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Favourable conditions result in higher milk intake

The favourable milk:feed price ratio and positive climatic trends have resulted in higher milk intake in January and February 2018. According to figures released by Milk SA the milk intakes in January and February 2018 were 5,0% and 5,4% higher than in the same months of 2017. The total milk intake in 2017 stands at 3 254 682 t, 3% more than in 2016.  Several milk processors have announced a reduction in producer prices, which may have an impact on future production. Lower grain prices will probably continue for the current season, as good rain in the grain-producing areas will increase crop yields.
African markets might look to South Africa for additional maize supplies

According to Agbiz economist Wandile Sihlobo, actual exports of maize could only amount to 2,4 million tonnes despite South Africa having over 4,0 million tonnes of maize available for exports in the 2017/18 marketing year following a record harvest. This was due to a weak demand for white maize in its traditional markets on the continent because it coincided with large domestic supplies in these markets. Click HERE to read more. 
South Africa’s Dairy Product of the Year crowned

Parmalat’s 10-month-old Mature Gouda, made especially for Woolworths, was crowned the South African Dairy Product of the Year for the second year in a row at the Agri-Expo Qualité Awards Dinner at the Grand West Casino Complex on 23 March 2018. This achievement is a first for the SA Dairy Championships, celebrating its 185th year of existence.

The SA Dairy Championships have been presented most successfully by Agri-Expo since 1834. “The championships has grown to ten categories this year, with more than 100 classes for end products in the processing line of the industry,” says Johan Ehlers, chief executive officer of Agri-Expo. “The increase in entries over the past few years emphasises the importance of this championships for individuals, small and medium enterprises, as well as national and international companies. This year’s results reflect an innovative industry and healthy competition among larger manufacturers and smaller entrepreneurs, with a total of seven Qualité Awards awarded to Parmalat, four to Belnori Boutique Cheesery and a good division between the other winners. In addition, no fewer than 15 producers are newcomers to this year’s competition.” Press Release. To read more, click HERE.


Lourens Heyns (deputy plant manager, Parmalat SA Bonnievale plant), Selwyn Claassen (production artisan, Parmalat SA Ladismith plant), Johan Ehlers (chief executive officer, Agri-Expo) and Eugene Swarts (general manager, Parmalat SA).
Effective food safety control a necessity

The current outbreak of listeriosis gives clear evidence of the absolute necessity of exercising control over food-borne pathogens and preventing related diseases. Food industry stakeholders and government face major challenges regarding food safety and security with already more than 200 known diseases transmittable through food by a variety of agents that include bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites.

The importance of dairy product compliance with food safety standards as a prerequisite for the growth of the dairy industry cannot be overemphasised. Substandard, unsafe milk and dairy products reaching the retail sector can cause extensive and prolonged harm to both the industry and the consumer. 

The Dairy Standard Agency (DSA) urges all stakeholders in the dairy value chain to ensure the effective implementation and maintenance of risk-based food safety control systems while continually verifying its effectiveness. To read more, click HERE.

The DSA has developed several industry guideline documents with the aim of assisting the primary and secondary industries with, among other things, food safety standards compliance. These documents are available from the DSA or electronically on the DSA’S website at For more information, contact the DSA at 012 665 4250 or

 Monsanto celebrates 50 years in South Africa

Monsanto South Africa is celebrating its jubilee in South Africa in 2018. The company’s journey in South Africa began 50 years ago, on 14 February 1968, when Monsanto was registered as a supplier of agricultural products.

“During this time there were many outstanding people who made groundbreaking contributions to the business in South Africa.  We were also privileged to have many of our local personnel move into global positions over the years and who thus not only made their mark in Monsanto in South Africa, but also in the global arena,” says Kobus Steenekamp, commercial and business leader of Monsanto South Africa.

“We know that one company or organisation alone will not have all the answers to the global challenges we face – it will require combinations of solutions, strong leadership and world-class collaboration! And we see this move towards an integrated solutions approach more and more every day.”

Although there were many who made important contributions to the company’s success, special recognition was given to several people at a Jubilee Lunch on 16 March. To read more, click HERE.

Schedule your dairy farm training now
Helene Pheiffer, manager of the MPO Training Institute, urges milk producers to schedule their dairy farm training as soon as possible. The MPO Training Institute is updating its schedule of training programmes for 2018. Their courses, some of which form part of Milk SA projects, are aimed at dairy farmworkers, supervisors and managers. Click HERE for details of the training programmes offered. Contact Chantel Joubert at 012 843 5747 or send an email to

Farewell to Jas

The MPO Training Institute said farewell to Jas Wasserman, training manager for the past 15 years. Jas was responsible for organising and scheduling training courses for farm workers, commercial farmers and emerging farmers. Jas used to be a dairy farmer for 40 years in the Bethal region. He contributed to skills development through research by making his farm available for several national and international scientific studies.  At 77, Jas decided it was time to finally retire and spend more time with his family and on the golf course.  The MPO team wishes Jas only the best in this new season of his life.


From left to right: MPO Training Institute instructors Wilfred Phaahla, Justice Mathebula, Freddy Morokolo, Hezekiel Matlamela and Justice Phaahla with Jas Wasserman.
Introducing the “Legenda(i)ry” board game

The MPO Training Institute is excited to introduce the Legenda(i)ry board game, which is an alternative training method based on the Dairy Standard Agency’s Code of Practice for Milk Producers. Legenda(i)ry was developed with the aim of training farmworkers to maintain the integrity of the milk on the farm effectively and to manage the supply chain correctly. The board game engages the participants in dairy standards for product composition and food safety, animal health, animal feed, dairy parlour hygiene, transporting milk, processing facilities and conservation. The MPO plans to give an award to the best dairy farm team based on the results of the board game at the end of 2018.

