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Focus Area 1: Sustainable natural resource utilisation

The environment, i.e. land, water and climate, creates a particular type of vegetation with its unique problems and production potential for animal production.  The vegetation resource forms the basis for the livestock industry in the RSA.  Stock farming should therefore be carried out within the confines of the environment.  The degree, to which the vegetation resource within a particular environment is utilised, has a direct effect on its productivity in terms of wool, meat, mohair, etc.  To promote animal production and minimise stock farming risks, we should allow ourselves to be led primarily by the natural resource.  Allowing ourselves to be led by other factors without placing the primary factor, namely the vegetation resource and its condition, first, will lead to regret at a later stage on the part of those involved in animal production in the long term.  The environment provides (supply) and the animals require (demand) a specific quantity of feed of a particular quality.  If the supply and demand is not synchronised, no breeding, animal health or stock management programme will be able to rectify this imbalance.

South Africa is blessed with a rich diversity of flora and fauna, some with enormous potential in providing adapted and unique favourable characteristics to the overall plant and animal gene pool.  These should be identified and conserved to sustain biodiversity and be utilised in genetic advancement programmes to promote improved and sustainable small and large livestock production systems.  Research and development should aim to sensibly combine indigenous favourable genes with adapted exotic ones to enable more efficient and competitive livestock, food and fibre production systems, in addition to enhancing the economic stability of rural farmers and communities.  



 A - Forage resources and management

B - Veld monitoring and management

C - Pastoral risk management and decision support systems

D - A systems approach to livestock production

E - Herd management

F - Environmental protection

G - Restoring the value of grasslands/rangelands

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