Blog

Beefmaster Foundation Launches National Endowment Campaign

- Exceeds Phase One Goal of $1 Million

BOERNE, Texas – During Beefmaster Breeders United’s (BBU) recent convention in Galveston, Texas, national campaign co-chairs Mackie Bounds and Bob Siddons, announced the public launch of the “Foundation for the Future” endowment campaign, an initiative to secure a permanent financial base which will enable the Beefmaster Educational Endowment Foundation (B.E.E.F.) to aggressively accomplish research and education, which will help to both enhance the breed and provide credible scientific research and information for BBU members and the public on the benefits of the Beefmaster breed.

The phase one goal of the campaign was to secure $1 million in pledges, which may be paid over five years, at the time of the public launching of the campaign.

“We have now already made history with over $1 million having been committed at the launch of the campaign today and that the committee is now moving forward to the phase two goal of $2 million in 2018,” said co-chair Bob Siddons.

Co-chair Mackie Bounds informed the attendees that with a permanent endowment in place — the Foundation will fund educational and breed specific scientific research from the earnings from the endowments corpus leaving donated monies in perpetuity. He also announced that anyone donating to the campaign in 2017 will be recognized as a Foundation “Founding Member”.

All new foundation campaign donors and those who may have increased their respective pledges will be formally recognized each year at BBU’s convention and throughout the year. Furthermore, it should be noted that all donations to B.E.E.F. are fully tax-deductible as provided by law.

The following individuals were publicly recognized for their generous support of the “Foundation for the Future” and, in addition, were recognized as a “Founding Member” of the endowment campaign:

The Breeder’s Legacy Society

Foundation Governor – $100,000+

Mackie & Norma Jean Bounds

Bill & Dusty Carr

Tim & Debbie Chapman

Mike & Rhonda Collier

Dr. Jim & Pam Colvin

Clark Jones

Bob & Bonnie Siddons

Foundation Regent – $50,000+

Larry Meacham

Dalton & Kathy Skinner

Foundation Fellow – $25,000+

Anonymous

Farm & Ranch [Kito & Leti Saenz]

Dan & Karen Gattis

Heritage Cattle Company

Dr. Roger & Cindy Holden

ISA Beefmaster [Lorenzo Lasater & Family]

Sheldon & Margaret McManus

Tony & Karen Psencik

Rick Stonecipher

J.C. & Teri Thompson

Ray & Kathy Walther

Foundation Patron – $15,000+

Foundation Beefmasters – Dale & Alex Lasater

Foundation Guarantor – $10,000+

Andy & Kim Boudreau

Roger & Kaye Fuller

Gerald Galbraith

John & Sue Pierson

Foundation Benefactor – $5,000+

Steve & Lana Carpenter

Melaine Hardwick

Tom & Deidra Hood

Larry Lairmore

Dave Loftin

Anthony & Harriet Mihalski

John Rediger

Bruce & Annette Robbins

San Gabriel Beefmasters [Barry Parker]

Ray Walker

Robert & Carol Williams

3G Sales & Service

Foundation Sponsor – $1,000+

John & Barbara Evangelo

Gary Frenzel

Lawrence & Cynthia Lyssy

John & Heather Long

Kendall & Vivian McKenzie

Ronnie Teague

###

The Beefmaster Educational Endowment Foundation (B.E.E.F.) is a 501(c)3 not for profit corporation formed in 2009. B.E.E.F., is dedicated to making a great breed of cattle even better through scientific research, education of the breed’s future leaders and providing valuable information to the public about the Beefmaster breed as a superior meat production animal.

Posted in BBU News Releases | Tagged | Leave a comment

Ways AI Pays: High-Dollar Bulls Build Better Heifers

 

By Boyd Kidwell
Progressive Farmer Contributing Editor – Original Post on Progressive Farmer

Mike Mutch uses bulls worth six figures on his beef farm near Silk Hope, North Carolina. That may not be unheard of in the cattle industry, but for a part-time producer with 38 cows, it’s a definite point of pride. What makes it possible? Artificial insemination (AI). The technology allows producers like Mutch to tap into the country’s best beef genetics. He credits it for his top-notch Angus cow herd, built over the past 15 years.

Mutch has a unique business plan. He AIs commercial Angus cows with semen from top sires. He then breeds heifers from the cross and keeps the young females for one or two calves. After that, he sells proven three- to four-year-old cows to other cattlemen building herds.

