Ruminants: What is New?

Significant developments, events and activities during 2005:

  • Dynamic prediction of nett energy for lactation (NE2) based on the Dutch CVB-System, was finally implemented at all mill sites in SA. This is an important standardization, that will bring consistency to energy formulation for the Meadow Feeds dairy products range. For our non-dairy ruminant products, metabolisable energy for ruminants (ME RUM), also based on the CVB-System was implemented.
  • The new and expanded PROLICK range of lick supplements and high protein concentrates was registered, and sales have been up on 2004, during a year with mild winter conditions that did not favour lick sales. We have received positive feedback from far and wide in the field about the performance of animals that were fed on Prolick products.
  • Products from the BLOCKLIC range, manufactured at the Port Elizabeth Mill, are now increasingly being sold in Natal and Northern Region, and prospects for these products look good.
  • NIR calibrations for maize silage, kikuyu grass and ryegrass have been completed and deployed at mill level. The calibration for Eragrostis curvula is close to deployment, while a partial calibration (not all nutrients) for oat silage was deployed at Meadow Paarl. The oat silage calibration process will continue until a sufficient number of samples have been collected.
  • Two milk analysers were deployed in Northern Region, in addition to the one already operating in Natal Region. These instruments allow us to offer farmers a rapid service to check on the effects of changes in feed, pasture, etc. on milk composition. Butterfat, milk protein, solids, non-fat, and added water can be detected within 90 seconds.
  • With respect to our Technical and Service Agreement (TSA) partner, Provimi Holdings, we were visited by two technical experts (Karine Tanan, dairy calf expert, and Andre Brand, Dairy Nutrition expert) to strengthen the technical work that we are doing on optimizing rumen protein synthesis. Also in terms of the TSA, two of our staff (Riaan Smith and Jane Holiday) visited the Provimi Dairy Training held at Zaragosa, Spain, during May 2005. Three of our staff (Stephen Slippers, Joubert Nolte and Jurie Naude) attended the Provimi ProBeef Meeting held at Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, during October 2005.
  • Abraham Zwiegelaar and Bennie Verster attended the World Dairy Expo at Madison, Wisconsin, USA, and visited the FARME Institute and some dairy producers in New York State, USA, during October 2005.

Looking towards 2006 and beyond:

  • With the PROLICK and BLOCKLIC ranges we are poised for action. This is the first year that we start with the products and distribution network in place. We will continue to expand and improve on these.
  • With CAL TECH, we are exploring the potential that point precision farming may have for livestock production based on extensive and cultivated pastures and silage production. This project will run for about one year on two collaborating farms in Northern Region.
  • Our research and development efforts in pursuit of new and improved products and technologies, and in support of sales and marketing, will be ongoing.
  • We are continuously looking to expand the range of NIR calibrations, in terms of the raw materials and nutrients included in the database. Exciting prospects are on the horizon.
  • Innovation is something that all of us should foster. It is not the domain of only a few individuals, but rather stems from the collective insights of all our staff. The time is ripe to put a more formal emphasis on this powerful force.

So if have ab idea/s, discuss it with colleagues, commit it to writing, and log it at your site or at the AFD Office. Who knows where just one good idea may lead us…?

Date published: 2006-01-03

Stephen Slippers