MPO Milk Bulletin 8 September 2017

Local market

Agriculture pulls economy out of recession

On 6 September Agri SA issued a press release stating that South Africa’s economy is no longer in a recession following a second-quarter GDP growth of 2,5% quarter on quarter. Gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 0,7% in the first quarter of 2017, following a decrease of 0,3% in the fourth quarter of 2016, which pushed the country into a technical recession. Although this much-needed growth will be welcomed by all South Africans, Agri SA is concerned that it will have a limited positive effect on the economy as longer-term indicators suggest subdued growth.
The organisation is very pleased with agriculture’s second consecutive quarter of positive growth and its broader positive impact on the economy. Despite the low output in the Western and Eastern Cape, due to the persisting drought, the agricultural sector increased its production by 33,6% in the second quarter of 2017. This was driven by the production of field crops and horticultural products. We foresee a positive outlook for agriculture’s growth in the coming quarters; however, persistent drought conditions remain a concern. Press release.

Successful MPO Eastern Cape Congress

MPO Eastern Cape’s AGM and Congress held at at Slipperfields, Port Elizabeth on 29 August 2017 was highly successful and attended by about 50 dairy farmers. The congress with the theme “MPO ‒ your partner in dairy” was packed with information and practical advice from experts. MPO CEO Dr Chris van Dijk shared information on the implementation and execution of the MPO’s strategy and Georgie Muller from Waikato gave advice on obtaining reproduction targets in your herd. Dr Tod Collins concluded the presentations with his uplifting talk on maintaining a balanced work life within the stressful dairy industry. MPO Eastern Cape chairperson Lourens Gildenhuys said that dairy farmers in the province remain positive in spite of the current drought. The MPO expressed its thanks to the sponsors, organisers, and milk producers who contributed to the success of the day.
To watch a video of Dr Tod Collins’ presentation on the same topic at the South African Large Herds Conference, click HERE.

Dairy gives you go!

This is the theme of School Milk Day celebrations in 2017 which will be a collaborative effort between the Milk Producers’ Organisation (MPO), the National School Nutrition Project (NSNP), the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Milk SA Consumer Education Project (CEP).
The aim of the celebrations is to increase awareness of where milk comes from ‒ the process from the farm to the fridge, the nutritional benefits of the product and the importance of including dairy in a balanced diet.
An important part of the campaign is the distribution of milk, amasi or yoghurt sponsored by milk processors to schoolchildren at participating schools. Quizz competitions will also be held at the relevant schools, with the winners receiving dairy products as prizes.
The main event is taking place on 27 September 2017 at the Groot-Brakrivier Primary School in the Western Cape. Events are also planned for Bloemfontein, Pretoria, Klerksdorp and Port Elizabeth.
For more information, contact Barbara Bieldt at 012 843 5600 or send an email to

NWK appoints new head

The board of NWK announced that Theo Rabe (49) – the group’s financial director since 2005 – has been appointed chief executive officer with effect from 5 September. He has already been acting as the managing director for the past nine months.
“The appointment stems from a transparent process that has taken place over several months, and in which external specialists were employed in the recruitment and assessment process. The board is of the opinion that his financial expertise, first-hand knowledge of the group and his agriculture-specific exposure over 24 years, corresponds with NWK’s focus on core business, but also on future expansion opportunities,” said NWK chairperson, Heinrich Krüger.
The MPO congratulates him on his appointment.

Register for International Rural Crime Conference

The International Rural Crime Conference will be held on 27 September 2017 at the Royal Elephant Lodge and Conference Centre, Centurion.  It is the first time that a conference of this nature ‒ and which focuses on rural crime and safety ‒  will be held in South Africa.
The following international speakers will present papers will be presented at the conference by international  speakers Dr Joseph Donnermeyer, Ohio State University; USA, Dr Elaine Barclay, University of New England, Australia; and Emmanual Bunei, Moi University, Kenya.  A number of specialist speakers from South Africa will present papers in four breakaway sessions. Click HERE for the programme.
Persons/organisations that are still interested to attend the conference, can contact Corine Steyn on 083 644 5545 or send an email to Registrations close on 20 September 2017.

