Jessica Phathela is the stud manager for Ntaba Nyoni Cattle, and is responsible for the care, breeding and administration of five herds. She aspires to be a role model for other women in the sector.
A total mixed ration has become the predominant feeding system of dairy cows in South Africa. But Rob Visser, owner of Dalewood Fromage, has bucked this trend, focusing instead on pastures planted to many species of grass. His approach has contributed in no small way to his internationally acclaimed cheeses, says Lindi Botha.
While genomic selection is a mainstay of commercial cattle breeding, the accurate record-keeping and data analysis it requires are often unaffordable for, or inaccessible to, smallholder and communal farmers. This study by researchers from across the globe looks at the challenges these producers face with improving their herds via this method.
While the incidence of twins in beef cattle is very low, there is the possibility that it could improve the rate of their reproduction, says the Agricultural Research Council.
The aim of any well-managed commercial cattle farm is to produce high-quality beef for the market at a profitable level. Magda du Toit provides emerging and aspiring beef cattle farmers with a guideline of the elements they need to consider when embarking on such a venture.
Although ultra-high-density grazing is still quite controversial in some circles, many farmers have had good results when using it as a means to restore veld and increase carrying capacity.
Johan Kemp, Chris van Niekerk and Riaan Venter started the Elandsberg Droughtmaster stud seven years ago. Impressed by the breed’s ability to excel under their extensive farming conditions in a mountainous region in northern KwaZulu-Natal, they are now also in the process of converting their commercial beef cattle herd into a pure Droughtmaster herd.
Extensive veld tests by the Bosveld Santa Gertrudis Study Group have made a valuable contribution to establishing the breed’s reputation amongst other beef cattle in South Africa.
All beef cattle producers want their young bulls to develop into productive sires, but for this to happen, they need to manage these animals carefully. Annelie Coleman spoke to livestock nutrition specialist Dr Francois van de Vyver about how to achieve this.
Carol and Charlie Gould started breeding Droughtmasters three years ago and have only been farming full time for one year, but they have ambitious plans and say that even though they are new to farming, the Droughtmaster has made their job easy!
To stay ahead of their competitors in the breeding game, livestock farmers have to continually improve the genetics of their animals. Nollie and Pieter Stofberg, owners of Platdrif Sussex Stud in the Western Cape, spoke to Glenneis Kriel about how they make use of embryo flushing to achieve this goal.
More meat per herd per year is the golden thread that runs through a profitable cattle enterprise, and genetics play a crucial role in the herd’s advancement. While DNA testing is useful for genetic selection, it can’t determine feed conversion rates. This is where Phase D performance testing comes in.