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Farmer’s Weekly brings you the latest cattle farming news and updates from South Africa and the rest of Africa.

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‘FMD still poses a major threat to SA livestock’

The spread of foot-and-mouth disease across South Africa will continue unrelentingly unless all industry players step up to the plate and do their part to control the disease as much as possible
dairy cows

How a top dairy farmer is mitigating high input costs

JK Basson is a three-time winner of the ARC’s National Master Dairyman of the Year Award. He spoke to Glenneis Kriel about how he manages to survive in an industry plagued by rising production costs.

Your one-stop guide to BLUP breeding values

Frans Jordaan and Dr Ben Greyling of the Agricultural Research Council provide recommendations to help breeders apply good management and recording practices that can optimise their herds’ genetic evaluations.

The rise of the Bonsmara in South Africa

The Bonsmara, which was developed in South Africa from the 1930s, was bred specifically for African conditions, and is the most dominant beef cattle breed in the country today. It has also spread to many other countries around the world. Louis Steyl, CEO of the Bonsmara Cattle Breeders’ Society of South Africa, spoke to Annelie Coleman about the development of the breed, and its future.

Maximising Brangus weaner growth with top-quality genetics

A successful commercial beef cattle enterprise is one that keeps cow mortalities to a minimum, while achieving maximum weaner growth. Rian van Wyk, who farms Brangus in Mpumalanga, spoke to Lindi Botha about his breeding philosophy.

Genetics-based guidelines to buying a bull at an auction

Frans Jordaan and Dr Ben Greyling, researchers at the Agricultural Research Council, write about the importance of choosing bulls based on breeding and performance indices, rather than their visual appearance.

Performance testing for the commercial farmer

Frans Jordaan and Dr Ben Greyling of the Agricultural Research Council write about the important role that performance testing plays in increasing a commercial herd’s fertility and profitability.

Top emerging beef farmer’s journey to success with Bonsmara

Desmond Siteti was named the Agricultural Research Council’s Eastern Cape Emerging Beef Farmer for 2021. Mike Burgess visited him and his Bonsmaras near Makhanda to better understand his journey to successful beef production.

Group auctions: a great team brings great results

Group auctions are becoming increasingly common in South Africa’s beef cattle industry, where they are a benefit to both stud and commercial breeders. Members of the Valsrivier Bonsmara Breeders Group spoke to Annelie Coleman about the advantages of these events, and the need for smooth teamwork and shared values.

Is artificial insemination right for your farm?

Artificial insemination is a good way to improve your herd, as you can purchase top-quality genetics without having to buy in a bull, says Dr Ben Greyling, programme manager at the Agricultural Research Council.

Young stud manager strives to be an icon

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.

Dairy cows flourish on natural pasture

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.

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