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

Capitalising on unused land with Boer Goats

The subtropical Lowveld is hardly prime goat country, but with good management, a farmer can add a valuable component to the crops cultivated in the area. Divan Maritz spoke to Lindi Botha about how he manages his goat stud of 300 animals for optimal farm profitability in this climate.

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.

The pre-purchase veterinary examination

Before you buy a horse, ask your veterinarian to give it a thorough examination, advises Dr Mac.

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.

Many opportunities await SA’s pork industry

Johann Kotzé, CEO of the South African Pork Producers’ Organisation, speaks to Janine Ryan about the importance of the informal pig sector in South Africa, as well as the high calibre of the country’s formal producers.

Meat, milk or wool: choose a sheep breed fit for purpose

There are about 20 breeds of sheep in South Africa, each of which is classified according to the role it plays on a farm. Janine Ryan looks at some of the country’s most popular meat, wool and dual-purpose sheep breeds.

Identifying and treating chronic lower-back pain in horses

It is important to be able to recognise the source of back pain in a horse in order to treat and manage it successfully, says Dr Mac.

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.

A fear-reducing pheromone based on natural excretions

The calming effect of equine-appeasing pheromone offers benefits to horse, handler and rider, says Dr Mac.

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.