduced by at least half a million animals to fewer than 14 million heads over the past two years.

Prinsloo said that when the drought first hit, farmers had increased the number of livestock they sent to the abattoirs as they could not maintain their existing herd sizes.

The increase in meat stock meant that prices on shop shelves dropped.

Now, the prolonged crisis in the Eastern Cape has meant herd sizes are down to a critical mass and need to be rebuilt – and the lack of supply is bad news for consumers.

This decrease in animals sent to the slaughter has led to a price hike in beef of about 30%, which is unfortunately much higher than the year-on-year hike of between 5% and 6%.

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