The Livestock Registering Federation (LRF)

The LRF (Livestock Registering Federation) was established in the year 2000, following the release of the Animal Improvement Act (Act No. 62 of 1998), which enabled societies to keep their own animal records and performance data. The founding members of the LRF were the Simmental/Simbra, Brahman, Santa Gertrudis and SA Holstein societies. Thereafter, several other societies joined the LRF and today the LRF serves 9 beef cattle societies in South Africa (40% of all registrations in South Africa), 38 societies in Namibia (of which 22 are beef cattle societies), as well as 24 societies in Zimbabwe ( of which 15 are beef cattle societies). The LRF serves as a mouthpiece for all these societies. However, each society’s independence, in terms of own management and functioning, is not changed with participation in the LRF.

Although LRF members can make use of any data recording and evaluation system of their choice, the majority make use of the International Livestock Registry (ILR), which is affiliated with the BREEDPLAN genetic evaluation system. ILR is the registry of choice for more than 190 breed associations worldwide, collectively registering over 40 million animals. BREEDPLAN is the national data entry system in Australia, New Zealand, Namibia, Thailand and the Philippines. It is also increasingly used in countries such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, South Africa, Hungary and South America. The LRF also acts as a liaison and coordinator between BREEDPLAN (service provider) and the breed societies. Particularly in the development and application of new technologies, the LRF has for example negotiated on behalf of the societies the installation of genomic databases by BREEDPLAN for the storage of SNP results. The collective development and installation of the databases was more cost effective than what the societies would have paid to install the databases individually.

The participation of the different breeds within the LRF, gives the organization more bargaining power to drive certain negotiations. For example, the LRF played a significant role in establishing the BGP project and recruiting about R30 million in funding from the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) for the South African beef industry over a period of 3 years (2015 to 2018).

The LRF is financially independent and is currently funded by membership levies and sponsorships. The main purpose of the LRF is to promote and protect the interests of its members and the broader industry. The secondary objectives of the LRF include the following:

  • Genetic progress
  • Promoting the recording of production data and genotyping
  • Collaboration with the industry, universities and government organizations
  • To be recognized as leaders in genetic and genomic technologies

The LRF achieves these goals by liaising with the stud and broader industry on different platforms. One of these platforms include the LRF Stockman School, which is annually hosted by the LRF. The Stockman School has become a leader in training and educating stud and commercial farmers with regards to the latest trends and technologies used worldwide in the livestock industry. More than 200 industry leaders attend the school each year. The LRF also has good relationships with various universities, which gives the breed societies access to local as well as international scientists to assist with issues such as breed improvement. In collaboration with the University of the Free State, the LRF also annually hosts an accredited course in Animal Breeding. Stud breeders who act as speakers at farmers’ days, etc. is strongly advised to attend this course.

The development of the industry is of utmost importance to the LRF. Therefore, in 2015, the LRF initiated and partially funded a study tour to Australia. The tour was attended by eight LRF breed representatives. This tour created the momentum for the development of international collaboration with breed societies in Australia and other parts of the world. The BGP project also originated from this tour’s momentum.

Today, the LRF is a recognized organization within the agricultural sector and its representatives serves on various organizations, e.g. the Red Meat Producer Organization (RPO) and the Cattle Identification and Traceability Board, where the LRF protects the rights of its members. The management of the LRF played a leading role in organizing the Red Meat Industry Day, which was held in Pretoria in March 2017 (http://www.rpo.co.za/red-meat-industry-workshop/). All the role players in the red meat value chain attended the day. The outcomes from this day have been widely reported in the media and played an instrumental role in the new vision that exist for the livestock industry today. The cooperation of the LRF with other organizations, such as the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), facilitates negotiations with regards to, e.g the feed intake stations and the meat quality laboratory.