A record number of delegates attended the symposium as can be seen by the packed auditorium at the CSIR International Convention Centre.

On 30 October 2018 the Animal Feed Manufacturers’ Association of South Africa (AFMA) hosted their annual symposium, with the theme ‘Local is Lekker’, at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria. A record number of delegates from across the continent as well as internationally attended the symposium. The programme focussed on the unique challenges and requirements of South Africa and Africa. Discussions ranged across a wide variety of feed related topics and covered several production animals such as cattle, poultry, pigs and game.

From pigs to game

With poultry and pigs making up the lion’s share of the feed industry, the nutritional and health requirements for monogastric production animals were a highlight of the symposium. Mashilo Phosa of Chemunique discussed the role that sow lameness plays in the South African pig industry, with its implications on sow performance (reduced fertility and reproduction).

Ruminants such as game and cattle also enjoyed a lot of attention as it forms an important part of the animal production sector in South Africa. Dr Hinner Köster, executive director of Kaonne Investments, discussed the feed requirements of game. He said that many grazing areas in South Africa can no longer support the migratory feeding needs of game due to drought and restrictive borders hindering migratory patterns. This makes feed formulations for game more important than ever.

Feed formulation is unique in the sense that each type of animal has a unique digestive system and nutritional needs. The various types of game (e.g. elephants, antelope, giraffes) have very selective grazing habits. Game breeders want horn length for maximum profitability of their animals, and feed play a role in this. Consistent access to nutrition correlates positively with optimal horn growth. Antler growth in later life also positively correlates with optimal feeding in earlier years. During the dry season grass and shrubs often become deficient in energy, protein, minerals and trace minerals.

Lastly, dairy cow nutrition was also a hot topic. With the milk price continuing to decrease, producers need to manage input costs and productivity more efficiently than ever. Dr Pieter Henning, divisional technical manager for ruminants at Meadow Feeds, focussed on the unique nutritional requirements of the transition cow.

All the presentations are available in article form in the symposium edition of AFMA Matrix (October 2018).

AFMA Symposium awards

During the symposium the Koos van der Merwe/AFMA Student of the Year Award was announced. The award went to Michaela Sinclair-Black from the University of Pretoria. – Ursula Human, AgriOrbit