Over almost three decades, Foundation Farm in KwaZulu-Natal has evolved from a small dairy operation to winner of the Agricultural Research Council’s 2019 Master Dairyman of the Year. The farm’s founders, Alan and Frances Webster, hope that their success story will motivate aspiring and existing farmers to persevere with their agricultural vision.
A recent report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations shows that the global dairy industry is already part of the solution to address climate change. However, dairy farmers need to accelerate their current efforts by continuing to improve production efficiency.
There are a number of tools that can contribute to successful sustainable agriculture, provided farmers use them strategically. Danie Slabbert, one such South African farmer, explains how he is using ultra-high-density grazing to help ensure that he and future users of the land all benefit.
David Rakgase of Rakgase Farms in Limpopo makes use of crossbreeding to improve carcass weight. He explained to Siyanda Sishuba how animal nutrition is managed on the farm in order for the cattle to maintain good condition throughout the year.
The success of a livestock breeding concern depends on choosing a breed that makes economic sense and optimises return on investment. For a part-time farmer, an additional requirement is that the breed is hardy enough to thrive without pampering. Part-time stud breeder Dirco Swart of Frankfort told Annelie Coleman that the Beefmaster ticked all these boxes.
What started off as a hobby for Theuns Bruwer and Pierre Veldhoen seven years ago has turned into the registration of an Angus stud with successful and highly respected breeding stock. Jeandré van der Walt visited their stud, Windmeul Angus, outside Paarl in the Western Cape.
Llewellyn Angus, an animal scientist, Simbra/Simmentaler breeder, and SA Interbreed Judges Association examiner, says that grazing and fertility management are both crucial to profitable beef cattle farming. Here he shares the basic principles of managing fertility in a beef herd.
Zachariah Matli’s journey to running a viable beef cattle operation has had its frustrations, but he is on his way to becoming a commercial producer. Sustaining him has been his own tenacity, and steady support from commercial farmers and government.
Stress in cattle can cause these animals and their handlers numerous problems, and ultimately lose money for the cattle farming business. Dr Johan Cloete, a ruminant technical veterinarian with MSD Animal Health, says it is essential for handlers to understand cattle behaviour in order to achieve reduced stress.
The Arwin Farms Bonsmara Stud, founded in 1982 in the Dordrecht district of the Eastern Cape, is run entirely off the veld. Mike Burgess visited Johan and Michael-John Greyling to find out more about their grass-based beef genetics, and the lessons they learnt along the way.
Producing world-class stud cattle is a challenging endeavour, but judging by the stacked-up ribbons at the RiHugo farming enterprise, Rian Maree has found the winning recipe. He spoke to Lindi Botha about practising rigorous selection on his Brahman herd.
Dr Enslin Coetzee and Issie Liebenberg, the owners of the ZEC Angus stud, breed for efficiency and functionality. They produced the bull Match, which took top honours at the Interbreed Bull Growth Test Class 2019 at the Bloem Show.