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 nine conferences held to date, the last one being from 4-6 June 2015 at The Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Amongst these were a number of internationally acclaimed dairy academics and scientists, some of whom took part in the event, 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 ninth South African Large Herds conference was extremely successful and brought us speakers such as Dr Barbara Benz, Murray Bredin, Kevin MacDonald and Neil Chesterton.

The biggest challenge facing the organising committee as always, is to find a big enough venue! This year we have done that by booking the Buttress conference hall at Champagne Sports Resort.

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, farm visits, ladies’ programmes, 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 2017 conference where the theme is: “Resilience”.


Is the capacity of a system to absorb and thrive in a changing and uncertain production environment. The 2017 SALH conference will explore what will make successful dairy businesses resilient going forward. This will include the latest from the fields of pasture, soil and animal technology to the human element of what makes a resilient person. The discussion around the four pillars of resources,animal, business and people will hopefully leave delegates with a clear vision of our competitive advantages and enable them to return home to further mould resilient and prosperous businesses.

For further information contact:

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