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Research Focus Areas

Cattle & Small Stock Focus Areas

Research is focused on the furtherance, accumulation and improvement of knowledge in the livestock and related sciences through original and other investigations and methods of a scientific nature with the advancement of livestock production as the objective. Development is closely linked to research as it refers to activities by which knowledge acquired through research is utilized. Technology transfer refers to the transfer of knowledge and techniques and processes for the application thereof.

When you apply for funding it is important to carefully study the Focus Areas in order to decide in which Focus Area and sub area your project applies.



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...

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Focus Area 2: Livestock production with global competitiveness

Production of foods and fibre derived from livestock has a major impact on the South African agricultural economy.  Identification and use of livestock with appropriate genotypes will have a major impact on quality of products used for food, fibre, international competitiveness and efficiency of production.  Research integrating nutrition, genetics, reproduction, physiology, microbiology, immunology, molecular biology and the production system and environment interaction...

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Focus Area 3: Animal health and welfare

Efficient and profitable farming as well as safe and wholesome products require that animal health is maintained at an optimum level. Zoonoses are a potential threat to human health and therefore need appropriate measures to prevent human infection. Both domestic and international trade is also partly dependent on the control, eradication or prevention of certain diseases which have international importance, like Foot and Mouth Disease. These diseases require a range of effective measures to limit or eliminate their impact on the industry. Safeguarding the livestock industry from animal disease by promoting animal health ensures sustainable and profitable production...

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Focus Area 4: Animal products, quality and value-adding

Livestock production faces increasing competition in the domestic and global market place.  South Africa, with no price support systems should move beyond only producing greater quantities of livestock commodities cheaply as possible.  Higher quality products and commodities must be converted into useful value-added food and non-food products to target the sophisticated and export market.  Products must also be protected from contamination or loss of quality post-harvest to ensure marketability and consumer acceptance.  Research must also be responsive to consumer demands for high quality, safe products that are produced in an environmentally...

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Focus Area 5: The economics of red meat consumption and production in South Africa

Animal production has contributed above 45% of the gross value of agricultural production over the past five years, while the share of red meat has increased from 30% of the value of livestock production to above a third over this same period. Furthermore, approximately 70 percent of South Africa’s total area of 1.2 million km² is only suitable for livestock production. As per capita incomes increase in South Africa, the diets of the emerging middle class changes to incorporate more animal proteins, including poultry meat, eggs, red meat and dairy products – and red meat...

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Focus Area 6: Predation Management

The inadequacy of research is not limited to South Africa but an international phenomenon. Regarding Predation management there is a paucity of relevant scientific publications on Predation in Southern Africa, particularly for the medium-sized predators: only 36 articles have been published on the ecology of the black-backed jackal (derived from 27 separate studies). Most articles (23) were published before 2000, only 13 have been published since 2001 of which four (4) were published between 2006 and 2010. The list of scientific articles on Caracal is...

Predation by black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas) and caracal (Caracal caracal), two medium-sized predator species, occur widely and is believed to be increasing. Losses of sheep and goats are also caused by vagrant domesticated dogs...

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Focus Area 7: Livestock Theft Prevention

The paramount objectives of red meat producers in the world are sustainable, profitable and humane production of livestock in the conquest amongst others to ensure food security.  Obstacles for the red meat producer in search of the conquest is regarded as economical in nature and caused by two major external factors namely animal health and direct financial losses. This research area deals with livestock theft as direct financial losses to red meat producers.  Determining the impact and consequences of...

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Last updated Nov 2017