MSD Animal Health in partnership with the University of Pretoria.

“MSD Animal Health as a global animal health company understands the need and complexity of training and teaching, especially tertiary education”

MSD Animal Health as a global animal health company understands the need and complexity of training and teaching, especially tertiary education. Such training can be costly to provide for the institution and for the student. As such MSD Animal Health generously sponsored medication for the Faculty of Animal and Wildlife Science’s 2020 feedlot project, at the University of Pretoria. The project is co-ordinated by Ms Amelia du Preez (PhD candidate) from the faculty and will take place at the university’s experimental farm. The experimental farm has dedicated feedlot pens and a meat laboratory where these types of practical projects can be undertaken. 

The goal of the project is driven from the industry’s perspective. There is a critical need to equip the students with practical experience before qualifying from the university. These skills can then be used from day one when the students enter a working environment or specifically, a cattle feedlot. Major focus will be around feeding and diet management as this is a component of the student’s curriculum, but some of the other focus points for the students include:

  • Sourcing of cattle and logistic arrangements
  • Animal health programme planning and processing of cattle at arrival on the feedlot
  • Monitoring for disease and treatment if necessary
  • Diet planning, ration establishment and feeding of cattle daily
  • Marketing of cattle at the end of the feeding period
  • Budget planning and accounting for profit or loss at the end of the project

All these activities will give the students hands-on exposure to a real-life cattle feedlot system and hopefully develop passion for the industry and red meat production!

Various sponsors have made this initiative possible and either provided an essential service or product to lower the costs involved. Even though the project relied on industry support the students had to do their budget planning using market related figures. MSD Animal Health generously provided all the medication used during the project. These included preventative health care, disease control, mineral supplementation and growth enhancing technology.

Our technical experts and key account managers had some quality time with the students too. Dr Brent Sirrals and Dr Johan Cloete, both veterinarians working for MSD Animal Health, were present to guide the students with the correct use of all the medications. Dr Sirrals provided training on processing of cattle and practical demonstrations on how to perform certain procedures, such as the correct placement of REVALOR® H implants. A dedicated practice table was setup and each student had the opportunity to perfect their technique on cadaver ears before placing the implants in the live animals. Dr Cloete did a short introduction to Creating Connections principles and demonstrated practical examples of correct cattle handling to the students. MSD Animal Health’s dedicated feedlot key account managers assisted with the training and helped the students with the processing of the cattle on-arrival at the feedlot. Our veterinarians and key account managers have many years of experience working in red-meat production and can provide a valuable service to any commercial producer if there is such a request.

One of the major components that enhances profitability in any cattle feedlot is the correct use of a beta-agonist. ZILMAX®, a beta-agonist containing zilpaterol hydrochloride in a patented formulation, has been the market leader for more than 20 years in South Africa thanks to proven efficacy and safety! ZILMAX® improves the average daily gain, feed conversion ratio and carcass dressing percentage in cattle in a feedlot. MSD Animal Health sponsored all the ZILMAX® for this project, ensuring optimal performance and profitability for the student’s feedlot project.

Talking about profit! The money generated with this project will be used for a bursary for a deserving student studying towards a BSc Animal Science degree at the faculty in 2021. In today’s world of uncertainty, and financial constrains with the Covid-19 pandemic, our core social responsibility is to look after the future of the people in the red meat industry. Thus, a big thank you to the University of Pretoria for allowing MSD Animal Health to be a part of this amazing project!

Dr Johan Cloete talking to the students about Creating Connections.

Dr Brent Sirrals discussing the processing chute and product administration.

Implant placement training station.

Students practicing placement of implants on cadaver cattle ears.

REVALOR® H Reg. No. G2023 (Act 36/1947) Each implant contains: 200 mg Trenbolone Acetate
and 20 mg ß Oestradiol (10 pellets).
ZILMAX® Reg. No. G2180 (Act 36/1947) Contains: Zilpaterol 48 g/kg.

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