The success of any livestock breeding concern depends on choosing a breed that makes economic sense and optimises returns on investment to ensure sustainability and profitability. That is why I chose Beefmasters.
I run a stud of 180 breeding female animals near Frankfort in the eastern Free State. I established the Blinkmeneer Beefmaster (Blinkmeneer) stud in 2010 and decided on the stud breeding route from the onset in order to realise optimal value.
The main objective at Blinkmeneer is to combine my passion for cattle with my passion for numbers, and thus to optimise economic return. In order to achieve this, Blinkmeneer’s selection principles are aligned with Tom Lasater’s (the founder of the Beefmaster) philosophy of the Six Essentials. I thus focus on fertility, hardiness, milk production, and weight gain. This means a cow must produce a calf every season, or she is culled. Moreover, she has to produce a calf with above-average performance. Beefmaster breeders pride themselves on maintaining the highest cow-to-calf weight ratio at weaning across all beef cattle breeds in the country.
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Taking the sting out of the drought
Living through long periods of minimal rainfall has become a way of life for many farmers in various parts of South Africa. Brett Walker, who farms mixed livestock in the Eastern Cape, spoke to Glenneis Kriel about the various ways in which he alleviates the impact of the ongoing seven-year drought in the region.
The basics of bull management
The money-maker in the herd is the bull, says eastern Free State Simbra breeder Rick Dell. He spoke to Annelie Coleman about the management and selection of breeding bulls for commercial cattle herds.
Living the organic farming fantasy in the Western Cape Winelands
Following the rebuilding of Tulbagh after the 1969 earthquake, Brian Berkman has discovered that this historic town is experiencing yet another revival with trendy art galleries and farm-to-table dining.
Benefits of irrigating with wastewater
A recent study by Dr James Meyer, a private consultant, and Dr Rian Pierneef, a researcher in bioinformatics at the Agricultural Research Council’s Biotechnology Platform, found that wastewater from piggeries significantly increased the microbial diversity of soil. Pieter Dempsey spoke to the researchers.
The pros and cons of drip irrigation
Drip irrigation saves water and electricity, but is not suitable for all crop types. So make sure you end up with the right system, says Bill Kerr.
Groote Post: channelling a crisis into an opportunity
In 2020, South Africa’s wine industry encountered an unusual challenge: a ban on the sale of alcohol as part of the fight against COVID-19. This crisis spurred Groote Post, a family-run wine farm outside Darling, to blend its Internet savvy and tourism offerings with its tradition of winemaking and selling. The farm’s Nick and Peter Pentz spoke to Jeandre van der Walt.
How composting works
Composting speeds up the natural decay of organic material by providing the ideal conditions for detritus-eating organisms to thrive. The result is nutrient-rich soil that helps plants grow.
A formula for successful fynbos production
Nico Thuynsma’s love for all things floral and horticultural, and fynbos in particular, led him to establish a nursery and cut flower operation in the Cullinan area of Gauteng, where he produces proteas and other types of fynbos. Pieter Dempsey spoke to him about his passion for growing these plants.
A charming countryside guest house
Ellas in Greyton offers exceptional food, lovely views and wonderful hospitality, says Brian Berkman.
Over-irrigating costs you money in terms of water and electricity, and may lower your crops’ potential. Under-irrigating is also detrimental. Learn to irrigate properly and at the optimal time, says Bill Kerr.