Draft document for discussion at special Meeting.
Compiled by Programme Manager: R & D.
1.1. Statutory resolution: “To give effect to the purpose of designated levies to R & D as per
Regulation R57 of 30 January 2009, which states: “Research and development are
required to promote not only the viability of the dairy industry but also to promote the
achievement of the other objectives of the Act as set out in section 2 (2) of the Act:
Research is fragmented and action is required to ensure coordination and that research
and development are functional in respect of the strategic direction of the industry,
namely broadening of the market for milk and other dairy products, improvement of
the international competitiveness of the South African industry, and empowerment of
previously disadvantaged individuals. Furthermore, action is required to promote the
practical application of local and international research and development in South
1.2. Application: R & D in practice should address primarily national and international
competitiveness, since broadening of the market and empowerment of the previously
disadvantaged heavily rely on respectively, promotion and consumer education and
training and extension. This does not exclude R & D, but prioritised projects will be rare.
R & D to improve competitiveness must address a demonstrable problem, risk or need
which impacts on profitability, sustainability and continuous improvement of the dairy
industry. Therefore the R & D must be solution focussed, which makes arguments
about applied versus fundamental or basic mostly irrelevant.
The fields identified at R & D Forum Meetings in 2010 and 2011 are:
- Feed sources and animal nutrition
- Dairy products and nutraceuticals
- Genetics, physiology and reproduction
- The environment
- Markets and techno-economics
- Animal welfare and health
- Food safety and quality
The RPEC has access to expertise associated with the fields for guidance and advice. A
National Producer Work Group feeds in demonstrable problems/needs to the RPEC, as
provided by similar constructed provincial work groups, for evaluation and allocation to
suitable expertise and capacities to be developed into R & D protocols where appropriate.
Through networking and official agreements, such as MoA’s with provinces and the ARC and
the SESCORD initiative, their R & D agendas are aligned to the national goals and objectives
of the industry. In terms of funding, the agreements allow access to government funds, in
addition to strengthening the possibility of obtaining access to dedicated funding sources as
made available by DAFF, DTI and DST and administered by the NRF. This may contribute
significantly towards supplementing a comparatively low levy allocation to R & D, thereby
supporting a sustainable R & D programme. The network requires continuous strengthening
towards 2020 to ensure effective service to the industry.
3.1. Animal welfare and health:
3.1.1. Fasciolosis (liver fluke) – Project by UP (Onderstepoort) started in 2015 and is
envisaged to be completed in 2017.
Title: Fasciola hepatica: Impact on dairy production and sustainable
management on selected farms in South Africa.
Project leader: Dr Jan van Wyk, BVSc.
Total budget: R967 626 (2015 – R701 183; 2016 – R266 443)
Objectives in brief: Investigation of prevalence, seasonal cycling, mode of
transmission of the parasite and management programs followed by farmers,
and in addition, anthelmintic efficacy.
Comment: Project continuation/direction in second year will depend on results
obtained in first year.
3.1.2. Mastitis Project by UP (Onderstepoort) started in 2015 and is envisaged to be
completed in 2018.
Title: Resistance to available antibiotics in lactating cows with mastitis.
Project leader: Dr Martin van der Leek, BVSc, MS
Total budget: R1 391 500 (2015 – R514 616; 2016 – R561 184; 2017 –
R315 700).
Objectives in brief: Characterization and prevalence of mastitis-causing
organisms, testing in vitro sensitivity of the organisms, establishing antibiotic
resistance and observing mastitis management programs on farms.
Comment: Project continuation/direction in subsequent years will depend
on results obtained in first year. Project by UKZN (Plant Pathology) started in 2013; involvement by Milk SA
from 2015 and is envisaged to be completed in 2018.
Title: Investigating alternative methods such as bacteriophages and
bacteriocins to control mastitis organisms.
Project leader: Prof Mike Laing, PhD
Total budget: R2 352 891 (2015 – R771 294; 2016 – R761 355; 2017 – R
820 242).
Objectives in brief: Classify and determine efficacy of bacteriophages
against Staphylococcus aureus; isolate bacteriocins from Staphylococcal and
Streptococcal strains; do in vitro screening and efficacy tests; test promising
isolates in vivo; develop commercial products.
Comments: Promising bacteriophage isolates were identified in a PhD study
(Dr Iona Basdew) in 2013. These are further challenged and quality control
done in 2015; other possibilities are investigated to develop a mix to
facilitate non-adaptation by mastitis pathogens.
Disease monitoring – Project by Veterinary Network (V-Net), started
in 2014 and is open-ended.
Title: National disease monitoring and extension system for the Dairy
Project leader: Dr Danie Odendaal, BVSc
Total budget: R178 500 for 2015
Objectives in brief: Outbreaks and general occurrence of diseases are
monitored throughout the country with the aid of some 120 private
veterinarians; a report programme is developed to facilitate timely report
and reaction; application to cell phone is investigated.
Comments: Success and application methodology are evaluated every year to
determine continuation, efficacy and development of adapted or new
3.2. Food safety and quality
Microbial contamination of milk – Project by UP (Main Campus), started
in 2013 and completed in 2015.
Title: Characterization of coliform bacteria and Escherichia coli from fresh
milk to determine the prevalence of possible pathogenic types.
Project leader: Prof Elna Buys, PhD.
Total budget: R100 000.
Objectives in brief: Characterization of colifoms; pathogenic and
commensal E.coli for relatedness of strains from various strains, their
virulence and antibiotic resistance.
