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Milk intake up on 2017

Information supplied by Milk SA estimates the total milk intake during January 2018 at 265 million litres, up 5,2% on January 2017. Total milk intake during 2017 is estimated at 3 145 million litres, up 2,7% on 2016.  Production growth has slowed down somewhat from the 7,2% growth in December 2017. According to MPO economist Dr Koos Coetzee, favourable climatic conditions and milk-to-feed price ratios are the main drivers of production growth.
Budget speech 2018 gives farmers a lifeline

“Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has given South Africa’s drought-stricken agricultural sector a lifeline thanks to billions of rands that will be injected into water infrastructure, drought relief, support for emerging black farmers, as well as land reform and rural development.” ‒  Standard Bank. To read more, click HERE.

Fairly balanced budget

According to MPO economist Dr Koos Coetzee, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba presented a fairly balanced budget in parliament on Wednesday 20 February. As expected the VAT rate was increased by 1 percentage point to 15%. There were minor changes to the income tax rates, largely benefiting the lower income groups and also the tax thresholds and tax rebates. As usual tobacco and alcohol duties were increased. The best news for farmers were the increase in the diesel rebate and provision of R6 billion for drought relief. Government allocated R40 million to enable the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to improve laboratories for export certification of South African products. It is hoped that this money will enable the residue monitoring programme for dairy products to become operational.
Maize crop of 12 million tonnes expected

The first crop estimate for summer grains and oilseeds for 2018 predicts a 12 million plus tonnes maize crop for the year. This, combined with a large carry-over stock from 2017 will ensure a sufficient supply for the market in 2018. Prices are currently above export parity and may move lower in coming months. However, conditions are mixed and future climatic conditions may still adversely affect the 2018 crop. Adverse conditions or a weaker rand can result in higher prices in coming months. While prices are currently favourable for milk producers, the necessary care about future prices must be taken.
SA food price inflation decelerates further to 4,5%

According to Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz economist, food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation has been on a downward trend since mid-2017, following a robust output from the agricultural sector. In January 2018, food inflation further decelerated to 4,5% year on year, which is the lowest levels in more than two years. That said, the food basket remains mixed. Prices of livestock products (meat, milk, eggs and cheese) are slightly elevated, whereas the rest are on a slowing path. We expect this trend to persist in the coming months, cushioned by large grain stock from the previous season, and expectations of a good harvest in the summer crop-growing areas. To read more, click HERE.

How to tackle succession planning

One of the most important processes in a farming business is the transfer of the farm from one generation to the next. This is a complex and emotional issue. For advice on how to develop a family succession plan which includes essential elements such as a business plan and a management succession plan, click HERE.

Arla reduces UK milk price for third time

The National Farmers’ Union in the United Kingdom has expressed concern about Arla Foods reducing milk prices for the third month in a row in spite of good financial results for 2017. Arla’s CFO, Natalie Knight, said that the cooperative’s 2017 profit before tax was 19% lower than in 2016 because of increased payments to its farmer members. To read more, click HERE.
Disease report for January 2018

The January 2018 report on livestock disease trends, as informally reported by veterinarians belonging to the Ruminant Veterinary Association of South Africa (Ruvasa), which is a group falling under the South African Veterinary Association, was released this week. To view the report, click HERE.

 Biggest dairy competition in Africa celebrates 185th year

What do you get when you put your five senses, 945 dairy products, 83 dairy producers, a temperature of 18 °C and 84 judges together under one roof? The biggest dairy competition in Africa –  the South African Dairy Championships ‒ was held, at the Grand West Casino Complex in Cape Town where judging took place on Thursday, 22 February 2018. The championships, the oldest in Africa, have been presented by Agri-Expo since 1834 and is celebrating its 185th year of existence this year.
This year 945 products, the most ever, were entered. There are 10 categories that include more than 100 classes for end products in the processing line of the dairy industry.
The SA Champions (the top products in the 106 championship classes), Qualité Awards (only awarded to products of exceptional quality) and Product of the Year (allocated by a panel of five specialists) will be announced at the prestigious Agri-Expo Qualité Awards Dinner on Friday 23 March 2018 at Grand West Casino Complex in Cape Town. The Milk Producers’ Organisation (MPO) and their publishing platform AgriConnect is a partner of this year’s SA Dairy Championships. For more information, visit or or contact Agri-Expo on or 021-9754440. Press release.