Code of Practice training at Agri Expo Livestock

The MPO’s Institute for Dairy Technology is presenting Code of Practice training to dairy farm employees at the Agri-Expo Livestock on the Sandringham farm outside Stellenbosch on 12 and 13 October from 14:00 to 18:00 on 12 and 13 October from 14:00 to 18:00. Dairy farmers in the region are urged to register their employees for training on one of the two days. For more information and to register contact Chanelle Steenekamp at 076 774 1284 or send an email to


International market

 Belgian milk price only covers 65% of production cost

According to a study conducted on behalf of the European Milk Board (EMB) and the Belgian Dairy Farmers’ Association, the Belgian milk price only covers 65% of production cost. The study was based on current data from the European Commission’s Farma Accountancy Data Network and Eurostat price indices for agricultural production inputs.
The EMB states that the farm-gate price levels over the past five years have not been high enough to ensure dairy farmers of an adequate income. In addition, subsidies paid to farmers in 2016 were only 2,27 cents per kilo, which were barely enough to help secure the annual income of farmers. To read more, click HERE.

FrieslandCampina taps into solar energy

FrieslandCampina received subsidies of more than $239 million from the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp. The Encouraging Sustainable Energy Production subsidies will make it possible for FrieslandCampina to install more than 416 000 solar panels at 310 dairy farms. The panels, which are part of the FrieslandCampina Solar programme, will generate more than 20% of the electricity requirements of the company’s Dutch production facilities and offices. In addition, the company stimulates the production of green electricity on farms by paying a bonus of $12 to farmers for each tonne carbon emissions are reduced. To read more, click HERE.

De-risk your farm operation

Dairy farmers must be proactive and identify ways to manage and reduce the key threats to their farms before they become overwhelmed. Steven Sleazak, former finance professor at California Polytechnic University, states: “We generally don’t like to deal with risk or think negatively. But risk and uncertainty are the rule we have to deal with in agriculture. The problem is people tend to confuse risk and uncertainty. Risk is quantifiable, uncertainty is not.”  Risks that you can immediately manage on your farm include outdated documents, family conflict, business growing pains, landlord flux and contingency confusion. For Steven’s advice on dealing with these risks, click HERE.



Schedule your dairy farm training now

Helene Pheiffer, training manager at the MPO, urges milk producers to schedule their dairy farm training as soon as possible. The Institute for Dairy Technology is continuously updating its schedule of training programmes for 2017. Their courses, some of which form part of Milk SA projects, are aimed at dairy farm workers and supervisors. Click HERE for details of the training programmes offered. Please contact Chantel Joubert at 012 843 5747 or send an e-mail to  or Jas Wasserman at 082 490 2465 or send an e-mail to for assistance and/or to book a five-day course.

Dairy management courses in October and November

A dairy management course will be presented at Orange Grove Dairy, Dundee and the Cedara Agricultural College, Howick from 9 to 13 October 2017. The course will provide an overall survey of the dairy industry and dairy-related legislation, farm enterprise management, financial management, labour relations management and environmental management.
A pasture management course will be presented at Orange Grove Dairy, Dundee and the Cedara Agricultural College in Howick from 30 October to 3 November 2017. The course will deal with pastures and farm planning, feed flow and pasture management, as well as the nutritional value and health risks of pastures.
Call Chantel Joubert at 012 843 5747 or contact her at Jas Wasserman at 012 843 5743 or contact her at for enquiries and registration for attending these courses.

MPO helps with occupational health and safety issues

The MPO’s Institute for Dairy Technology offers a five-day training course on the occupational health and safety code of best practice for dairy farmers. The course is practical and equips participants with the knowledge they need to comply with the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Training is conducted on-farm in the language of preference. Dairy farmers who need assistance in complying with the Department of Labour’s health and safety requirements on their farms are encouraged to contact the Institute to schedule a training programme. The Institute is currently scheduling its training programmes for 2017. Click HERE for details of all the training programmes offered. Please contact Chantel Joubert at 012 843 5747 or send an e-mail to  or Jas Wasserman at 082 490 2465 or send an e-mail to for assistance and/or to book a five-day course.


Technology transfer                       

Take part in our competition

Do you know how much milk was supplied in South Africa in July 2017? Put your knowledge to the test and stand a chance to win. A winner will be announced every month and there are several prizes to be won. After 12 draws, a national winner will be announced at the MPO’s 2018 gala dinner. Click HERE for more information and instructions on how to enter.

