Oakdale Agricultural School in Riversdale recently strengthened its ties with the Sussex breed when it received Sussex heifers via the Veeplaas Schools’ Herd Project. The fact that the school already owned Sussex cattle before the Veeplaas Oakdale Sussex stud was established, made the event even more special. The first cattle were donated to the school by a parent.

The grade 10 pupils of Oakdale Agricultural School are taught the ins and outs of beef cattle in the subject Agricultural Management Practices, while also working with the cattle to gain practical experience. The Sussex cattle are used to participate in youth shows.

The heifers were donated by Sussex breeders, who transported them to Bloemfontein in August 2017 during the national Sussex auction. But it was a long and challenging journey before the heifers were finally offloaded, as the school was severely affected by the drought in the area and could not immediately accommodate them.

Donors of heifers

Heifers were donated by the following Sussex stud breeders: Dawie Albertyn of Nacht Wacht, Nico Bouwer of Witkwas, Callie Cillié of Advocate, Johan du Randt of Mountain Shadows, David Evans of Huntersvlei, Gert Fourie of Kyknou, Chris Nel of Eversar, George Potgieter of Pothou, James Stephen of Vigorex, and Theo van Zyl of Faurzyl.

André Latsky, headmaster of Oakdale Agricultural School, expressed his heartfelt thanks to the breeders for their generous donation. “The school is also grateful to Dawie Albertyn, who has accommodated and looked after the heifers since the auction.”

Mentor of the herd

Pieter Stofberg will act as mentor of the school’s herd to ensure that they follow the Sussex breed standards and to assist when any help is needed. According to Pieter, the heifers are in good condition. They have developed well and have adapted quickly to the dry Western Cape.

“We placed a bull, supplied by Dawie Albertyn, with the heifers on 1 October. The bull was removed at the end of November. The management of Oakdale is excited about the project and I regularly communicate with them,” he says.

Youth show achievements

At the Riversdale show, held from 14 to 17 February, a total of 57 pupils from Oakdale Agricultural School took part in the youth show competition in the classes for wool and mutton sheep, dairy and beef cattle and Angora goats. The Oakdale pupils were awarded five first, nine second, nine third, seven fourth and four fifth places.

The participants’ handling skills with the animals as well as the synchronisation in a team context were assessed. According to the judges, these skills are only obtained through regular practice.

For the third consecutive year, Christiaan Theunissen, a grade 10 pupil at Oakdale Agricultural School, on Okalash’s Handsome Private, was named grand champion Saddler in the three-gaited pleasure horse class. – WA Lombard, Stockfarm