The panel of judges at the SA Dairy Championships.
Focus on stewardship

The MPO manager of market promotion and regulatory services, Barbara Bieldt, recently gave an interview broadcast on Landbou Radio. She gave an overview of the division which focuses on milk producers as stewards of product integrity, the animals and humans on the farm and the environment.  To listen to the interview, click HERE.
US Olympians are fuelled by dairy

The XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea were held recently and Team USA included many Olympians who were being fuelled by dairy in their medal chase. 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 e-mail to

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. The Legenda(i)ry board game 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 concerning product composition and food safety, animal health, animal feed, dairy parlour hygiene, transporting milk, processing facilities and conservation. The MPO plans to award the best dairy farm team based on the results of the board game at the end of 2018.



SA Cheese Festival is water wise

The South African Cheese Festival is a water-wise festival. Fans of this annual institution, which will be held at Sandringham, outside Stellenbosch, over the Freedom Day long weekend from Friday, 27 April 2018 to Sunday, 29 April 2018, are invited to support the 17th SA Cheese Festival in a water-wise manner. Johan Ehlers, chief executive officer of Agri-Expo, says the agricultural society, along with its partners, will present the 2018 SA Cheese Festival without any impact on the already depleted water resources in the Western Cape.
In response to Wesgro’s call to keep the Western Cape economy growing and create jobs during the current challenging drought, Agri-Expo has consulted with various role players to find solutions to present the 2018 SA Cheese Festival in a water-wise manner. The project is supported by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture.
Interventions to minimise the impact on water resources, and to remove the SA Cheese Festival from the water grid, include the use of temporary chemical toilets; borehole water; drinking water and ice obtained from non-drought-stricken areas; waterless hand sanitation; an emphasis on fire hazard regulations; a dedicated #waterwise exhibition area; and the development of waterless recipes for cooking demonstrations; as well as a focus on alternative and climate-smart crops as part of the “Cape Made Kitchen: Taste the Alternatives” project.  Press release. To read more, click HERE.  
Why water stewardship is important to the MPO

Why is good water stewardship important for the MPO? This question was answered by MPO manager market promotion and regulatory services, Barbara Bieldt in a recent interview with Lise Roberts on RSG Landbou. She also explained where water stewardship fits into the MPO’s strategic plan for 2018. To listen to the interview, 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 all, 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.
The Dairy Mail, March – Quality without compromise

Everybody knows the saying, “Quality in = Quality out”, and this is also true on your farm. Input of inferior quality (in terms of pasture, feed, genetics, etc.) negatively affects all output achieved on the farm. Put another way, quality management cannot make up for poor-quality input. In terms of quality, it is best to do the best you can with what you have. For example, rather raise fewer replacement heifers properly. They will repay you by reaching target weights for insemination and calving sooner, and performing better in their first and subsequent lactations. In addition, it is within your control to earn every available cent on your milk price by avoiding penalties and qualifying for all the available quality bonuses. Milk quality pays, and it is always worth the investment. Mark your calendars; we will see you next month from 27 to 29 April at the SA Cheese Festival at Sandringham, where quality dairy is always on display.
The March issue of The Dairy Mail is packed with useful and practical information on ensuring optimal milk quality.

It starts with a quality partnership

What is share-milking? Share-milking is essentially a symbiotic relationship between two parties, namely the landowner who provides land and the necessary infrastructure, and a share-milker who contributes moveable assets, including livestock, and managerial expertise. For an interesting article explaining the principles of share-milking, turn to page 41 of the March issue of The Dairy Mail. To read the digital copy of The Dairy Mail, go to
The competition continues!

Put your knowledge of milk production trends to the test and stand a chance to win. SMS your projection of milk production for January 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.
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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