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

Mashona: small in stature, big in value

Zimbabwe’s indigenous Mashona cattle are renowned for their outstanding productivity and ability to survive under even the most extreme conditions. Maree Osborne, chairperson of the Mashona Cattle Society of Zimbabwe, spoke to Annelie Coleman about this remarkable breed of beef cattle.

Boosting dairy profitability: it’s not all in the genes!

Looking for ways to enhance your dairy’s profits? Better cow health and improved liveability might be the solution, according to Rebekah Mast, a US-based dairy genetics expert.

From communal to commercial: a Bonsmara farmer’s success story

Mthobeli Dintsi was a 2022 provincial winner in the National Kaonafatso ya Dikgomo Farmer of the Year competition, a category of the Agricultural Research Council’s National Beef Performers Awards. Mike Burgess visited him recently on his farm in the Eastern Cape to better understand his journey to commercial beef production with Bonsmaras.

The impact of climate change on dairy cows

In the first part of this three-part series, Dr Jan du Preez, managing director of UCK Investments, discusses the contributing effect of global warming on the occurrence of heat stress in dairy cattle.

A top Afrisim stud built with award-winning cows

The success of a beef cattle operation rests largely on the performance of its cows, says Dr Hentie van Rensburg, who bred the 2022 Agricultural Research Council National Best Elite Cow in the Afrisim category. He and his farming partner, Lourie van Pletzen, spoke to Annelie Coleman about their approach.

What feedlots expect in the ideal weaner

The South African feedlot industry produces about 75% of all beef eaten in the country. Annelie Coleman spoke to Lynette van Rooyen, group director at Sparta Beef, and Charles Mathewson, Sparta’s head of cattle procurement, about their company’s weaner requirements and how farmers can satisfy these.

Santa Gertrudis bulls: tested for two decades

Melville Ferreira, senior researcher at the Agricultural Research Council’s Animal Production unit in Vryburg, and Yolanda Venter, breed manager of the Santa Gertrudis Cattle Breeders’ Society in Bloemfontein, reveal the findings of performance testing of Santa Gertrudis bulls over 20 years under intensive conditions.

The challenges facing Namibia’s cattle producers

Despite the fact that Namibia is an arid country, farmers there continue to run profitable beef operations. However, profitability margins are decreasing.

Nguni x Brahman: an exceptional, feedlot-friendly cross

Theo Maqashalala runs approximately 100 commercial Nguni breeding female animals near the town of Seymour in the Eastern Cape. He spoke to Mike Burgess about his appreciation for the Nguni breed, and why he opted for a terminal crossbreeding programme that uses Brahman bulls.

Beef Shorthorn: a breed made for crossbreeding!

The Beef Shorthorn has a long and successful history in South Africa. Stud owners Hendrik, Henco and Johann Strydom spoke to Annelie Coleman about this adaptable animal that shines at crossbreeding.

Beefmaster: ‘Perfectly bred for the beef producer’

The Beefmaster, which was developed in the US, is a popular beef breed in South Africa due to its adaptability, short intercalving period, and other key traits. Gerrie Jansen van Rensburg, president of the Beefmaster Cattle Breeders’ Society of South Africa (Beefmaster SA), told Susan Marais more about this hardy all-rounder.

Why nutrition is crucial for dairy cow fertility

While genetic improvement can go a long way towards improving dairy profitability, cows and calves will not reach their full potential if they suffer from nutritional deficiencies.