The LRF Stockman School was held from 12 to 14 October at Aldam resort. The conference brought various local speakers and industry experts from across the globe to South African livestock producers’ front porch. Topics included animal handling & management techniques, economics of livestock production, livestock genetics and successful breeding strategies. Afternoons were characterized by practical sessions. Beginner and seasoned farmers benefitted from discussions held and getting advice directly from the experts. We look forward to attending the school in 2023.
During the LRF Prizegiving dinner it was announced that the South African Society for Animal Science (SASAS) has awarded the Gold Medal award to Dr Michael Bradfield. The Medal was posthumously presented to Dr Michael Bradfield
“in acknowledgement of exceptional meritorious and original research or extension work in furtherance of Animal Science”.
The LRF applied for the award in honour of the work done by Michael to further the livestock industry to become profitable for producers. This is also the mission that the Wagyu Society continues to expand on and promote.
The LRF Stockman School started as an idea to educate South African livestock producers on livestock production. The LRF/BREEDPLAN symposium was held annually at Bloemfontein. The event was known for its prestigious award ceremony where livestock producers were recognised for their hard work during the year. The school has grown to a full conference that has become a major event on the livestock calendar every year. This is the first year where Wagyu producers also made the cut for the prestigious awards. Wagyu producers received awards in the following categories:
Proven bull of the year – BA150452 Mimosa Farming Pty Ltd (Namibia)
Eligible bulls must be three and a half years old or older. They must have a progeny of at least one hundred calves in three or more herds, of which twenty or more calves were born during the preceding two years. The bulls must have accurate breeding values and are determined according to their economic indices. For the breeds where indices are not available yet, a similar value is determined by linking economic weights to their breeding values. The values include birth, weaning, yearling, final and mature cow weight and scrotal circumference. Bulls must also meet minimum criteria for some of the traits.
Cow group of the year – LP Boerdery
Herds that are eligible for the award must have at least a three-star award for completeness of performance. The economic index of the herd is also looked at, if it is available for the breed, as well as characteristics such as days-to-calving (DTC). If DTC is not available, age at first calving and intercalving period are looked at. For the breeds where indices are not available, a similar value is determined by linking economic weights to their breeding values. The values include birth, weaning, yearling, final and mature cow weight and scrotal circumference.
Young bull of the year – IR200893 Infracor Stud Breeders
For the young bulls, the index values were looked at, as well as the measurements that were submitted to the Society. If the breed does not have DTC, its dam’s fertility was also looked at.
Congratulations to the recipients. We look forward to more Wagyu producers receiving recognition at future Stockman School prize giving ceremonies.
On the 9th of December 2021 the World Wagyu Council Awarded it first Wagyu Ambassador Award to the late Dr Michael Bradfield. The ambassador award is bestowed to any person who fosters the cooperation between member countries to best protect, promote and grow the Wagyu breed and brand globally.
“Through your efforts you have masterfully fostered the cooperative spirit between member countries to best protect, promote and grow the Wagyu breed and brand globally. Further, your optimism, encouragement, and passion has made the Wagyu world a better place. You are truly one of a kind, best in class and we honour you with our sincere gratitude”.
The award was presented to his wife, Dr Elmarie Bradfield by our COO, Ms Elandri de Bruyn, on behalf of the World Wagyu Council.
The Society has received reports of Wagyu stock theft. While the outbreak of foot and mouth remain on the forefront of discussions. It is important to stay aware of any risks that farmers may be vulnerable too. The latest stock theft statistics has shown a decrease of 5.75% in nationally reported cases. With a decrease of 5.67% in reported stolen cattle. The same report also states that the value of stolen livestock has increased by 11%. This translates to an economic loss of R909 427 107. It also worthy to note that 80% of stock theft cases are not reported. An article by TLU states that while the number of reported cases may have decreased. This could indicate that a larger number of livestock may be stolen at a time which may point to larger organised crime operations. Leading to less reported stock theft cases while stolen livestock numbers are still increasing.
In cases of stock theft, just as with disease prevention, the best defence is a good offence. Some practical guidelines include:
- Report all cases of stock theft (even unsuccessful attempts) and follow up on a regular basis
- Join your local Stock Theft Information Centre
- Attend monthly Rural Security meetings with SAPS and make sure that the issue of stock theft is on the agenda
- Make friends with the people in your community and join community forums
- Make sure your own documentation is in order when transporting stock (Complying to Article 6 & 8).
