Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
The prestigious Livestock Registering Federation’s (LRF) Southern African Stud Producer of the Year competition will be held for the 21st time this year, having been presented for the first time in 2003. The well-known LRF Stockman School originated from this competition. The winner of this award will be announced during the LRF Stockman School taking place in October this year.
The LRF Southern African Stud Producer of the Year competition is unique in the sense that breeders from across Southern Africa (including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana) who sell genetic material can enter, regardless of whether they are LRF members or not.
Entries must be based on cows and heifers mated in 2021, calves born in 2022 and bulls sold in 2022/2023.
Purpose of the Stockman School and competition
The LRF Stockman School was initiated 12 years ago to equip producers with knowledge regarding the latest trends in animal breeding around the world in an affordable and accessible manner. Every year local and international guest speakers address attendees, imparting the knowledge needed to ensure better livestock breeding practices and therefore better profitability.
This event is also the culmination of the competition and has become a highlight on the beef producers’ calendar. The Stud Breeder of the Year competition is an embodiment of the livestock school’s ideals and rewards producers for excellence in beef breeding.
An independent panel of judges selects the stud producer of the year based on the following herd criteria: General management, fertility, genetic management (here the genetic or breeding plan is considered as well as the sale of genetic material) and finally community service.
The management of the herd includes performance testing, management cycle (mating season, calving and weaning period, as well as bull sales). The typical stocking rate and average heifer age are also considered.
The seed stock marketing programme is studied and focusses on auction sales, the breeding material sold, pre-inspections, and guarantees provided to buyers and the target market.
When it comes to community involvement, participants must provide specific information regarding positions held in the cattle or red meat industry, or programmes to which the breeder has contributed. These include local shows, producer associations and breeders’ societies. Worker training and development are also considered, as well as any client services offered.
Characteristics of a good candidate
Candidates considered for the award are breeders who typically follow a good selection programme and whose herd management is at a high level. Such a producer therefore delivers good quality animals from the herd to the immediate area or further afield, both in respect of the seed stock (stud) and commercial markets. The breeder’s animals and/or genetics also fetch good prices at sales and out of hand.
The herd’s genetic trend must be supported by the breeding plan. A good stud breeder will monitor this over the years and apply early corrections through, among other things, bull selection. Good genetic trends and high fertility (weaning percentage is considered here) are also important and serve as proof of the success of the breeding policy.
Announcement of the winner
Finalists will be invited to attend the LRF Stockman School gala event which takes place on 12 October 2023 at the Aldam holiday resort in Ventersburg, Free State. Here, the winner will be announced and prizes will be awarded. The overall winner will have the opportunity to promote their stud during a public field day which will enjoy the endorsement of the sponsors. The official media sponsor, Plaas Media will also report on the winner in Veeplaas as well as on their radio, TV and online platforms, and other media will also be present to give exposure to the winner.
For more information, see the advertisement and click here to download the entry form.