Weighing your cattle: a crucial step towards profitable livestock production

Technological advances are making it easier to weigh livestock and use this information to influence herd management decisions. Glenneis Kriel spoke to a number of experts about the advantages of weighing livestock regularly.

North West cattle farmer puts his trust in proven stud bulls

Kgomotso Bantsho has been farming Bonsmara cattle and goats full-time in North West since 2017. He says that support from other farmers is critical, and that each farmer needs to learn which management practices will work best for him or her.

On a quest to breed ‘the perfect Brahman’

A dream to farm Brahman cattle saw Auldrich Spies switch from construction to farming. Ironically, it was his initial ignorance that led him to become a successful stud farmer today. Lindi Botha visited SS Brahmane in Mbombela, Mpumalanga.

Record-breaking, high-altitude Ngunis

On 9 May 2020, the Biggs family, who farms in the Eastern Cape, sold a Nguni herd sire for a world-record price of R310 000. Clive Biggs spoke to Mike Burgess about the family’s well-adapted Nandi Nguni stud in the foothills of the Drakensberg near Cedarville.

The importance of maintaining reproductive health in a herd

Fourth-generation farmer Gerhard Grobler says he has been able to achieve better results from his beef cattle herd after introducing crossbreeding. But, he adds, South Africa’s beef producers need to start managing animal health more proactively.

Choosing Afrikaners for extensive beef production

Jacquies Steenkamp produced the 2019 Agricultural Research Council (ARC) Afrikaner National Performance Test Class bull. Mike Burgess visited him on his farm near Rouxville to see why he believes this indigenous breed is so well suited to extensive beef production in demanding areas.

Breeding a resistant and resilient Sussex stud herd

John Viedge of the Lehana’s Pass Sussex Stud has been breeding cattle that survive in some of the harshest redwater disease areas in South Africa. Wayne Southwood spoke to him about how he manages animal health, breeding and selection in his resilient Sussex stud.

How Beefmaster Group helps cattle farmers

In these times of uncertainty, cattle farmers can rely on the Beefmaster Group to help them overcome short-term challenges and access markets, says Roelie van Reenen, supply chain executive at the group. Beefmaster Group helps emerging and commercial cattle farmers that farm various breeds of cattle.

Maximising efficiency against heat stress in cattle

Expected temperature increases due to the effect of global warming will have a negative impact on the productivity of livestock. According to animal science researchers at the Agricultural Research Council, beef farmers will have to follow certain breeding objectives to lessen this effect.

Traceability: beyond the tag

Any farmer who thinks that a tag in the ear represents a traceability system for a beef herd is far off the mark; it simply links the animal to a production unit. A farm or feedlot should have good management practices across the entire production system, writes Dr Danie Odendaal, a veterinary herd health consultant and director of Veterinarian Network.

Sound animal health ensures success for top emerging beef farmers

Piet Phahlane and Aaron Makena, the Agriculture Research Council National Emerging Beef Farmers of the Year 2019 winners, say one of the most valuable lessons they have learnt as farmers is the importance of applying good animal health management principles. Siyanda Sishuba visited them on their farm in Rust de Winter, Limpopo.

Producing well-balanced animals for maximum profit

Well-balanced stud animals are crucial to the profitability of a commercial beef cattle enterprise, say Jean van der Merwe and Willie Landman, owners of the Black Hills Drakensberger stud near Potchefstroom. They told Annelie Coleman that they breed animals like this by focusing on a number of traits and using a variety of selection techniques.

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