Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
This year, the Santam Agriculture National Silage Competition received a record number of 105 entries. The second-most entries (87) were received in 2019. Now in its eighth year, the competition is known for highlighting overall silage quality in the South African agricultural industry and for helping producers to evaluate their own silage-making practices and improve their silage quality.
However, this competition wouldn’t have been able to gain such traction over the past few years had it not been for the competition’s sponsors who graciously continue to offer their expertise, time and industry experience to better silage producing standards across the board.
This year Santam Agriculture was once again the competition’s name sponsor. They were joined by Labworld as the sample testing sponsor and Claas/Kempston Agri as equipment sponsor. The competition’s prize sponsors are Pannar Seed, Kemin Industries, Strapping and Profile Manufacturers, Nutribase and Hurwitz Farming.
Competition entry breakdown
The competition aims to provide all entrants with a detailed, individualised report on the quality of the silage they entered. The competition categories are maize, sorghum, and oats with both bunkers and bags that can be entered. In 2020, a test category was added for silage bales. This test category was once again included as a trial run in the 2021 competition.
A total of 105 entries were received from 24 companies who entered their own or their clients’ silage. Ten of these companies are new to the competition. The following companies entered the competition this year, in no specific order:
- Afgri Animal Feeds.
- Quantum Foods/Nova Feeds.
- Welgemoed Farm.
- Kemin Industries.
- RCL Foods/Epol.
- Meadow Feeds Paarl.
- Winterstorm Investments.
- Pannar Seed.
- Sparta Baby Beef.
- Strapping and Profile Manufacturers.
- EC Contracting.
- Meadow Feeds Natal.
- Kameeldrift Voere.
- Hurwitz Farming.
- Saxeni Agric.
- White Gold Farms.
- Malati Farm.
- JW Nel en Seun Boerdery.
- Mas Corporation.
- Limpopo Dairies.
This year the entries consisted of 79 maize, eight sorghum, two grass (in the test bale category), and 16 oats silages. Of these, six are bales in the test category, 73 are bunkers, and 26 are silo bags.
The silage sampling team
As in the past, students from various tertiary institutions took on the task of travelling throughout South Africa to conduct the sampling. This year’s team consisted of Timothy Chilemba from the University of Pretoria, who was part of the northern sampling team in 2020; Gerrit Putter, a master’s degree student from the University of the Free State (UFS); JG Els, a fourth-year student at UFS; and Henlo Smit, a master’s degree student from Stellenbosch University. Chilemba was present for all 105 samples. Richardt Venter of AgSci Unlimited trained the students in the silage sampling protocol during a training session held in Gauteng in June.
The sampling season officially kicked off on 30 June 2021, when the first entries were sampled in the Eastern Cape. Thereafter, Chilemba and Smit travelled through the Western Cape, all the way from George to Darling and Yzerfontein. The route then took them back to Bloemfontein, from where Chilemba and Putter began sampling in the Eastern Cape. They then headed to the Free State, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North West. Finally, going back to Bloemfontein, Chilemba and Els continued with the sampling and travelled through KwaZulu-Natal. The team returned on 10 August. They travelled an impressive 9 260km across the country.
The finalists will be announced towards the end of September 2021 or start of October, and this year’s #SilageKing will be crowned in October 2021. More information on the dates and platforms for these announcements will be made available closer to the time. – Deidré Louw, Plaas Media
Be sure to subscribe to the Plaas TV YouTube channel to be notified when the video about the sampling process airs. The channel also boasts interviews with our sponsors and industry role-players, covering some interesting topics.
For more information on the competition, contact Deidré Louw at email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 066 231 2430. To find out more about the competition protocol, contact Richardt Venter at email email@example.com or phone 083 590 3014.