Economies of scale, predation rates and the profitability of small stock farming in Laingsburg, Central Karoo South Africa

Presenter(s): Beatrice Conradie

Abstract / Description:

This paper reports on a questionnaire survey of 64 small stock farms covering 80% of the farmers and 50% of the land in the Laingsburg district in the Central Karoo of South Africa. The survey found a lambing rate (live lambs born per ewe mated) of 80%, a sales rate (lambs sold per ewe mated) of 57% and a total confirmed stock loss rate (lambs plus ewes lost per ewe mated) of 13%. Predation accounted for between two thirds and three quarters of all livestock losses and disproportionately targeted lambs that have been tagged already but where still with their mothers. The average net revenue from mutton sales was R230 per ewe, which was marginally higher than the average of R210 reported for lifestyle farmers (gentlemen or hobby farmers). For commercial farmers, profitability increased with farm size, from R130 to R309 per breeding ewe. If predator losses could be eliminated, the profitability of the average farm’s mutton enterprise would more than double. The annual depredation impact was estimated to be R9.33 per hectare, R99 per ewe mated, R76000 per farm and R7.7 million for the Laingsburg district as a whole. All prices are in 2012 ZAR. However, despite these large costs charged to predation losses, predators were found not to be the main reason for Karoo farmers’ financial vulnerability.

Keywords: human -wildlife,sheep profitibility,reproductive efficiency,black-backed jackals caracals,Central Karoo.

Tue, 27 Aug 2013 -
13:00 to 14:00

CSSR Seminar Room 4.29,Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building,Upper Campus