In a large part of South Africa stock farming is the only viable agricultural activity and of the 122.3 million hectares of land surface, 68% is suitable for raising live stock.
The red meat industry evolved from a highly regulated environment to one that is totally deregulated today.
Since the deregulation of the agricultural marketing dispensation in 1997, the prices in the red meat industry are determined by demand and supply forces.
Eastern Cape Red Meat Producers Organisation and Queenstown Commercial Farmers Union joined forces to educate the meat value chain regarding beef production and consumption.
Characteristics to be looked at during Block Test include age of animal, fatness, conformation, tenderness, taste, damage and gender.
The aim of the Block Test is to encourage the production of high quality red meat with regard to the market needs, to demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of the current classification system to producers and consumers, to demonstrate to producers and consumers that the desired carcass characteristics are visible on live animals, to demonstrate that the characteristics are influenced by more factors than described in the current classification system, to demonstrate that naturally fed animals with or without supplements has a place in the food value chain.
Entries are invited for groups of four cattle per entry. Any age group can enter, as long as animals per group are approximately the same age. Naturally fed animals and feedlot animals are welcome.
Hoof judging will take place on July 8 and animals must be at Meat Traders Abattoir in Queenstown by 10am.
Slaughtering of animals will take place the next day from 8am and producers are welcome to view the slaughtering of their animals.
Carcass judging will take place on July 10 from 8am and viewing as well as discussing of carcass results will be at 12am.
Steak judging and prize giving is presented by Klaassmits Agricultural Association on July 24 at 7pm at Blue Boulders Barn.
Consumers outside of agriculture are welcome to attend all three events.
The purpose of the three separate events are as follows: hoof judging – age, conformation, gender and fatness – visual selection; carcass judging – fatness, conformation and damage; steak judging – age, fatness, tenderness and taste.
Entries can be sent to Swithan Webster firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 045-8393570 by May 30.
Block Test Organizers include EC Red Meat Producers Organisation, Queenstown Commercial Farmers’ Union and Klaassmits Agricultural Association.