- Make sure you’re branding and tattooing your stock in the right manner
- Be careful at local auctions
- Keep farm gates and fences well maintained. Continuously monitor all entry points onto the farm
Stock theft is a pressing issue for the South African farmer. And is another example of how Wagyu is leading from the front. With the implementation of the Certified Wagyu Beef protocol and its comprehensive traceability system. The CWB protocol supports anti-stock theft principles through requirements such as:
- Ensuring that your cattle are properly tagged and correctly identified with the required Wagyu eartag & RFID tag
- DNA verification of calves. Allows for a DNA database to which stolen cattle can be profile matched
- Notifying the Society of all stock movements (stock to be sold or moved to feedlot and/or abattoir)
The RPO has released a manual for the prevention of stock theft. The manual can be downloaded by following the link https://rpo.co.za/manual-for-the-prevention-of-stock-theft/
A letter regarding the CWB audits have been circulated to the membership on the 2nd of November 2022. The CWB has been scheduling monthly audit information sessions for members being audited in the coming month. Members are telephonically and electronically notified of the scheduled information sessions. As well as the scheduled audit dates and times. Note: When a member does not show up for the scheduled audit (without prior notification), this is seen as non-compliance and results in a failed audit. To avoid a failed audit and a second audit charge, please ensure to set a reminder for the audit date and time. If you are unable to attend the audit, please notify the office immediately via email to reschedule the audit. An audit may only be rescheduled once. For more information contact Tumisang firstname.lastname@example.org or the CPG auditor Michael Soderlund email@example.com
As a farmer, you’re faced with an increased demand for sustainably-produced protein counterbalanced with the need to be profitable. The solution to pay dividends to your bottom line by producing more beef with less feed is now possible with individual animal management. Vytelle has created the industry’s first integrated livestock technology platform to help you identify the right genetics.
Vytelle curates the world’s largest multibreed efficiency database incorporating 25 breeds. With increasing pressure on input costs and demands to report and verify production; there has been significant investment in technology. Insights provided from this technology – through capture and reporting – are related to sustainable and efficient production. There are seven Wagyu animals in the top 25% most feed efficient cattle in the entire database of nearly 284,000 animals. The database includes phenotypic feed efficiency data on over 1,600 Wagyu bulls, heifers, and steers from five different sites around the world. Of the 1,600 cattle, 274 Wagyu heifers and bulls have been included in Vytelle’s multi-breed efficiency database to calculate expected breeding values (EBVs).
Feed conversion ratios (FCR) of over 53,000 efficiency-tested cattle in Vytelle’s database shows that, on average, cattle consume 7.23 kg, on a dry matter basis, for every kilogram of gain. Selection for NFI in the breeding herd can significantly impact feed conversion and feed savings in the feedlot, especially for long-fed Wagyu programs. A 15% improvement in efficiency, which is highly probable when selecting for NFI, results in an average FCR of 6.15:1. When considering a feeding period of 450 days with feedlot entry and finishing weights of 300 kg and 725 kg, respectively; along with feed costs of R 4,138.20/tonne as fed (R 6897/tonne of dry matter given a ration with a 60% dry matter content), a 15% improvement in efficiency will result in feed savings of R 3,178.91/head. A 15% improvement in efficiency in the feedlot is significant, but further improvements are possible; 11% of the efficiency-tested cattle in the Vytelle database have FCRs below 5:1.
Selecting for feed efficiency – arguably the single most valuable trait in beef production – reduces the labour costs and methane emissions* while increasing sustainability. Animal intakes and body weights are recorded with our Feed Intake
Nodes and In-Pen Weighing Positions to help you maximize profits, select for low net feed intake (NFI) cattle, and breed confidently.
* Lamb, G.C. and Maddock, T. (2009), “Feed Efficiency in Cows”, Beef Cattle Short Course, North Florida Research and Education Center, FL.
The English version of the Breeders Manual was launched at the Wagyu Conference held in August. Currently the Afrikaans version is under review at the Society. There is still opportunity to advertise in the Afrikaans manual. The manuals are an all-in-one document with everything you need to know about Wagyu in South Africa. In this version Namibia is also included for the first time. Both manuals will be used as primary marketing material during 2023 at all events. It will also be distributed to Agricultural Schools, Universities, and prospective breeders. The Society would like to offer breeders the first opportunity to advertise in the Afrikaans manual. We implore our members to support the manual as we can’t publish without advertisements. To reserve your advert please contact Charmaine Alberts at firstname.lastname@example.org or 082 9223 747.
During 2022 FMD has spread throughout 5 provinces within South Africa. This has had many negative implications for producers such as livestock movement restrictions and raised consumer concern. The outbreak of FMD in 2019 caused South Africa to lose its OIE FMD-Free status. The impact on the countries red meat exports was significant with countries reinstating bans on all beef from South Africa. As a state notifiable disease controlling the disease remains the duty of state. Which include vaccinations and control of livestock movements. However, winning back South Africa’s FMD-Free status will take some time. This leave producers in a quite a predicament. In a country where producers are primarily price takers, exports play an enormous role in the price retailers are willing to pay to producers. Exports gives the producer an alternative avenue in which to sell his products at a better price. This negotiating power affects all producers selling to the local market in any capacity. While state is working towards recovering its FMD-free status many have started looking towards less FMD sensitive countries. The Society is fortunate to be able to assist with getting producers in contact with the right people that can give them better direction. We therefore urge any producers looking into the export market to get in touch with Elandri at email@example.com.