Dairy R&D in SA

by Heinz Meissner

Click on any of the publications below to read more about the specific topic:


  • GOOD AGRICULTURAL PRACTICE INTERVENTIONS IN THE SA DAIRY INDUSTRY

    The study cited involves reviewing determination of the impact of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Management Systems on dairy production, dairy processing, and end-product quality. This is a Milk SA funded project, the progress being reported here.

  • PROBLEMS FACED BY DAIRY SMALL-SCALE FARMERS.

    There is a decline in small-scale dairy farming in rural areas of the developing world, also in South Africa. Reasons provided in the literature include shrinking fringes, access to cattle feed, limited interest of future generations, increased cost of cattle, feed and fertilizer, poor cattle health, knowledge and management, poor understanding of livestock diseases, uncertain weather conditions, power failures and high cost of electricity, lack of machinery and equipment, stock theft, quality and safety of the product, poor packaging, and lack of government support, amongst others. The study cited explored the challenges of small-scale dairy farmers in the Bojanala Platinum District of the North West Province.

  • DO WE PAY SUFFICIENT ATTENTION TO FERTILITY?

    Selection in dairy cattle primarily emphasizes increasing milk yield and solids. This however may be negative to overall fitness, particularly fertility because of the antagonistic association between fertility and milk yield. Thus, although benefiting from yield, profitability may not improve because of deteriorating reproductive parameters such as increased inter-calf period, more AI services per conception, more days open and increased veterinary costs.

  • TOOLS TO CALCULATE THE ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT OF DAIRY FARMS.

    With the support from Milk SA, ASSET Research developed three tools aimed at measuring the economic, social and environmental impact of dairy farming.  These are:

  • WHICH BREED IS MORE SUITABLE FOR PASTURE SYSTEMS – HOLSTEIN OR JERSEY?

    Feed efficiency is highly correlated with economic sustainability on a dairy farm. Cows with higher feed-use efficiency are usually characterized by a higher feed intake per unit live weight, have lower maintenance requirements, partition more metabolizable energy to milk than body tissue, and lose less energy in waste and body weight. Further factors to bear in mind when considering economic sustainability are, (1) cows’ weight loss during the high production phase should be short-term as long-term weight loss may predispose them to metabolic disorders and poor reproductive performance, and (2) milk price is largely determined by milk protein and fat production in South Africa.

  • MODEL TO CALCULATE THE ENVIRONMENTAL, NUTRITIONAL AND ECONOMIC STATUS OF MILK AND PLANT-BASED BEVERAGES.

    Because of increased awareness of environmental impacts, the dairy industry has come under scrutiny, resulting in alternative plant-based products being developed; the assumption being that these products have a lesser environmental impact. However, when consulting the literature, the environmental and nutritional attributes of these products are poorly understood. Also, despite the critical role of bovine milk in diets worldwide, the environmental, nutritional and economic constituents of sustainability have not been comprehensively compared to the plant-based beverages of these products.

  • TRACE MINERAL STATUS OF DAIRY COWS IN THE TSITSIKAMMA

    Aim of investigation: To determine whether seasonal stressors affect the cow trace mineral status of dairy cows in the Tsitsikamma region of the Eastern Cape.


    Experimental design: Trace mineral status was evaluated with 20 cows per farm on three farms over two years in spring (defined as Oct to Des), summer (Jan to March), autumn (April to June) and winter (July to Sept). The samples were taken at the end of each season.

  • REGULATION AND AUDIT ASSOCIATED RESEARCH – PROGRESS IN THIRD QUARTER.

    PRJ-0339: The significance of Enterobacteriaceae, coliforms and E. Coli in milk in the SA market with the aim of updating microbial specifications in R1555 of 1997 (Act 54 of 1972)

  • ANIMAL HEALTH ASSOCIATED RESEARCH – PROGRESS IN THIRD QUARTER.

    PRJ-0336: Diagnostic investigation of sporidesmin toxicity: Histological study


    Progress:

  • IMPROVING CALF WELFARE

    The practice of rearing, transport and slaughter of excess dairy calves, in particular bobby calves, is often negatively perceived by the public. From the farmers’ perspective, there is very little use for bull calves and therefore they want to dispose of them as quickly as possible. This should be done as humanely as possible and therefore the project of the Dairy Standard Agency (DSA) as cited below has the intention to improve humane handling of dairy calves over the next five years in a way that is measurable.