«Birthe Lassen Dairy production in South Africa - impressions Country Report 2012/1 Dairy Production in South Africa – impressions Acknowledgements ...»
Calves kept separately as long as possible
Female calves at Klipheuwelpass are kept single as long as possible. First 14 days they are kept in a former pig barn with air conditioning. There they do get Kolostrum two times a day. Kolostrum milk from other cows is pasteurised before feeding it to the calves. From day two on the calves are offered small calf pellets with 21 percent of protein. Afterwards they are moved to Iglus were they stay until they are too large. Philipp recognizes single housing as important driver to healthy young stock. Calf mortality is below 3 percent. All in all calves stay seven to eight weeks on milk. When they are moved to smaller groups of four to five animals other pellets are fed (16 percent protein) and roughage is added to the ration. Before moving to another farm site, they stay in groups of 20 calves.
Young stock from 6 month on then is raised at another farm site. They return to the farm at 13 month or 380 kilograms.
Male calves are sold every Friday. One week old male calves have been worth 500 Rand (42 €) in November.
Water management = important resource
Water management is very important to the Blanckenberg family. In the past they used a fountain but water was very salty and ferriferous. Now they use two water sources: they collect all rainfalls and additionally use river water in winter times. Fertility and the milk yields increased since then. In summer the river usually is empty. Water in South Africa belongs to the government and used to be free of charge. But since a few years farmers shall pay for the water they use.
Up until now not all farms are in the system but depending on further restrictions this might be a limitation to growth for Philip Blanckenberg and his brothers.
Production costs at 36 ct/kg
All in all Philip Blanckberg calculates with 3.65 Rand (31 ct) per kilogram of milk.
1 to 1.2 Rand (9 to 10 ct) of this are labour costs. His long term employees earn 4,500 Rand (380 € )per month. Beginners earn 2,500 Rand (210 €) per month.
All workers can earn a bonus depending on their success. Full time employees work about 45 hours a week.