The ALFA expo, also known as the African Livestock Trade Fair, is celebrating its fourth year and will take place from 17 to 19 September at the Afridome in Parys. ALFA focuses on livestock, and the activities and projects presented at the expo are founded on four pillars, namely effective livestock production, youth in agriculture, livestock trade and social interaction.

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ALFA’s livestock competitions

Several livestock projects and activities are presented under the banner of effective livestock production at ALFA 2019. These projects include species that recognised in the Animal Improvement Act, 1998 (Act 62 of 1998): beef and dairy cattle, meat and wool sheep, dairy and meat goats, pigs, working horses and working dogs, game, rabbits, broiler chickens and layer hens.

Hinterland National Interbreed Beef Cattle Championship

The Hinterland National Interbreed Beef Cattle Championship is the highlight of ALFA’s interbreed section and the ALFA programme. The Hinterland Interbreed Championship was held for the first time at ALFA 2017 and has since gone from strength to strength. The overall interbreed male and female champion of the 12 biggest livestock shows in South Africa are invited to participate. The national male and female interbreed champions are announced at the ALFA gala dinner. Last year’s interbreed beef bull winner, from Raymund de Villiers’s Santa Ray Santa Gertrudis stud, was sold for a new record price of R400 000 shortly after ALFA 2018..

Nutri Feeds National Heifer Performance Championship

The Nutri Feeds National Heifer Performance Championship is held as a scientific alternative to conventional show judging. At least 25 beef cattle breeds are invited to present their top three heifers at ALFA 2019. Heifers must be younger than 30 months, must be certified in calf or must have calved recently. However, heifers are not shown, they are exhibited. A champion is named per breed, based on precision data and a functional efficiency index.

Nutri Feeds National Moneymaker Exhibition

A single Moneymaker qualifier is invited from each of the 25 beef cattle breeds for exhibition. Only cows with a birth notification from 1 January 2009 onwards qualify for the exhibition. To be classified as a true Moneymaker, the cow must have weaned more than seven calves (six is acceptable for some breeds), more than 50% of both her male and female progeny must have been taken up by the breed, and her breeding value must exceed the breed average.  

Nutri Feeds Moneymaker Ewe Exhibition

Twelve sheep breeds are invited to exhibit one Moneymaker qualifier each in the Nutri Feeds Moneymaker Ewe Exhibition. Animals with a birth notification from 1 January 2014 or later qualify for the exhibition. To qualify as a Moneymaker ewe, the ewe must have weaned more than four lambs (lambing every year). More than 50% of both her male and female progeny must have been taken up by the breed, and the breeding value of the ewe must exceed the breed average.

BKB Ram Performance Championship

All twelve small-stock breeds that use BLUP figures will exhibit three of their best young rams, as identified by SA Stud Book. A champion will be crowned for each breed based on functional efficiency and precision data.

Cape Gate Mega Ox Championship

This competition was another highlight of ALFA 2018. The heaviest ox, weighing in at 1,37 ton, was a Chianina cross named Garabaldi. Mickey Mouse, another Chianina cross, came in second at 1,34 ton. Cattle breeders are invited to enter their heaviest oxen, which will be presented at the Cape Gate pavilion at ALFA 2019.

GWK Highveld Dairy Interbreed Championship

All four dairy breeds will participate in the Highveld Championship, after which the winners will participate in the interbreed championship for both senior and junior cows. The queen and princess of the expo will be crowned at the ALFA gala dinner.

Barnlab Best of the Best Exhibition

The Barnlab Best of the Best Exhibition will be held for the first time at ALFA 2019. Breeders of the champion rams that were recognised at various small-stock shows, are invited to present their champion rams at ALFA. Champion rams of the following breeds will take part in the exhibit: SA Mutton Merino, Suffolk, Ile de France, Merino, Boer Goat, Kalahari Red, Savannah, Meatmaster, Dorper, White Dorper, Dormer and Dohne Merino.

RPO Interbreed Slaughter Ox and Carcass Championship

Each beef breed has the opportunity to enter four slaughter oxen. The competition follows normal South African Meat Industry Company (Samic) rules, except that there are no weight restrictions. Carcasses that are too heavy or too light will therefore not be penalised. An interbreed winner as well as a winning group of four will be announced at the ALFA gala dinner.

Zoetis Junior Interbreed Championship

There are currently 17 Veeplaas stud herds at 14 different agricultural schools and academic schools with agricultural subjects, which form part of the PLAAS Agricultural Youth Foundation. The 14 herds are all beef cattle herds, with 13 participating in shows – the Afrikaner, Angus, Hugenoot, Simbra, Simmentaler, Charolais, Santa Gertrudis, Dexter, Braunvieh, PinZ²yl, Pinzgauer, Brahman and Sussex. Only animals that form part of the PLAAS Agricultural Youth Foundation can participate in the four junior and four senior classes of the Zoetis Interbreed Championship. The four classes include: female animal, male animal, bull calf and heifer calf.

The ALFA Bull Total Lubricants Face of the Breed Exhibition

This is a new exhibition that will be hosted at ALFA 2019 for the first time. The exhibition offers the breed societies the opportunity to present a bull of their choice, which will be seen as the ‘face of the breed’. Any bull may be presented, including a champion show bull, a bull that fetched a record auction price, the Vleissentraal/SA Stud Book performance bull, the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) performance bull, or a bull with excellent marketing value.

The Sernick Junior Slaughter Ox Competition

The Sernick Junior Slaughter Ox Competition is open to all schools, even if they are not part of the PLAAS Agricultural Youth Foundation. The only prerequisite is that the school must supply the feed for the animals and no third parties may be involved. The animals will be judged on the hoof and on the hook, to determine the winner.

TAU Voere Highveld Slaughter Lamb Championship

All small-stock farmers on the Highveld are invited to participate in the TAU Voere Highveld Slaughter Lamb Championship. The slaughter lamb competition follows Samic rules and includes on-the-hoof judging. Breeders can enter groups of four lambs, which may include crossbred animals. Awards will be made to an individual carcass winner and to a group winner.

South African Feedlot Association (SAFA) People’s Choice Beef Challenge

The People’s Choice Beef Challenge is one of the more ‘delectable’ competitions held at ALFA. Sirloin steaks are served to ALFA visitors by five breed societies. Visitors get the opportunity to taste the steaks prepared by the five participating breeds and to vote for the most flavoursome beef. The Angus beef breed won the title in 2017 and 2018. Other breeds that have participated in the past include the Afrikaner, Dexter, Bonsmara, Brahman and Simbra.

Other livestock events on the programme

Visitors can look forward to livestock-oriented workshops, which will focus on a range of activities from feeding and management, to breeding and livestock handling. The Wagyu World Exhibition will once again form part of ALFA 2019, and visitors will have the opportunity to purchase Wagyu meat and to learn more about the breed. Auctions, including an all breeds bull auction, all breeds heifer auction and two national auctions are also on the agenda. – Michelle Verster, AgriOrbit

For more information about ALFA 2019, contact Albert Loubser on 082 562 2188 or send an email to albert@plaasmedia.co.za.