Introduction to the SA Large Herds Conferences

Ever since a Large Herds Conference was first mooted for South Africa during the latter part of 1998,there has been a growing interest from farmers and industry alike both here and overseas. News spread fast and requests for more information are regularly received from various European countries, North America, South America and several from New Zealand.

Since the first conference in 1999, several overseas delegates have attended the ten conferences held to date, the last one being from 3-5 june 2019 at The Boardwalk, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Amongst speakers over the years were a number of internationally acclaimed dairy academics and scientists, amongst them Basil Doonan, Davey and Maynard Agricultural Consulting; Philippe Jachnik, International Affairs Counsellor for CNIEL, France and Yani Garcia, Professor of Dairy Science. Director Dairy Research Foundation. Dairy Science Group leader. FutureDairy Project Supervisor, Univ of Sydney, Australia.

The eleventh South African Large Herds conference was extremely successful and brought us speakers such as Leon Louw, Basil Doonan, Dr Gerhard van Rensburg and Dr John Westwood, to name just a few.

The biggest challenge facing the organising committee as always, is to find a big enough venue! Last conference – 2019 –  we did that by booking the largest conference hall at The Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth, and even then, we had exhibitions overflowing in the entrance area.  Next year we will be back at Champagne Sports Resort in the Drakensberg, KZN.

A Large Herds Conference takes an holistic approach to dairy farming, concentrating on issues peculiar to the large herds operator.

Topics such as Systems Management, Strategies for change, Sustainability and Resilience, Operations Management, Market Trends, Environmental and Technological Trends, Finance and Taxation, Human Resource Management, Motivation and Lifestyle are addressed. These conferences are for progressive dairy farmers serious about their business. However, the conferences are not all work – happy hours, cocktail, safaris, gala dinners, virtual farm tours, etc are the order of the day.

This event gives South Africa a unique opportunity to join a select group in the farming community and also benefit from the most up-to-date information available. Delegates from leading dairy farming areas around the world regularly share knowledge and information on techniques and technology that are of enormous benefit to local farmers.

The aim of the conferences is to put participants in the position to take away a strategic business plan for their own farms after the conference, based on their own individual circumstances and needs. This is achieved by creating one-on-one interaction during the conference in the form of the happy hours where delegates can relax and interact to their heart’s content.

The committee is already hard at work on the 2022 conference where the theme is: “Post-disruption – the road to robustness!”.


25 years ago South African dairy wasn’t very relevant in terms of world competitiveness.  However – through the technology transfer afforded by the SALHC our dairy industry became competitive on the world stage – we need to re calibrate to see how we stack up now.  Currently we are dealing with an incredible amount of “noise” in our businesses (politics, land expropriation, state capture, volatile rand, volatile milk price, severe drought) etc… We need to shut out the noise and refocus on our businesses and what is best for them.  It is time to shake off the negative effects of the COVID-19 disruption and move on to becoming even more robust.

For further information contact:

Julie McLachlan – MPO Events Manager
Cell: 083 740 2720
Tel: 012 843 5638
Fax: 086 433 2359