Many firsts at 2017 Agri-Expo Livestock

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This year’s Agri-Expo Livestock, held from 12 to 14 October 2017 at Sandringham outside Stellenbosch, once again was a huge success – with quite a number of firsts at this world-class showcase of the South African livestock and diary industry that over three days annually attracts thousands of agriculture enthusiasts.

Andrew Masterson, well-known cattle breeder from the Eastern Cape, made history by winning both the Dairy as well as the Beef Interbreed Championships. Masterson’s Holstein cow Milagro Sexie 13140 was crowned as the FNB Dairy Queen and his Black Angus cow Milagro Power 1324 as the BKB Beef Queen.

Working sheep dogs were, for the first time in 30 years in South Africa, auctioned during a demonstration. Well-known sheepdog trainer WA Hugo’s two dogs were sold by BKB’s auctioneers for R13 500 and R20 000 respectively. Two Percheron stallions from the Elsenburg stud were also sold, as well as Pintos and miniature horses of Hantam Boerdery.

Sheep shearing was once again demonstrated in the Sheep Hub, as well as wool spinning in the Alpaca Hub. New additions included the Wildlife Hub and the Rabbit Hub, where the Cape Rabbit Club’s Spring Championship Show was held. Other interesting exhibitors included the SA Boer Goat Association, and the Cape of Good Hope SPCA and a veterinarian who were closely involved with the expo to ensure that all animals were safe and comfortable at all times.

More than 2  500  primary and secondary school learners, from as far as from Kleinmond, visited the expo for a free schools programme supported by the Western Cape department of agriculture. The De la Bat School for the Death participated for the first time this year. The programme included eleven interactive stations where learners could see how cows are being milked, get up close with small animals in the Santam Animal Lane and learn more about agricultural career opportunities.

The Angus Society of South Africa’s centenary celebrations was one of the highlights at this year’s expo. Cattle breeders from various provinces convened to mark this milestone. The programme included their 100th Annual General Meeting, an Angus show and a prize-giving dinner where honorary membership was awarded to five pioneers of the industry.

On Saturday 14 October, visitors could discover unique tasting experiences at the first Plaasproe at Agri-Expo Livestock – including  gin flavoured cheese, Wagyu and Boer goat meat. Adam Tas, Nic Stevens and Die Wildberries made music and visitors could even learn to line dance. For the first time, the public could vote for their favourite animal at the expo, with Waldor the giant Italian Romagnola bull crowned as the Big Favourite.

According to Johan Ehlers, Chief Executive Officer of Agri-Expo (the organisor of the expo), they received almost 14 000 people at Agri-Expo Livestock this year. “We are excited about the enthusiastic support from both the public and the agricultural industry. We would like to thank every visitor, exhibitor, breeder and partner that contributed to make Agri-Expo Livestock such a success,” says Ehlers. “Agri-Expo is proud to create a platform offering people the opportunity to reconnect with agriculture.”

Agri-Expo, a non-profit agricultural society, promotes the image of agriculture through marketing initiatives such as expos, including the South African Cheese Festival. Agri-Expo Livestock takes place next year from Thursday 11 to Saturday 13 October 2018. For more information, visit www.livestock.org.za, follow Livestock on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or contact Agri-Expo at 021-975 4440 or admin@agriexpo.co.za.