“I’m focused on the replacement female market. A lot of cattlemen don’t want to deal with calving heifers, and I can sell them—proven young cows that have raised outstanding calves,” says Mutch.

GENDER-SORTED SEMEN

To maximize production of females, Mutch uses gender-sorted semen. Sorted semen costs approximately twice as much as regular semen from the same sire, and the straws contain smaller quantities.

Gender-sorted semen helps a producer like Mutch produce higher percentages of female offspring. It can also work for a higher percentage of males — in the case of a producer looking to produce bulls or more steers for the feedlot, for instance. While not perfect, the gender-sorted, or sexed, semen has a success rate of 58%, says Mutch’s veterinarian, Richard Kirkman, of Siler City, N.C. Kirkman AIs Mutch’s herd.

BEST GENETICS AT A BARGAIN

Using AI, a producer could pick the best 2% of all bulls in a breed to sire the next generation of calves. That’s one of the huge advantages the technology offers the industry.

“There’s no way commercial producers can afford to buy that kind of sire for their cow herds,” says veterinarian Dee Whittier, a bovine specialist at Virginia Tech. “You may also inject genetics from another breed into your herd, without buying bulls from that breed.”

Whittier has a set of costs-versus-benefits that help producers considering using AI on commercial herds. He says based on a 100-cow herd, AI costs are approximately $49.50 per cow. These costs include drugs used to synchronize estrus in cows to prepare them for breeding, the cost of AI semen, and the cost of AI technicians and labor to bring cows through the chute three times.

He adds that semen companies often give volume discounts, so commercial producers can purchase semen from proven bulls with solid Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) for less than $20 per straw.

“My philosophy for breeding commercial cattle is that you don’t chase the newest and hottest bulls with the highest semen costs,” Whittier says. “You can economize on semen and still get very good, proven bulls.”

In addition, thanks to synchronization, research shows a 100-cow herd bred using AI produces an average of three more calves, compared to a natural service herd.

NET MORE PER COW

Virginia cattleman Terry Slusher estimated the return on AI with his commercial beef herd at approximately $177 more per cow/calf pair in 2016. Based near Floyd, he says he pencils that out this way: Synchronized breeding on 160 cows means 89% of Slusher’s calves are born the first 30 days of his calving season. These early-born calves gain approximately 2 pounds per day and are heavier at weaning than calves born later in the season. With retained ownership of steers, he says AI steers are worth more at harvest due to heavier hot carcass weights and a higher percentage of Choice or better quality grades.

Over that year, the “return to cow” for AI-sired calves was $177 more than for calves sired by natural service, says Slusher. AI-sired steers averaged 38.6 pounds heavier on hot carcass weight. Slusher’s AI conception rate is 68% (over a five-year period). He notes the conception rates improve as cows become conditioned to AI protocols.

“I can’t imagine anyone being a full-time cattle farmer and not using AI,” says Slusher. “AI breeding is a lot of work, but it pays off when you see calves sired by top bulls.”

AI SCHOOL PAYOFF

When Brian Melloan took over Channarock Farms from his father-in-law, Charlie Jones, in 2014, the 38-year-old cattleman from Rockfield, Ky., headed straight for the AI School at Mississippi State University.

Channarock Farms has long been on the cutting edge for Beefmaster seedstock, and Melloan knew he wanted to use AI to freshen up the herd’s genetics. He used semen from the country’s top Beefmaster bulls.

The move was not without precedent. Jones had also relied on AI to build the Beefmaster herd on the family’s western Kentucky ranch.

“I see AI as one of the key tools to keep us marching forward in the cattle business,” says Melloan. “AI gives us the ability to use the best bulls of the breed to build up carcass quality and weight gains in our cattle.”

Using the techniques and practices he learned at AI School, Melloan bred 175 cows from late 2014 to early 2015. His success rate was an outstanding 75%. He’s looking forward to selling AI-sired bulls to commercial producers.

“The commercial cattleman is our No. 1 customer,” says Melloan. “As producers restock herds, they want Beefmaster bulls that will put more pounds on calves at weaning and also have the genetics for carcass characteristics feedlot buyers are looking for.”

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Wittenburg Honored with Beefmaster Legends Award

 

BOERNE, Texas – Hans Wittenburg of Edna, Texas was presented the Legends Award by Nolan Ryan during the 57th Annual Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) Convention “Beefmasters on the Bay” in Galveston, Texas. The Legends Award was started in 2002 by then BBU president Nolan Ryan and is awarded to members who have been raising Beefmaster cattle for 50 years or more. There have been eight previous Legends Award recipients prior to Hans Wittenburg.

Wittenburg grew up in Lockhart, Texas and graduated from Texas A&M University in 1950 with a bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry and was commissioned second lieutenant in the United States Army. As a young man fresh out of college, Hans married his wife Mary Ann on January 28, 1951, and went to work for Green Valley Cattle Co. in San Marcos, Texas. During this time, he saw his first Beefmaster cattle, and their performance at the feedlot made a memorable impression on him. After serving in the Army for two years, Wittenburg began working with his father-in-law at John Deere of Edna, Texas in 1955 and he went on to own the John Deere dealership until 1998. During this time he was named Jackson County’s Chamber of Commerce “Man of the Year” in 1967 and he became an active member of BBU in 1968 after purchasing his first Beefmasters at a sale in Alice, Texas.

As a Beefmaster breeder he has influenced and paved the way for advancements in the breed for almost fifty years. In 1976, Wittenburg served as the president of the Lone Star Beefmaster Breeders Association and went on to serve on the BBU board of directors for eight years, serving in all officer positions including president. In 1983, Wittenburg was selected as the BBU breeder of the year and also went on to serve a second term on the BBU board of directors. From 1968 until 2015, Wittenburg served as chairman or member of every BBU committee, including a decade of service to the breed improvement committee. In 2003, Wittenburg was inducted into the BBU Hall of Fame and throughout the years has been awarded Jackson County “Rancher of the Year” multiple times. Wittenburg has consigned a number of animals to various Beefmaster sales over the years, ultimately having the good fortune of winning grand champion numerous times at the sales and futurities.

Hans and Mary Ann have three sons Fritz, Randy (wife Joanie), and Joe Mack (wife Beverly) and Hans is the beloved “papa” to ten grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren, with two more on the way. Hans Wittenburg is truly a legend within the Beefmaster breed and a well-known man throughout the agriculture community.

For more information about Beefmaster Breeders United please contact the BBU office at 210-732-3132 or visit www.beefmasters.org. Stay connected to BBU through Facebook, view our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and receive our news updates through joining our mailing list.

###

Beefmaster Breeders United (www.beefmasters.org), located in Boerne, Texas, is a not-for-profit breed registration organization that provides programs and services for its members. Beefmaster, Beefmaster Advancer and E6 cattle are selected on the “Six Essentials” of disposition, fertility, weight, conformation, milk production and hardiness.

Posted in BBU News Releases | Tagged | Leave a comment

Welkener Selected as Beefmaster Cattlewoman of the Year

 

Marie Welkener of Kenedy, Texas, was announced as the 2017 Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) Cattlewoman of the Year during the 57th Annual BBU Convention “Beefmasters on the Bay” in Galveston, Texas.

Marie Welkener is a woman dedicated to the Beefmaster breed and has been an intricate part of the Beefmaster Breeders Cattlewomen (BBC) for many years. Welkener is currently the BBC president and has served on numerous BBU committees over the years. She most recently was the convention committee chair and led the association to yet another successful convention.

BBC is an organization dedicated to assisting Beefmaster Breeders United in promoting the Beefmaster breed, educating the public to the merits of the breed, assisting the junior programs, and participating in any other projects deemed appropriate by the members. Each year a Cattlewoman of the Year is selected by her peers and she is a representative of the hard work and dedication the group provides to the Beefmaster breed and cattle industry.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Oklahoma Cattleman Selected as Beefmaster Breeder of the Year

 

BOERNE, Texas – Tom and Deidra Hood, Hidden Hollow Beefmasters of Tahlequah, Okla., were announced as the 2017 Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) Breeder of the Year during the 57th Annual BBU Convention “Beefmasters on the Bay” in Galveston, Texas.

Tom and Deidra have been BBU members since 1984 and are active members of the Central States Beefmaster Breeders Association (CSBBA), Arkansas Beefmaster Breeders Association, Central Texas Beefmaster Breeders Association, Louisiana Beefmaster Breeders Association and the Ozark and Heart of America Beefmaster Marketing Group (OHOA). The Hoods played an important role in the success of both OHOA and CSBBA for more than a decade, serving as sale manager for their annual sales and serving in multiple leadership roles, including on the board of directors. Tom also served on the BBU board of directors from 2014 to 2016 and this dynamic duo has worked for over three decades marketing Beefmaster cattle throughout the United States.

The Hoods take pride in being whole herd reporting members and recording one-hundred percent of their calf crop with BBU for the past 20 years. They understand the importance of BBU classification and ranch visits, through both of these programs they have been able to improve their cattle herd and gain Typesetter status on several animals. The Hoods have implemented artificial insemination and embryo transfer into their breeding program. About eighty percent of their heifers are artificially inseminated for their first calf, while forty percent of their breeding females are inseminated with top performance bulls. They have collected ultrasound data on their entire calf crop since 2012 and have used this data for heifer and bull selection. All herd sires are selected for minimum intramuscular fat (IMF) and ribeye area (REA) values, ratios and expected progeny differences (EPDs). EPDs are front and center for their program, as well as DNA verification. All of these practices have ultimately led to extremely quick genetic progress for Hidden Hollow Beefmasters.

“Their main goal is to produce functional, quality bulls for the commercial cattleman,” said Wesley Hood, the son of Tom and Deidra. “They have used their position as sale managers to market thousands of Beefmasters to a vast array of commercial producers, advancing the breed in various areas. But more importantly, they have utmost integrity.”

The Hood Beefmaster operation is a complete family enterprise. Their son and daughter-in-law are active partners in the cattle and sales management business, while also operating their own veterinary clinic and Beefmaster herd. Tom and Deidra also have two granddaughters that are active in showing cattle through the Junior Beefmaster Breeders Association. Overall, the goal of the Hood family is to continue Beefmaster genetic advancement and family ownership for many more years to come.

The BBU Breeder of the Year award was created to recognize the efforts and contributions made by members to promote BBU and Beefmaster cattle, while also evaluating the type, size and management practices of the member’s breeding program. The award requires that the breeder is an active BBU member in good standing, and has not received this award in the previous seven years.

For more information about Beefmaster Breeders United please contact the BBU office at 210-732-3132 or visit www.beefmasters.org. Stay connected to BBU through Facebook, view our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and receive our news updates through joining our mailing list.

###

Beefmaster Breeders United (www.beefmasters.org), located in Boerne, Texas, is a not-for-profit breed registration organization that provides programs and services for its members. Beefmaster, Beefmaster Advancer and E6 cattle are selected on the “Six Essentials” of disposition, fertility, weight, conformation, milk production and hardiness.

Posted in BBU News Releases | Tagged | 2 Comments

Kentucky Cattleman Selected as Beefmaster New Member of the Year

 

BOERNE, Texas – Brian and Becca Melloan, Channarock Farm of Rockfield, Ky., were announced as the 2017 Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) New Member of the Year during the 57th Annual BBU Convention “Beefmasters on the Bay” in Galveston, Texas.

Brian and Becca, along with their son Garrett, are lifetime members of BBU and the Southeastern Beefmaster Breeders Association (SEBBA). They participate in whole herd reporting and they DNA test all of their embryo donor cows. They also ultrasound and measure all animals on the farm, use artificial insemination and embryo transfer significantly, and they are proud supporters of the Junior Beefmaster Breeders Association (JBBA). Brian is on the SEBBA Board of Directors, BBU International Committee, South 40 Committee, Chair of the SEBBA Executive Sale Committee, and the manager of the first SEBBA bull test.

“The Melloans are in this for the long haul and are making every effort to be successful,” said SEBBA Executive Secretary Ronnie Teague. “Brian loves the cattle. After taking over the operation, following the unexpected death of his father-in-law, he is beginning to make the operation their own.”

Brian has worked on multiple sale committees, where he promotes the sale and handles any problems that arise. Becca and Garrett are also very active in SEBBA; she helps with fundraising and auctions, while Garrett shows a Beefmaster animal at both JBBA and SEBBA events. The Melloans understand the importance of marketing their cattle. They advertise in The Beefmaster Pay Weight, The Beefmaster Cowman, and participate in SEBBA cooperative advertisements. They also recently started a new website to promote their cattle.

Brian and Becca are very hands on when trying to improve their cattle herd. They recently completed ultrasound training and purchased a machine, which will improve time management when ultrasound scanning their animals. They also understand the importance of helping others and recently sponsored a new breeder in their area, helping him get started in the Beefmaster business.

“The Melloans have impeccable integrity and honesty,” said Teague.

The BBU New Member of the Year award was created to recognize the efforts and contributions made by members to promote BBU and Beefmaster cattle. The new member must have been a BBU member for less than eight years or had an extensive ownership/management change for that membership number for less than eight years.

For more information about Beefmaster Breeders United please contact the BBU office at 210-732-3132 or visit www.beefmasters.org. Stay connected to BBU through Facebook, view our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and receive our news updates through joining our mailing list.

###

Beefmaster Breeders United (www.beefmasters.org), located in Boerne, Texas, is a not-for-profit breed registration organization that provides programs and services for its members. Beefmaster, Beefmaster Advancer and E6 cattle are selected on the “Six Essentials” of disposition, fertility, weight, conformation, milk production and hardiness.

Posted in BBU News Releases | Tagged | Leave a comment

Tennessee Cattleman Selected as Beefmaster Performance Breeder of the Year

 

BOERNE, Texas – Clark Jones, Jones Beefmasters of Savannah, Tenn., was announced as the 2017 Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) Performance Breeder of the Year during the 57th Annual BBU Convention “Beefmasters on the Bay” in Galveston, Texas. The award was presented to ranch owner Clark Jones and ranch manager Justin Williams during the awards luncheon.

Performance, phenotype and functionality are the main goals of Jones’ breeding program. Jones has submitted over 4,000 records to BBU since 1992 and evaluates his cattle for birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, carcass merit, scrotal and cow productivity. Over the past 30 years Jones has striven to produce the best Beefmaster cattle he can, by utilizing new technology and proven methods. Jones and Williams record performance data on all heifers and use that information to select replacements from the group. Females with poor performance in growth, as well as carcass data, will be culled from the herd.

“Quality is a powerful thing. For a female to achieve embryo donor status she must be in the top of the breed for EPD traits, have good actual data and have a phenotype that is as close to perfect as possible,” said Jones.

Jones is also very strict on his evaluation of herd sires, AI sires and commercial bulls. Jones culls the bulls that do not meet certain criteria, without question. All bulls must have at least one inch ribeye per hundred pounds of body weight and a minimum of 2.0 IMF, as well as pass a breeding soundness exam by 14 months of age.

Jones actively and progressively collects DNA on every calf born on the ranch and submits the DNA to BBU, this helps increase the accuracy of their EPDs and is beneficial to the BBU database. In the future, Jones plans to implement more DNA technology into the operation and continue to use ultrasound technology to measure carcass quality in their cattle.

Jones is an active member of the Southeastern Beefmaster Breeders Association (SEBBA) and consigns to the SEBBA, Live Oak Beefmaster Breeders Association and Texoma performance bull tests. He has also served in multiple capacities within BBU leadership, including president and serving on the board of directors.

The BBU Performance Breeder of the Year award was created to recognize members who are whole herd reporting breeders, collect performance and ultrasound data, as well as have superb management practices within their breeding program.

For more information about Beefmaster Breeders United please contact the BBU office at 210-732-3132 or visit www.beefmasters.org. Stay connected to BBU through Facebook, view our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and receive our news updates through joining our mailing list.

###

Beefmaster Breeders United (www.beefmasters.org), located in Boerne, Texas, is a not-for-profit breed registration organization that provides programs and services for its members. Beefmaster, Beefmaster Advancer and E6 cattle are selected on the “Six Essentials” of disposition, fertility, weight, conformation, milk production and hardiness.

Posted in BBU News Releases | Tagged | Leave a comment

Texas Cattleman Selected as Beefmaster Member of the Year

 

BOERNE, Texas – Trey and Mona Scherer of Brenham, Texas, were announced as the 2017 Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) Member of the Year during the 57th Annual BBU Convention “Beefmasters on the Bay” in Galveston, Texas.

Trey has been a member of BBU since 1986 and has produced Beefmaster cattle for over 30 years. Trey and Mona work as a team to manage Collier Farms Beefmasters and they both serve on multiple BBU committees. Trey currently serves on the BBU Board of Directors and the Live Oak Beefmaster Breeders Association (LOBBA) Board of Directors. Trey is a member of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Matagorda County Cattleman’s Association. Scherer has also served on the board of the Washington County Cattleman’s group, which operates through Texas AgriLife to produce an annual Cow/Calf Clinic open to all of Central Texas.

Scherer has been extremely dedicated to the promotion and success of the Beefmaster breed. He has been instrumental in the creation and hosting of domestic tours, international tours and field days, as well as assisting the Texas Department of Agriculture and Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo with the production of educational events focused on Beefmaster cattle.

“Most Beefmaster breeders, whom Trey has encountered, will tell you that he goes out of his way to help consult issues, evaluate cattle and aide in the marketing of their cattle with no expectation of financial reward,” said LOBBA President, Melvin Scherer Jr. “He truly desires for other breeders to be successful with their operations because he believes that the long-term success of the breed as a whole, will lead to ample opportunity for his program to profit.”

Overall, Trey and Mona take pride in the legacy of honest dealings and strong character they have inherited from their family’s history in the Beefmaster breed. They plan to continue that heritage throughout their career and through their three sons: Raleigh, Caeden and Colt, who are members of the Junior Beefmaster Breeders Association (JBBA).

The BBU Member of the Year award was created to recognize the efforts and contributions made by members to promote BBU and Beefmaster cattle. This award differs from the Breeder of the Year award in that it recognizes service to the breed and to the association, without regard to the type, size and management practice of the member’s breeding program.

For more information about Beefmaster Breeders United please contact the BBU office at 210-732-3132 or visit www.beefmasters.org. Stay connected to BBU through Facebook, view our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and receive our news updates through joining our mailing list.

###

Beefmaster Breeders United (www.beefmasters.org), located in Boerne, Texas, is a not-for-profit breed registration organization that provides programs and services for its members. Beefmaster, Beefmaster Advancer and E6 cattle are selected on the “Six Essentials” of disposition, fertility, weight, conformation, milk production and hardiness.

Posted in BBU News Releases | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Mind-boggling differences between South Africa and Australia

 

By JENNY KELLY, The Weekly Times

Story Originally Published by The Weekly Times

Staff supervision: Farm manager Jurie De Wet from Shawe Beefmasters at Dundee and (below) a stockman moves cattle. Picture: Jenny Kelly

Traveling around South Africa, it quickly becomes apparent that staffing levels and people management are the eye-opening differences between farming here and in Australia.

Labour is so cheap that the classic Aussie story of multiple council workers leaning on a shovel to fill in a pothole is more like 20 people over here.

Soon after arriving here the tour bus ran into roadworks and, on my count, it took three people to move a little gate across the road like a stop/go sign.

And then you visit farms and find out details about labour and wages and the reaction is … “seriously?”

A dairy farm at Dundee milking 850 cows had 100 permanent employees.

A mixed farm near the Kruger National Park, running 200 to 250 Nguni cows plus sugar cane and a citrus orchard on about 1000ha also had 100 permanent employees plus additional seasonal workers during harvests.

A grazing property running 1200 Beefmaster cows on 8500ha had 55 permanent employees.

Jurie De Wet, manager of the Shawe family’s Beefmaster operation at Dundee, said his main role was supervising workers.

“Most days I get home as clean as a whistle. Really it’s all about managing people and making sure they are doing their jobs,’’ he said.

Like Australia, there are varying wage structures for different jobs and abilities.

A basic farm worker appears to be among the lowest paid people in South Africa. Mr De Wet said his team of 55 indigenous workers were paid an average of 2400 rand a month, about $250.

The dairy farm paid workers more, about 3500 rand, or about $370, a month.

Australian farmers on the tour said it cost about $50,000 to employ a general farm worker for a year. It means producers in South Africa can employ 10 to 20 workers for a similar cost to one Australian employee.

And it shows up in what properties can do. The dairy farm had Dundee milking 850 cows had an intensive operation of the cows in undercover sheds and milked on a 60 cow rotary three times a day.

The milking times were 5am to about 9.30am; 1pm to 5pm; and 8pm to nearly midnight.

Kevin Fedderke, who was managing the 3000ha operation for his family, said they were concentrating on production and were currently averaging 28.5 litres per cow and were aiming for 32 litres.

Their top Friesian cows, which are managed to perform and drafted and fed accordingly each week, were doing up to 60 litres per day.

When we visited they were tagging cows with new Allflex electronic ID and Mr Fedderke said they were updating equipment to try to end human error in the milking shed.

He said they had been using visual ID tags, and the milkers were required to punch in each cow’s number, but some workers had the habit of using the same number repeatedly.

