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JULY 2013

A word from the convener


Stockman 2011 another huge success
2011 Stockman School Press Release:  Dr. Michael Bradfield.

The 2011 Aldam Stockman School brought together role players from the whole Southern African beef industry. Over two hundred delegates attended the three day workshops.

Participants included Southern Africa’s leading commercial beef producers, stud producers, representatives from the feedlot sector and also the retail sector.  

Lee Leachman, one of America’s largest cattle seed stock producers gave a general overview of the world beef industry. As the oil price increases he gave evidence that over 50% of global corn will be used for the production of ethanol. However, this will create even bigger demand for protein and will keep a lot of countries out of the lucrative grain fed markets. We will thus see fewer Americans or South African’s eating steak because they simply won’t be able to afford it.  At the same time the highly populated eastern regions are becoming wealthier and they will undoubtedly be the new consumers for high value proteins thus exacerbating the global demand.

Beef prices will thus continue to remain high and beef will remain a lucrative and sought after commodity. The feedlot sector will continue to prosper in these high value markets.

Continuing with a very positive theme for the beef industry in South Africa, Mr J.P. Landman, a political and economic analyst, showed how the investment into the infrastructure of South Africa has increased from 4% to 8.4% since the year 2000.  A lot of money has been spent on roads and the railway infrastructure in the last few years compared to the previous 20 years. We have strong private sector institutions compared to many other developing economies (for e.g. Russia) and can expect our economy to continue to grow. Threats remain social and human issues such as the tensions created by transition.

South Africa will have less, but more productive commercial farmers in the future and more development farmers whom will need to increase their farm sizes to remain competitive.  He also showed how the national gross product of agricultural commodities has almost doubled in the last 50 years at an almost linear rate.        

Mr. Donavan Heyns from Pick n Pay showed the importance of the retailer to the consumer and vice versa. A lot has changed in the last ten years with retailers now working closely with producers in meat quality and production. The four retailers now sell 60% of all meat in South Africa and this trend is set to continue. Meat quality is being taken very seriously by the retailers and Mr.Heyns showed various examples of the new branded beef cuts.

In his other talks Mr. Leachman emphasised the fact that cow numbers are set to remain stable. The cows that we currently have thus need to become more efficient. Measuring feed efficiency will become very important in future recording schemes. However, the whole contemporary group of bulls will have to be measured or the results will be of very little value. He also emphasised the value of selecting animals using an Index (i.e. combination of EBVs based on economic importance). An example that is used by the Simmentaler/Simbra in South Africa or the Namibian Grass fed Index.

Also important is the economic value of crossbreeding.

Ms. Estelle van Reenen from “Sparta Beef” gave an overview of early compared to late maturing animals. Crossbred types (Indicus and Taurus) still remain the most popular animals in the feedlot. There is a push towards heavier carcasses that will probably favour the larger frame animals in the future.

A talk that was also very well received was that by Dr Langa Simela, CEO of NERPO. The emerging red meat producer is already making a significant contribution towards the red meat industry. Nearly 40% of all cattle numbers are in the hands of the emerging sector. The difficulties experienced by the commercial sector are very similar to the emerging sector. We need to work towards a common goal.

In the break-away sessions producers were also able to hear from experts regarding feeding, breeding, cattle evaluation, veld management and financial planning. These break away sessions have become very popular as they allow interactive discussions between producers and the lectures.  

The next Stockman school will be held from the 24th - 26th of October 2012. Amongst others, Dr. Steve Millar (CEO of the centre for Genetic Improvement of Livestock, Animal and Poultry Science in Guelph, Canada) has already confirmed his attendance.  

APRIL 2011

The Zimbabwean Herdbook (ZHB), chooses BREEDPLAN
Zimbabwe Herd Book maintains breed society registers and in April 2009, a study of electronic data recording and genetic analysis systems in South Africa was commissioned.  Any meaningful genetic analysis requires pooling of data and it makes sense to investigate the potential of combining data with South Africa and Namibia, given the similar production environment and, more importantly, the strong genetic links with South African and Namibian studs. 

The two systems reviewed were INTERGIS and BREEDPLAN.

The Zimbabwean Herd Book implemented BREEDPLAN for the following reasons:

  • The server and data would be based in our offices;

  • BREEDPLAN is well represented throughout the world with systems in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada, Hungary, Thailand, Malaysia and South Africa.

  • The Namibian studbook has a similar set-up to Zimbabwe and BREEDPLAN has been successfully implemented there.

  • BREEDPLAN has a phenomenal and unparalleled animal breeding research and software development team.


The new management of the LRF for 2011 was elected during the General Annual Meeting on 17 November 2010.

  • Wessels Hattingh (Brahman) re-elected as PRESIDENT

  • Johan Potgieter (Simmentaler & Simbra) re-elected as VISE-PRESIDENT

  • The Secretariat will be managed by Agri-BSA - Dr Michael Bradfield

  • Additional members that will serve on the Management Committee are Mr L Angus (Simmentaler & Simbra) - Lifelong
    Honorary-President and Charlotte Schuite (Braford).

                  •  November 2009 / November 2009
                  •  January 2009 / Januarie 2009
                  •  December 2008 / Desember 2008
                  •  November 2008 / November 2008
                  •  August 2008 / Augustus 2008
                  •  February 2008 / Februarie 2008




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