UP’s Veterinary Science Faculty upskills small-scale feedlot farmers

Posted on May 02, 2019

The Department of Production Animal Studies in the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Veterinary Science recently invited emerging small-scale feedlot farmers from the surrounding communities to participate in its annual Feedlot Challenge, which will run until 24 May. 

Emerging economies can address many challenges – including skewed income distribution and poverty alleviation – by engaging poor communities and securing their access to the economy. Add to this the challenge of food safety and security for a growing population and declining natural resources, and the challenges become poignantly relevant.  

The Feedlot Challenge is part of the training of students to obtain certain skills, and inviting emerging small-scale feedlot farmers from surrounding communities to participate is one way in which the department fulfils its objective of being socially responsive and locally relevant. The initiative sees student groups compete against each other, and is run by fifth-year students who also train the farmers on the operation and dynamics of modern feedlot systems. In doing so, students are able to include community engagement activity in their module, as well as develop an attitude of constructive, beneficial community engagement.  
Part of the Feedlot Challenge included Farmer Engagement Day, which was recently held at the faculty.

Farmers were presented with a talk on current trends and good practices on feedlot farming, and were given an opportunity to explore the feeding kraals where students shared information with them on feedlotting. The fifth-years are also set to visit the individual farmers later this month to do an assessment of their current feedlot operations, after which they will provide a detailed report with recommendations on how farmers can improve on areas of their operation. 

As part of their training, the farmers will participate in ongoing stages of the Feedlot Challenge. They will, for instance, be invited to witness the “on-hoof evaluation and judging” of animals, which will give farmers an opportunity to learn about the proper selection of good animals for feedlots.


- Author Faculty of Veterinary Science

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