In an industry with a history of sustainability and ethics, one thing stands out more than anything else: love.
Since importing his first Damaras from Namibia in the late 1980s, stud breeder Frank Blumenthal has firmly believed in the integrity of the breed. The Free State farmer says that the modern indigenous Damara has over the years evolved into a well-muscled animal with outstanding disease resistance and fertility under the hottest, driest conditions.
World champion Savanna goat breeder Koenie Kotzé believes in strict selection, the best possible genetics, and top conformation and type. Annelie Coleman visited him on his farm Niekerkshoop in the Northern Cape to learn more about his exceptional stud.
Indigenous Veld Goat breeder Erik de Witt is following his dream of preserving indigenous livestock breeds. Sabrina Dean visited him and learnt that with innovative marketing, it is also possible to make handsome returns on these unique animals.
Stefan Erasmus, the 2017 Toyota/AgriSA Eastern Cape Young Farmer, has boosted his Merino weaning rate more than 30% by lambing in a closed system. Mike Burgess visited him near Middelburg in the Eastern Cape to see how his 1 200m2 lambing shed has increased income from his flock of ewes.
The Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute (GADI) Student Angora Stud is accustomed to accolades; it produced, for example, the South African Champion Ram at the 2009 International Mohair Summit in Graaff-Reinet. But it was the National Angora Show in November 2016 at Willowmore that really underscored the esteem with which the stud is held in the mohair industry.
Henning Vorster sold a SA Mutton Merino ram for a South African record price of R110 000 at the National Sale in Bloemfontein in 2017. To find out why farmers are willing to pay record-high prices for his dual-purpose sheep, Mike Burgess visited his stud on the farm Bloubosfontein.
The market for slaughter and breeding goats in South Africa appears to be almost insatiable. With more than 60% of the local goat population in the hands of smallholder farmers, this sector should be benefiting from the strong demand. Denene Erasmus reviews some of the recent research into the factors preventing the smallholder sector from taking full advantage of this opportunity.
A decade of intense research and development in New Zealand, involving geneticists, food technologists and more than 50 farmers, has led to a new breed of lamb that is claimed to offer improved health benefits, while retaining excellent flavour.
In 2013, Farmer’s Weekly reported on the Bergplaas Merino Stud in the Eastern Cape. Gavin Isted recently paid the farm another visit in recognition of its 80th anniversary, and to see what progress the award-winning stud has made over the past few years.
Adél van der Merwe’s Plusline Dorper Stud was a 2016 Stud Book Elite Awards finalist. Mike Burgess visited her on Pinegrove, in the Eastern Cape, to find out how she achieved this.
The Southey family of Middelburg in the Eastern Cape has a long legacy of Merino sheep farming. Generations of dedication paid off last year when Julian Southey was named the 2016 Voermol Sheep Farmer of the Year.