Drought could lower meat price

The Red Meat Producers Association says prices could decline in the short-term.

Cattle farming . Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The drought affecting livestock farmers in the Northern Cape is not necessarily bad news for consumers in the short-term, the Red Meat Producers Association said on Tuesday.

Along with Botswana and Namibia, the North West and the central Free State are also facing a severe dry spell.

According to the association, this is the worst drought in 30 years.

But CEO Gerhard Schutte says the price of red meat could in fact drop.

"If farmers go through a drought, they do emergency slaughtering and that is more meat on the market and the price then goes down."

However, Schutte warns if the drought continues past Christmas, then it's time to worry.

"Then you go into a herd-building phase, the supply is down and the price goes up."

Schutte says the country has a well-developed feedlot industry, meaning a large percentage of cattle will survive.

"Seventy percent of all beef goes through the feedlot, so that's like a cushion effect on the industry at this stage."