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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Award-winning cattle farmer Tian Kruger does not believe in shortcuts or compromising on the principles that brought him success. This has earned him a solid reputation for his commercial Bonsmara cattle and above-average prices at auctions. He spoke to Lindi Botha about his approach.
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.