NWU students get hands-on experience in the running of a cattle farm

Belinda Bantham -- Wed, 10/23/2019 - 08:56

NWU students get hands-on experience in the running of a cattle farm

On 9 October 2019, nine fourth-year BSc Agricultural Sciences students from the North-West University (NWU) traded in their jeans and t-shirts for green overalls and black water boots.

These students got first-hand experience from the Firth Red Brangus  on what it takes to run a cattle farm.

Situated in the North West Province, Firth Red Brangus  forms part of a large farming enterprise that hosts 400 stud, 600 commercial, and approximately 80 wagyu cattle.

Hands-on experience

Upon their arrival John Rafferty, the breed director at Brangus Cattle Breeders, quizzed the young men and women on the breed standards and the terminology used to identify the cattle’s body parts.

Before their lessons for the day kicked off, John also gave them a brief lecture on the practical application of breed standards and explained the estimated breeding value and the internet data base used for this purpose.

The students then had the opportunity to inspect and determine the estimated breeding value of five bulls and five cows. They learned how to identify animals that have superior genetics that will mature and grow quickly so that they can reproduce. They also got hands-on experience to help farmers choose cattle that will give them superior offspring once they start breeding.

According to NWU animal sciences lecturer Prof Paul Lubout, the university is not only dedicated to equipping its students with theoretical knowledge, but also to empowering them with hands-on experience so that they can be the farmer’s first choice when they enter the job market.

The NWU applauds Firth Red Brangus  and Prof Lubout for equipping students with essential skills for the job market.

 These NWU students are paying close attention to John Rafferty, breed director at Brangus Cattle Breeders, who are teaching them how to determine the estimated breeding value of cattle.

Watch this video to see the students in action: