Experts to guide farmers

Informative workshop series aimed at sharing knowledge with East Cape milk producers

Eastern Cape dairy farmers will be looking for ways to turn their cash cows into even more lucrative assets when they have world leaders in animal nutrition and dairy management visiting next month.

Livestock breeding experts Genimex will be hosting a series of workshops throughout the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, bringing dairy experts from New Zealand to address any questions local dairy producers may have.

“Parts of our country already work within a production and management framework similar to a highly effective one used in New Zealand,” Genimex manager Chris Cloete said.

“We identified a number of other farmers who are striving toward the same effective practices and decided to organise this series of workshops.”

The first workshop takes place in the Tsitsikamma region on March 23.

According to Cloete, the workshops will concentrate more on cost-effective practices, as well as feed and resource management within regional climate constraints.

Speakers will include economists, farm management experts and renowned animal feeding expert Dr John Roche, of DairyNZ and Lincoln University in Christchurch.

“These sessions will consist of smaller groups, giving individuals the opportunity to ask as many questions as they like,” Cloete said.

“We want to create a more personal and comfortable environment.”

He said more than 100 farmers had already registered and bookings were still open for the next two weeks.

“The numbers show us the interest there is among farmers to engage with experts on platforms like these.”

Milk Producers’ Association Eastern Cape chairman Lourens Gildenhuys encouraged farmers to attend.

“I heard about these workshops and think they are an excellent idea. Any chance we get to learn from an expert like Roche is an opportunity to expand our entire industry,” he said.

Over the last decade, the number of milk producers in South Africa has dropped from more than 3 600 to fewer than 1 700. However, over the same period milk production and consumption has increased by about 72%.

The Eastern Cape produces about 32% of South Africa’s milk stocks.

“Much of the milk produced in our province, especially the Tsitsikamma region, is taken to the Western Cape, or north into other provinces,” Gildenhuys said.

“It shows that we play a vital role in the country’s dairy industry, and that is why we must keep on developing our strategies and methods, especially from a business management perspective.”

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