Angus Williamson, a judge from SA Fatstock Judges Association and Voermol, explains his findings to the spectators at the mini steers competition
PHOTO: Larry Bentley
THE Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) held a farmers’ day and mini show outside Mtubatuba on Friday.
Besides informative talks about livestock, pupils from neighbouring schools participated in a steers competition.
Sizwe Mthethwa discusses feedlots with the farmers PHOTO: Larry Bentley
After careful study of the cattle on show, SA Fatstock Judges Association and Voermol representative, Angus Williamson, named the show champion and reserve champion steers prepared by Cebo Mthembu and Sphelele Gumede respectively.
Steers are paraded around the rink for judging PHOTO: Larry Bentley
After the judging, DARD uMkhanyakude Deputy Director Bridget Mncwango welcomed the farmers and pupils.
She said the purpose of the meeting was to share the latest information on livestock management so that the farmers can improve the condition of their herds and achieve the best prices at sales.
DARD uMkhanyakude Deputy Director Bridget Mncwango welcomes the farmers PHOTO: Larry Bentley
The first speaker was F Washayanyika, who spoke about the importance of veld management.
He said to maintain good pastures, one third of the farm needs to be rested during rainy seasons.
Steer judging under the watchful eye of Angus Williamson PHOTO: Larry Bentley
He also said it is ideal to have 5ha available for each cow.
K Mtshali spoke on the breeding, selection and culling of cattle.
He emphasised the importance of farming being done according to economic principles.
He said research shows that community herd structures have too many bulls and oxen.
The show champion (ifront) and reserve champion steers are led by their handlers Cebo Mthembu and Sphelele Gumede PHOTO: Larry Bentley
The ideal breeding cow produces one calf per year and these healthy cows need to be selected for breeding purposes.
Selective breeding will ensure herd improvement, genes are passed on to their offspring, produces fitter and stronger animals and will increase the market value of their livestock.
A student intern with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Siphuxolo Ntshangase, inspects a herd of goats in a pen at the farmers’ day PHOTO: Larry Bentley
The final speaker of the meeting was Sizwe Mthethwa, who explained the role of feedlots in producing top class carcasses for the abattoir.
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Journalist / Editor: Agri Eco