Comments: The project is in the final stages; there remains an objective
of stochastic modelling, but this will be determined by requirements of
the Dairy Standards Agency which initially expressed the need for the
4.1. Döhne, Eastern Cape – Once-a-day-milking, as model for developing farmers
and Livestock Development Project
4.2. Elsenburg and other stations, Western Cape – Silage potential of small grains,
legumes and within intercropping systems for milk production.
4.3. Fort Hare – Animal welfare studies at Amadlelo facilities.
4.4. Fort Hare/Döhne – Benchmark project for milk production for developing
Farmers in the Eastern Cape.
4.5. Studbook – Project to analyse data of farmer Conrad Dreyer in the Eastern
Cape that does crossing with Nordic breeds on the assumption that this may
reduce mastitis.
4.6. Other – Inventory of R & D projects done in SA [will be available in July 2015).
5.1. R & D Field: Feed sources and animal nutrition, plus Food safety and quality:
5.1.1. Milk flocculation: The effect of cow nutrition on milk flocculation The significance of proteolytic psyghrotrophs as a cause of
milk flocculation/protein instability The impact of proteases and chemicals on milk flocculation
Comments: The programme has already been accepted; anticipated date of
commencement is 2016; projects and may be consolidated as
they may portray sequential events in the milk collection line.
5.2. R & D Field: Genetics, Physiology and Reproduction:
5.2.1. Genetic and performance monitoring:
Nature of project: Statistical trend monitoring of participating farmer results
over time to establish progress of critical indicators.
Anticipated date: 2016, open-ended.
5.2.2. Selection based on Residual Feed Intake:
Motivation: Using this method, heifers within large herds can be selected on
growth rate that will carry through to milk production. This will reduce rearing
cost and identify efficient replacements. Additional merit is RFI is repeatable on
different diets, it is robust, cows with lower intake have lower GHG emissions
and they show improved immunity. See Annexure 3 attached.
Nature of project: Demonstrations and monitoring on farm.
Anticipated date: 2016, open-ended.
5.3. R & D Field: Animal welfare and health: Programme: Biological control of Fasciola and nematodes Project proposal: UKZN (Plant Pathology)
Project leader: Prof Mark Laing, PhD
Project title: Integrated control of Fasciolosis of livestock.
Budget: R300 000 per year for 3 years.
Comments: Application to Research & Technology Fund (RTF)
of the DAFF at NRF; commencement date 2016; funding
specifications indicate a 4:1 ratio between RTF and industry
partner (Milk SA).
6.1. R & D Field: Animal welfare and health:
6.1.1. Mastitis: The disease should be addressed from different angles. From the results of item the pathogens dominant in specific
areas should be known. This may allow R & D associated with vaccine
development, either through local testing of imported vaccines or
through own R & D. Possible R & D project leader: Dr Inge-Marie Petzer,
UP (Onderstepoort). [Comment: She found promising results with the vaccine
Startvac]. Genetic progress against the disease may be obtained through crossbreeding
(see Annexure 6), or preferably within breed using genomic/SNP analysis. The
preliminary statistical analysis of the data of farmer Conrad Dreyer (item 4.5)
may provide directives. Possible R & D project leader: Dr Japie van der
Westhuizen, SA Studbook or Prof Esté van Marle-Köster, UP (or ARC, Irene).
6.1.2. National Disease Monitoring and Extension Programme: A value-adding
development could be development of rapid on-site diagnostic tools. Such
equipment and identification methodology (e.g. for FMD and RVF) have been
developed by Bio-Sciences of the CSIR in association with Australia’s CSIRO. This
should be further investigated.
Possible R & D project leader: Dr Phiyani Lebea, CSIR.
6.1.3. Lameness: The condition is one of the most devastating and costly which is not
well-recognized by farmers. Farmers may lose up to one-third of
the milk yield of an affected cow. It is also a serious animal welfare issue and
therefore the Dairy Industry should be seen to do work in this area, even though
there are many programs elsewhere in the world. Possible R & D project leader:
Prof Voster Munchenje, Fort Hare. Furthermore, Cheminique in association with
the Zinpro Corporation is on the forefront of lameness extension and assists with
R & D. Ms Jackie Tucker of the company is interested to do a PhD on SA work and
May consider Prof Lourens Erasmus of UP as supervisor.
R & D Field: Environment:
6.2.1. Pasture establishment in the south-eastern seaboard: Substitution of virgin
forest with monoculture pasture species has implications for bio-diversity,
ecosystems, eutrophication and water sources. Heavy fertilization and cattle
manure may also cause pollution. Outeniqua Research Station has an R & D and
monitoring programme with programme leader Dr Pieter Swanepoel. He has
since joined the US. It is important that this programme continue and it should
be promoted through the SESCORD initiative, amongst others to encourage Dr
Swanepoel to remain involved.
6.2.2. Carbon and water footprint: Although figures and knowledge are mostly
available, DEA is required to report regularly to the IPCC on mitigation, which
requires updated figures. The envisaged government pressure which may lead to
taxation could require actual measurements to demonstrate decreasing trends.
This may also require an inventory and documentation.
6.3. R & D Field: Feed sources and animal nutrition:
6.3.1. Pasture cultivar testing/selection: The ARC facility at Cedara is
expected to be revived and programmes resumed. Outeniqua is
expected to continue. SESCORD should provide guidance.
6.3.2. Concentrate supplementation: Supplements are expensive and the
inclusion of feed sources that could improve cost effectiveness must
be encouraged, also to combat the continuous burden of sub-clinical
acidosis (both in TMR and pasture-based systems). There are a
number of potential project leaders that can be approached,
depending on system and locality.

MSA Memo to RPEC_R & D Progr to 2020 (2)