Don’t stress

Natural capital is a broad term encompassing all the natural assets in the world, including soil, water, air and biodiversity. Dairy farming is dependent on natural capital to function optimally. Areas of dependency include sunlight, water provision, water quality, soil, protection against flooding, disease control, nutrient cycling, pollination and rainfall. To read more about mitigating negative environmental stresses by focusing on maximising the positive impacts and minimising the negative impacts, turn to page 42 of the September issue of The Dairy Mail for an article by Craig Galloway, researcher for the Woodlands Dairy Sustainability Project. To read the digital copy of TDM, go to



State-of-the-art breeding technology to be presented at the Voermol/Stud Book Breeding Symposium

South African breeders now have access to the latest technologies and methods for breeding more productive farm animals. This information will be available at the 2017 Voermol/Stud Book Breeding Symposium to be held at Alfa 2017 ( at the Afridome, Parys in the Free State on 13 September 2017 at 10:00.
The rate at which new developments are announced often leads to conflicting messages and wrong perceptions among breeders and producers wanting to buy breeding stock. They often also result in wrong selection decisions. The symposium will give all role players in the livestock industry the opportunity to be exposed to the latest breeding technology impacting on the profitability of livestock production.
Persons attending the symposium will also be given an opportunity to learn more on how to optimise feeding and health practices that will allow their animals to perform according to their full genetic potential. An open discussion, led by Dr Helena Theron from the SA Stud Book and Animal Improvement Organisation, will ensure that each person attending the symposium will be allowed to participate actively in the discussion, get answers to their questions and know how to implement the latest technologies in their production systems.
For more information, contact Sherri van Zyl at or
051 410 0900.

Register now for pasture courses

Three pasture courses will be presented by the directorates of plant and animal sciences at the Outeniqua Research Farm (Western Cape Department Agriculture) as follows:

  • Practical pasture course for beginners (English), 14 September 2017:

This course is identical to the “Praktiese weidingskursus vir beginners”, but will be presented in English. To read more, click HERE.

  • Intermediate pasture course, 27 to 28 September 2017: This course is aimed at commercial producers with a background in pasture management and will consist primarily of presentations in a lecture room. To read more, click HERE.

A limited number of individuals will be admitted to the course (20 for beginners’ pasture courses and 30 for the intermediate pasture course). Please register well in advance by completing the registration form and emailing it back as soon as possible. For enquiries please contact Janke van der Colf on 044 803 3716/082 774 9164 or at

Popular cheesemaking course back in September

The MPO will once again be running a two-day cheesemaking course during the Alfa Livestock Trade Fair, which will be presented by Retha Carelsen of DC Ingredients at the AfriDome in Parys.  Persons attending the course will leave with a comprehensive manual and in-depth knowledge of how to make cheese and other dairy products.  For further details please contact Julie McLachlan on 012 843 5638 or or consult our website: where you will be able to see the programme and download the booking form.
Anneke Kubannek of Agri Travel and Tours will once again be handling all travel and accommodation: or 012 843 5724.

Up your game

The MPO will be holding its national congress with the theme “Up your game” at the Protea King George Hotel in George on 20 September.  The congress will focus on assisting  farmers to deal with challenges such as the volatile international market, the drought and the requirements relating to Black Economic Empowerment. To see full details of the congress, click HERE. Click HERE to download the registration form or else contact Julie McLachlan on 012 843 5638 or send an email to
Anneke Kubannek of Agri Travel and Tours will once again be handling all travel and accommodation arrangements: or 012 843 5724.

The Big Farm Taste – from goat to beer!

Cheese, wine, craft beer, Boer goat meat, skaapstertjies, tripe and ice cream . . . all these delicacies and more await you at the Big Farm Taste on the Sandringham farm outside Stellenbosch on Saturday, 14 October 2017.
Agri-Expo, organiser of the popular South African Cheese Festival, promises a brand-new tasting experience of all things farm, both for farmies as well as townies. Visitors can look forward to unique combinations such as Bok&Bier (Boer goat meat and craft beer next to the braai). An array of craft and artisan products such as wine, Karoo lamb sosaties, roosterkoek, steak, yoghurt and ice cream will be available for tasting and sale at food and wine stalls.

Visit for more information; follow Livestock on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, or contact Agri-Expo on 021 975 4440 or Release.

Disclaimer: The MPO Milk Bulletin is compiled from sources deemed reliable. However, the publisher accepts no responsibility for any errors or the effect of any decisions based on this publication.

Milk Producers’ Organisation
The Dairy Mail

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Dr Chris van Dijk

Barbara Bieldt
Manager: Market protection and development

Dr Koos Coetzee – Economist

Philip Swart – MPO manager of member services

Published on Fri, 8th Sep 2017 - 14:03