The LRF is searching for the 2024 Stud Producer of the Year

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The Livestock Registering Federation (LRF) is once again inviting entries for its Veeplaas/Breedplan Stud Producer of the Year competition for 2024. Former winners can attest to the value this prestigious title has added to their lives and farming enterprises. Stockfarm touched base with five of these winners to find out what benefits they derived from this award.

Lees dit in Afrikaans.

The bigger picture

Derick le Roux from Xourel Limousins in the Lichtenburg district was the winner in 2019. He says the competition offers participants a glimpse into the bigger stud industry picture and provides a framework in which breeders can operate in order to reach the top of the stud industry triangle. 

As for the 2020 winner, André van der Merwe, owner of the Wouman Brangus stud outside Reitz, the competition is an excellent benchmark that breeders can measure themselves against and determine whether their studs are aligned with the industry standard.

Recognition for hard work

Riaan Theron of the well-known RAT Brahman stud in Parys walked away with the laurels in 2021. He says the competition is a great form of recognition for the effort breeders put into their stud farming enterprises and the value the system offers.

The 2022 winner, Bianca Lueesse of the Lichtenstein Simmentaler and Bramarein Brahman studs near Windhoek, says the competition is scientifically based, which means animals are not judged on their appearance; instead, it is the breeder’s breeding policy, and whether he or she is achieving these breeding goals, that carries the most weight. For her the competition opens the door for breeders to farm sustainably and, combined with thorough records and record-keeping, to establish a vision of the future that will stand the test of time.

Last year’s winner, Heinz Gruhn from Otongovi Hereford near Windhoek, describes the competition as “a great thing”. He believes it doesn’t matter how many breeders of breeding animals there are. “Judging is done by independent people who have no preference for a specific breed, and you are rewarded for what is correct in your own stud.”

Getting to the next level

These winners all say they received more than just an award. According to Derick, it helped him to reassess his farming business and showed him whether what he’s doing still has relevance for the stud industry. Moreover, it allowed him to evaluate different ways of contributing meaningfully towards improving the genetics in stud breeding.

André and Bianca found great value in the exposure and recognition they enjoyed. Riaan agrees but adds that the competition got him thinking right from the start. The questions that needed answering meant he had to take a holistic view to farming. The science that drives agriculture is crucial and the competition afforded him a chance to evaluate all aspects of his farming enterprise, redefine his mission and vision, and ensure that he is in tune with both the industry and his clients’ requirements.

All breeders benefit

Derick believes that each competition participant is a winner in his or her own right. Not only can you measure your effort against the accomplishments of other breeders – you can also get exposure and experience how others perceive your stud. The competition is structured in a way that pushes you to become proactively involved in your stud’s trajectory. Basically, you need to become less and your stud more. This way, you will be able to take your stud to the next level.

André encourages other breeders to participate, as it offers an opportunity to test yourself within the stud breeder community. In the process, you gain insight into the aspects you can improve to elevate your animals. And if you do not make the cut this year, keep trying and enter again!

The expression ‘to measure is to know’, says Riaan, will always come into play because it remains relevant. The competition makes you think, not only about your animals, but also the way you work. He encourages stud breeders who want to keep abreast of industry changes, to enter. And while they’re at it, to also join the LRF for guidance and a fresh way of approaching different aspects of stud breeding.

Heinz has praise for the manner in which the judging is conducted. “You are measured within your own breed and against breeders of other breeds. The judges maintain high standards and they are thoroughly versed in the ins and outs of stud animal judging. That is why it is a major achievement to be counted among the top performers.”

For more information on the 2024 Veeplaas/Breedplan Stud Breeder of the Year entries, see the advert below.

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