“So at the end of the week we had cows doing hundreds of litres a day and others which hadn’t been milked at all,’’ he said, highlighting the issue of people management.

The dairy industry in South Africa appears to be under similar pressure to Australia in rising costs compared to milk returns.

Another farm visited, Orange Grove Dairy near Dundee, has the oldest registered dairy farm in South Africa, with a Jersey herd going back 90 years, and chief executive officer Peter Durham said the industry was changing.

He said while there used to be 40,000 dairy farms across the country there were now 1600 and the average size was about 800 cows.

He said there had been a 400 per cent increase in electricity prices since 2007. He has now started to develop a pasture-based property to move away from the costs of intensive feeding.

Mr Fedderke said they were receiving 5.10 rand, or about 50c, per litre of milk. It was costing 55 rand, about $5.70, per cow per day to feed. He said feed was 40 per cent of production costs.

He said their dairy farm, which began in 2006, was still developing and not yet profitable.

“You need 1000 cows to break even,’’ he said: “But we can see in the future that if we have 1000 to 1200 cows doing 32 litres a day then we will be smiling.’’

The beef sector in South Africa seems to have a more positive vibe.

A visit to a Beefmaster grazing property, also near Dundee, was fascinating. Not least because they were feeding chicken litter, scrapped straight out of poultry sheds complete with little white feathers, direct to all their cattle and it had Australian eyes popping.

Mr De Wet manages the property for the Shawe family and it was a mix of 1200 registered and commercial cows over 8500 ha, plus a feedlot.

An interesting difference was the bulls. The group inspected a group of 100 rising three-year-olds which were being prepared for sale in August and they had all been used on the property, or as Mr De Wet referred to them as “non-virgins’’.

Like Australia, he said African beef prices had lifted after a drought that had caused a cull of females and tighter supplies. As an example he said last week they had paid 36 rand (about $3.70) per kilogram liveweight for weaner calves for the feedlot. This time last year the price was 22 rand/kg.

Mr De Wet said they sold 45 calves a week to meat wholesalers from the feedlot and were receiving 45 rand/kg carcass weight or ($4.63).

He said financials for the feedlot were tracking well, due in part to cheap grain, and “there is 800 rand (about $82) profit every time a calf leaves the feedlot’’.

For the Australians the fascination was with labour. The property had workers on horses who went around every day counting herds to check health but also guard against theft.

Crime appears to be huge issue in Africa, and the amount of razor wire and extreme electric fencing (some 10 wires high) is mind-boggling.

Mr De Wet said it was important to pick up problems quickly, and the area had something called Farm Watch, basically a telephone and radio network between farms.

“You need to know of a problem quickly so you can do something about it,’’ he said.

There was also a team of workers who deliver chicken litter to the herd at a rate of 14kg per animal over two feeds per week. He said they vaccinated against bacterial issues.

Milking at midnight. Feeding chicken poo to cattle. It couldn’t happen in Australia which is why visiting a place like Africa is so fascinating.

Jenny Kelly is leading a tour for The Weekly Times and Swagman to South Africa.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Beefmaster has strong presence at Ozark Farmfest

 

On Oct. 6, 7 and 8, visitors descended upon the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds in Springfield, Mo., for the largest farm and ranch show in the Ozarks featuring the latest in agricultural technology and rural living products and services. With 800 booths and over 500 head of registered livestock at the show, visitors found plenty to see during the Farmfest weekend. Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) was one of the trade show booth participants at this year’s Farmfest. As part of the booth, several BBU breeders had Beefmaster cattle on display. The following breeders displayed their cattle: Lawrence and Connie Shuey: Berachiah Beefmasters, Paul and Rhonda Wallen: Wallen Prairie Ranch, Craig and Karen Johnson: St. Clair Beefmasters, and Jared and Brandi Gentry: Gentry Family Farms. Vaughn Family Farms also had a booth on display without cattle and Berachiach Beefmasters also had a booth on display next to the BBU booth. The BBU breeders present at the show handed out Beefmaster literature, promotional items and copies of The Beefmaster Pay Weight. There was so much traffic at the trade show that they ran out of Beefmaster literature. Admission is free to the event and over 35,000 people visit the festival every year and a majority of these people make their way through the cattle barns, where the Beefmaster booths and cattle are on display.

 

 

 

 

Posted in General | Tagged | Leave a comment