Stay up to date with Rediscover Dairy

The Rediscover Dairy newsletter published by the Consumer Education Project of Milk SA, makes it possible for you to stay up to date with the latest news on the health and nutrition benefits of dairy. Every quarter Rediscover Dairy will share what industry experts and scientists have to say about the goodness of dairy. To read the newsletter, click HERE.
The Dairy Mail April 2018 – The autumn issue

The focus in autumn is on reaching average pasture cover and cow condition targets ready for spring. This is a good time to body condition score the herd for proactive feed management, and complete an autumn feed budget to identify feed shortages. It is also time to re-evaluate your dry cow strategy in order to set up cows optimally for the next lactation. As you enter your autumn years, you may need to ask yourself the question as to whether you have made enough provision to retire from farming, and who is going to take over the farm. Even though these conversations are not easy, it is essential to have them now, with your family and with your financial planner. The MPO is also hard at work positioning dairy as an attractive career option for our youth, and is actively involved in providing training and mentorship opportunities in the dairy industry.

Seasons in the SCC

All over the world, dairies experience an increase in somatic cell count (SCC) in summer and autumn. The extent to which climate-related factors contribute to this increase in South Africa is unknown, although the weather is blamed anecdotally. Consequently the value of heat abatement or other preventive interventions cannot be established. The relative effect of seasonal and/or heat stress on milk production and SCC is likely to be unique to South African conditions.  For an interesting article in this regard, turn to page 74 of the April issue of The Dairy Mail. To read the digital copy of The Dairy Mail, go to
Congratulations to the winner of the January competition

Congratulations to Gawie Pretorius of Lichtenburg whose projection of 265 million litres milk produced in January was spot on! Gawie’s prize is a copy of The Dairy Farming Handbook
Put your knowledge of milk production trends to the test and stand a chance to win. SMS your projection of the volume of milk produced in February 2018 to Bertus van Heerden, manager of agricultural economic services at 083 300 300 3667, to enter this month’s competition.

A winner will be announced every month and there are several prizes to be won. Click HERE for more information and instructions on how to enter.
Enter the 2018 The Dairy Mail Innovation Awards!
If your company has launched or will launch an innovative, cutting-edge product in the South African dairy market between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018, then you should enter the 2018 The Dairy Mail Innovation Awards.
By entering you:
  • raise your personal or company profile – shortlisted and winning entries are promoted to our readers all over the country, offering fantastic coverage;
  • prove your knowledge – increasing your reputation within the industry; and
  • align yourself with excellence – the The Dairy Mail Innovation Awards are all about celebrating excellence.
The winner will be announced at the annual MPO gala dinner and receive a five-page spread in the December issue of The Dairy Mail (valued at over R60 000). To read more, click HERE.

Water doesn’t come from a tap

Most of us access water via our taps and, until there’s a crisis, don’t give much thought to where the water actually comes from. For those of us living in cities our water is often “imported” from water source areas and dams far away: the Theewaterskloof Dam is 100 km away from Cape Town. Last week's World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-SA) water file, the last in the series, speaks to the theme of Nature for Water on World Water Day (22 March). We look at how important it is to safeguard a healthy natural environment in our catchments and who is doing what to look after these critical areas. To read more, click HERE.
 Celebrating stewardship in South Africa
After the successful launch of The Dairy Mail Stewardship Awards in 2017, The Dairy Mail is again inviting nominations for 2018. In keeping with the strategic goal of the MPO, sustainable dairy farming for everyone, we believe that good stewardship should be recognised and rewarded. If you know a dairy farmer who is the epitome of a good dairy steward, nominate him or her in the second annual The Dairy Mail Stewardship Awards competition.
Nominated farmers should excel in at least one of these areas:
  • Are they good stewards of the land?
  • Do they produce milk that is healthy, wholesome and safe to drink?
  • Are animals and humans on the farm treated with care and consideration?
  • Are they running a profitable dairy business?
To enter, complete the entry form and submit your nomination to the editor at by 31 May 2018. There will be a judging process, including a farm visit, and farms will all be judged on the Vital Capital Index and Tool Kit for Dairy Agriculture (VCI). Nominated farmers will also receive feedback based on this report in order to further improve their sustainability efforts. The winner will be announced at the annual MPO gala dinner and receive a five-page spread in the December issue of The Dairy Mail (valued at over R60 000). To read more, click HERE.
See you at the #SACheeseFest

Visitors to the 17th South African Cheese Festival can once again expect a truly unique experience involving cheese in all its facets. Come and taste a dazzling variety of cheeses, pair your favourites with wine and the finest local produce, and relax with family and friends. The award-winning #SACheeseFest, the biggest outdoor culinary event in South Africa, will be held over three days at Sandringham, from Friday, 27 April (Freedom Day) to Sunday, 29 April 2018. Entertainment includes outstanding music, presentations by celebrity chefs and artisanal cheesemakers, as well as fun activities for kids and teens such as a cheese-carving competition.
For more information, contact Agri-Expo at 021 975 4440 or To read more, click HERE.  

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.
Contact us
Barbara Bieldt
 Manager market protection and development
Dr. Koos Coetzee
Philip Swart
Manager member services


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