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Industry and public benefit from Agri-Expo Livestock and the Groot Plaasproe

The sixth annual Agri-Expo Livestock and the Groot Plaasproe, held from 10 to 13 October 2019 at Sandringham near Stellenbosch, attracted almost 15 000 people this year. A total of 30 different championships, competitions and activities were presented. Visitors could also see top animals of various breeds competing with close to 20 breeders’ societies involved.

agriexpo livestock plaasproe 2019Dr. Ivan Meyer, Western Cape MEC for Agriculture and Johan Ehlers, Chief Executive Officer of Agri-Expo,
along with twins Isabelle and Larissa Marais, Grade 3 learners from Huguenot Primary School in Wellington,
and the farmer Ettienne van Wyk of Marydale in the Northern Cape.

According to Johan Ehlers, Chief Executive Officer of Agri-Expo, it is gratifying that this year Livestock could, amid the difficult drought and sluggish economy, make such a huge impact on so many lives, including established and new farmers, agri workers, entrepreneurs, and, especially school children.

“We received excellent feedback from the industry and the public on the impact of Livestock’s diverse programmes. This underlines our goal of bringing the farmer and the public closer together. The value of Livestock lies in the fact that it is a unique opportunity where the public can experience the entire value chain of different livestock industries in an accessible way.”

Highlights at this year’s Livestock included the biggest dairy show in South Africa, the biggest beef cattle interbreed championships of its kind, the biggest structured agricultural educational schools’ programme, as well as the biggest rabbit show and the only dairy goat show in the Western Cape.

Thousands of school children experience agriculture

More than 3 000 learners attended a free schools’ programme, in partnership with the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA). Over the past six years, this programme has provided over 16 000 learners the opportunity to learn more about agricultural career opportunities.

Dr. Ivan Meyer, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, highlighted agricultural education as a priority during an information day, presented in partnership with the WCDoA. According to Ehlers, Meyer’s attendance and support of Livestock emphasizes the importance of the event for the government.

Biggest dairy show and beef cattle interbreed championships

A total of 15 cattle breeds competed in the Kaap Agri Show Arena for the two most prestigious titles as FNB Dairy Queen and BKB Red Meat King/Queen. The winners of these two titles walk away with prize money of R10 000 each.

Livestock is particularly popular for the FNB Dairy Interbreed Championships, which is supported by the largest three dairy breeds, the Holstein, Ayrshire and Jersey Breeders’ Societies. A highlight was the participation of international judge Mary Creek of America, who described the participating animals as “outstanding”.

Holstein crowned FNB Dairy Queen

A Holstein cow, Puttergill Deann Gardena 034, of CS Puttergill & Sons of Thornhill in the Eastern Cape was crowned the 2019 FNB Dairy Queen. This is the fourth time the Puttergills have won the championships. Puttergill Gardena is 10 years old and produces 55 l of milk a day, with 65 l a day as her peak.

Brett Puttergill says Livestock is a world-class event that compares well with international shows in terms of standard and layout. “Competing with the best breeders in each breed, as well as the exceptional exposure we receive at Livestock, makes it really worthwhile for us,” says Puttergill.

Moses Smith, a handler at Puttergill Farming, was named the champion in the third annual Landbouweekblad Grooms’ Challenge. “It is a great honour for us to visit Livestock. The staff enjoy it because they are looked after well and so are the animals, of whom they are extremely proud,” says Puttergill.

Red Angus wears crown as BKB beef queen

In the beef cattle interbreed championships, 12 breeds competed in six different classes, with the best performing Angus, Limousins, Hereford and Brahman breeds. The title BKB Red Meat Queen was awarded to the Red Angus cow Windmeul Red Anny 1403-et, of Theuns Bruwer and Pierre Veldhoen of Windmeul Angus stud in Agter-Paarl. Five-year-old Red Anny is pregnant with twins, while she already has twins, something Bruwer describes as “extremely rare.”

Bruwer is the youngest breeder ever to win the interbreed championships. He describes Livestock as the best show in the country with perfectly equipped facilities. “Livestock is the ideal platform to portray the industry’s image and a wonderful opportunity for the public to come into closer contact with agriculture.”

Dairy industry winners announced
At the Milk Producers’ Organisation (MPO) national gala dinner, Sandra Berning of Springvale Farm in KwaZulu-Natal was named the winner of the MPO Nedbank Stewardship Award. Dr. Koos Coetzee received the MPO award for his lifelong contribution to the dairy industry and Fair Cape Dairies Solar Switchover was named the winner of The Dairy Mail (TDM) Innovation Awards.

Frances and Allen Webster from Foundation Jersey Farm in Kwazulu-Natal were crowned the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) National Master Dairyman of the Year, whilst Jan Zim from the Free State was awarded Small-scale Master Dairyman of the Year. Gordon Robertson from Robertson Broers won as the National Herd with the Best Somatic Cell Count.

Agri-Expo Livestock and the Groot Plaasproe will take place next year from Thursday 1 to Sunday 4 October 2020. For more information, visit www.livestock.org.za or www.diegrootplaasproe.co.za or contact Agri-Expo on 021-975 4440 or admin@agriexpo.co.za.