Are you new to livestock farming? Or perhaps an old hand looking to explore new market opportunities? South Africa has a well-established and diverse livestock industry with various selling opportunities for you to benefit from.
Gone are the days when farmers had limited options in selling their livestock. Today, farmers are spoilt for choice allowing livestock sellers the opportunity to ensure higher profit margins, consistent demand and competitive pricing to name a few.
Importance of certification
According to Juan de Beer, livestock marketer for Andre Kock en Seun auctioneers in Polokwane, Limpopo, before a farmer can even think about selling into these markets, they need to have a brand mark certification for livestock sold.
The certificate, he explains, “Is a tattoo or a brand that you give your sheep, [cattle] or goats. That is to [certify] that you are the owner of that livestock.”
In the unfortunate event that your livestock is stolen, the identification mark could help in retrieving your livestock. Without the mark, the process can be rather difficult. A livestock removal certificate is also a requirement.
1. Private sales
As a farmer, you can sell your livestock directly from the farm through private sale. This is usually the preferred option because it promises higher profit potential, the seller has control over pricing and the sale is usually in cash with no Value-Added Tax (VAT).
Other advantages include building relationships with your customers, which can lead to repeat business.
If you choose this route, De Beer advises farmers to “do your research and see what you can offer the people around you”.
- Branding or tagging of livestock is essential.
- You may need to draft a sales contract detailing the terms of the sale, including price, delivery, and any warranties or guarantees.
2. Selling to abattoirs
Abattoirs are the perfect place to sell into if you’re looking for a consistent demand. Unlike with private sales, abattoirs provide a stable and consistent market for your livestock. Also selling to abattoirs typically requires less effort in terms of marketing, transportation, and customer interaction. This means that you can focus more on the core aspects of your farming business and develop your business model.
- When selling to abattoirs have a clear understanding of their purchasing requirements, such as weight, age, and health conditions.
- Register as a livestock seller and obtain the necessary licenses or permits.
- Transportation to the abattoir should adhere to animal welfare and food safety standards.
- Regular veterinary inspections may be necessary.
- Compliance with disease control measures may be crucial.
3. Consider feedlots
Selling into feedlots involves several requirements and considerations, which may vary by location and specific feedlot. The biosecurity standard for a feedlot is pretty much the same as an abattoir. You can bring your livestock to the feedlot for a fattening process before a sale.
- Red zones for certain diseases cannot be accepted, diseases such as foot-and-mouth.
- Some feedlots require health certifications or veterinary inspections before accepting animals.
- Feedlots may have specific requirements for the weight and type of animals they are willing to purchase.
- Have a removal certificate on hand.
4. Livestock auctions
Selling livestock at auctions can offer several benefits that include competitive pricing and an efficient sales process. Auctions also provide a transparent and public platform for price discovery, which allows sellers the opportunity to get a sense of the market value of their livestock. There’s also the element of risk mitigation when it comes to non-payment or payment disputes that can arise in private, feedlots and abattoir sales.
- The identity document of the seller or trader is essential.
- Have a removal certificate on hand as well.
- You may need to register as a livestock seller and obtain the necessary licenses or permits.
- Health certifications or veterinary inspections are essential.
Selling livestock, whether privately, at auctions, or to abattoirs, involves various legal and practical requirements that may vary by location and specific circumstances. Therefore it is important to always consult with local authorities, industry regulations, and legal experts to ensure full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
Grading of livestock
According to KwaZulu-Natal farmer Ubaid Bhomat, there is also a grading process that takes place. This determines the quality of the livestock being sold. This is important because it can impact farmer income, access to markets, and overall success in the livestock industry. By understanding and working towards higher grades, farmers can improve the quality of their products, meet consumer expectations, and ultimately increase their profitability.
Grade A: Young calves that are about six months old, are considered the best.
Grade B: Above first year, are considered grade B.
Grade C: A fat cow that has a yellow fat, yellow.
“Animals that are not in good condition are not sold, but every organisation has their own set of rules and standards too,” said Bhomat.
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