Nkosinathi Bareki: Mentor with a calling

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Nkosinathi Bareki received the National Mentor of the Year Award, which is a category in the Agricultural Research Council’s National Beef Recording and Improvement Scheme. (Photograph: Mathuto Bareki)

Award-winning production scientist, Nkosinathi Percy Bareki, from the ARC Unit of the North West Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, is dedicated to helping emerging farmers improve their productivity and enterprise sustainability.

Nkosinathi, or Nathi, was recently awarded the Agricultural Research Council’s (ARC) national mentor of the year. This award is testament to his hard work and dedication, and is awarded annually by the ARC’s National Beef Recording and Improvement Scheme (NBRIS).

Nkosinathi, who joined the department 24 years ago, has several research projects under his care. He believes this award came about because he does not mind getting his hands dirty. Winning the award was a humbling experience for him. “It is heart-warming to be acknowledged at a national level and indeed gratifying to know that one’s efforts and contributions to the industry are recognised.”

Award criteria

The primary aim of the award is to acknowledge agriculturalists with exceptional leadership abilities and who go to great lengths to build capacity and develop skills through information dissemination, mentoring and assisting fellow farmers to adopt and implement relevant technologies and management skills to enhance their productivity.

“Farmers considered in this category are expected to have a record of accomplishments that attests to their efforts to train and mentor others and, very importantly, show the impact of their actions and mentoring initiatives,” says Nkosinathi.

Putting experience to good use

Nkosinathi and Khomotso Kgaswane, a technician at the department, together manage the department’s Potchefstroom Afrikaner stud, the oldest registered Afrikaner stud in the country. They are also members of the Afrikaner Cattle Breeders’ Society.

Nkosinathi uses his experience managing the stud, to become involved with the training of emerging livestock farmers’ study groups under the Mamusa local agricultural office in the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality. He gives practical demonstrations and lectures to the group intermittently throughout the year.

Champion farmer’s support plan for emerging farmers

He is also involved in mentoring at least nine emerging beef cattle farmers, helping them with record-keeping, performance testing and general herd management. These nine farmers were registered for the first time on the National Database for Animal Recording (Intergis)under the Kaonafatso ya Dikgomo scheme of the ARC in 2021. “The performance of the emerging farmer herds is compared to that of our Afrikaner herd to give the farmers a balanced perspective of how their herds are performing,” says Nkosinathi.

Platinum Bull Award

His expertise and commitment towards animal breeding also paid off when the Potchefstroom Afrikaner stud scooped the ARC’s National Platinum Bull Award for 2021. The two-year-old Afrikaner bull, PP190050, won after competing with seven breeds that qualified for the awards. PP190050 had an average daily grain of 110 and a feed conversion ratio of 115. The bull’s dam (DC110027) is ten years old with seven calves and an intercalving period of 365 days.

Nkosinathi says very few bulls qualify for this category due to the stringent adjudication criteria. Bulls can only qualify if they were bred from an Elite cow. Eligible bulls must have received a Gold Merit upon completion of the ARC’s Phase C test, and the dam of the specific bull must have received her Elite cow status in the same year. The Gold Merit is the highest distinction bestowed on bulls that outperformed their peers within a breed, in a controlled Phase C performance test.

Advice to young breeders

He urges young breeders to farm with nature and not against it. They also need to realise that livestock breeding requires patience and consistency in applying the right production methods with uncompromised integrity.

For more information, contact Nkosinathi Bareki on 072 266 3864 or nkosinathibareki@gmail.com.

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