“I speak on behalf of all the Brahman breeders when I say that we’re honoured and privileged to have the internationally renowned Namibian-born Peter Massman join our team.” So said the president of the Cattle Breeders’ Society of South Africa, Llewellyn Labuschagne, after the appointment of as executive consultant to the society. “Massman’s appointment heralds a new era for the society, especially in the light of the ever-increasing popularity of our breed,” added Labuschagne.
“He is respected worldwide for his experience with stud cattle.” H e continued that Massman will be instrumental in repositioning the Brahman breed in South Africa. “The breed is going from strength to strength, particularly since the emphasis shift from grain-fed to grass-fed cattle. Our membership has increased by more than 70 over the past year.
Massman’s previous expertise as GM of the Simmentaler/Simbra Breeders’ Society will be of tremendous value to us.” Massman has been a valued contributor to the international Simmentaler scene and his insight, dedication and zeal have made him a legend in his own right. e was the first foreigner to be honoured with the prestigious German Bavarian Lion Award (Bayerische Löwe), presented to him by state minister for agriculture Josef Miller in 2001. T he award was conferred for his exceptional contribution towards the global development of the Simmentaler breed. – Annelie Coleman
Abattoir grinds to a halt as workers strike
The Triple A Beef abattoir in Cramond KwaZulu-Natal, which processes up to 400 head of cattle every working day, recently came to a complete standstill for roughly two weeks after 200 of its staff were fired for holding an illegal strike. riple A Beef’s managing director, Shaun Caine, said his company had eventually been forced to declare that an illegal strike was taking place on the abattoir’s premises after there had been numerous unauthorised work stoppages in the plant over the previous month.
“These stoppages were not wage-related and had also not been represented by the staff’s union,” explained Caine. ”Most of the reasons given by the staff for downing tools were petty and after a month of ongoing stoppages A issued final warnings to employees to get back to work. They ignored them so we declared an illegal strike, locked the staff out of the premises, and fired 200 of them. All the company’s actions are supported by labour law.”
He said the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union (Ceppwawu), which was supposed to represent the abattoir staff, had been kept informed of the workers’ grievances, but had still not advised the staff of the legal processes to follow in seeking to have the grievances addressed. Caine continued, “The union should have advised the staff correctly.
To the company’s management it seemed as if the work stoppages had just been a staff ploy to annoy us for some reason.” The Witness newspaper reported that Ceppwawu spokesperson Mfanalo Dladla had said that the union was going to take the matter to court on behalf of the fired Triple A Beef abattoir employees. owever, Farmer’s Weekly could not reach Dladla to ask him why the union allegedly did not formally intervene in dealing with the staffs’ grievances before the illegal strike had to be declared. Caine said most of the company’s clients were understanding of the situation and able to continue sourcing meat from other abattoirs for the duration of Triple A Beef’s closure.
“We have given most of the staff the opportunity to re-apply for their jobs,” he added. “It appeared most of them didn’t actually want to down tools anyway and there were also 60 abattoir employees who were not fired because they didn’t participate in the strike because they were sick or on leave,” Caine explained. “It was only our abattoir that was affected and not our feedlot. The company is losing money, but it is not a crippling loss.” – Lloyd Phillips
Still drives the maize price
According to Beijing Review China has produced a bumper grain harvest for the fifth consecutive year, and reportedly expects a larger surplus this year than its 2007 excess of 50 million tons. “I think China includes wheat, maize and soya beans in its definition of grain,” said a US agricultural analyst, who wished to remain anonymous. “But for maize, over the past few years China has either balanced its supply with demand or fallen short. It would be interesting to know how much of its expected surplus is maize because that could ease some of the pressure on the world market.” South Africa is anticipating a maize harvest of 11,6 million tons.
According to the latest figures by the Crop Estimates Committee. According to Grain SA chief economist Nico Hawkins, in the past 11 weeks Africa has exported 232 000t. “Some 74 500t has been sold to Zimbabwe,” said Hawkins. he US analyst added that it was going to be a challenge to transport the maize as he suspected it would be moved via road and not rail.
“This could make it even more expensive for Zimbabwe and one wonders if they can even afford that maize.” he analyst said the world maize price is still very much driven by US production, noting that southern hemisphere countries are now waiting to see what the US harvest yield is as it will determine whether it will be profitable for countries such as South Africa to plant or not. – David Steynberg