Bulembu has some new citizens. To find them, just walk straight through the main part of town and turn toward Malanda, the nearest homestead. Chances are you’ll probably hear them and maybe even smell them, too. Bulembu’s newest citizens are 25 cows who are dwelling at the Bulembu Dairy and will be used to help increase milk production. Fourteen Holstein and 11 Jersey cows were added to the dairy, bringing the total of cows now to 112.
Bertus Potgieter is the Dairy Manager, overseeing the herd as well as nine employees who help with various tasks including keeping tabs on all of the cows via a special computer program.
“We monitor things like how much food she eats per day, the mount of liters she gives, type of food she eats, when she gets vaccinated and when her calf was born,” explained Bertus, who is also the person who administers all the vaccinations.
The milking process begins every day at 5:30 in the morning and continues again at 3:30 in the afternoon.
“We have to rotate the cows every day so that there is enough grazing for those cows that are not on special feed,” Bertus added. “We have to monitor the grazing and add lime at the right times.”
Different types of cows have different supplementary needs according to their milk production. The Dairy crew uses a special food called TMR, which ups the milk production.
“After a cow has calved, we milk her,” Bertus explained, “And that milk gets put into a can which does not get used. She then gets put on TMR which helps provide milk with lower fat and high protein to make good emasi and milk for Parmalat.”
Bulembu supplies it’s milk to Parmalat, which is one of the leading milk and dairy product suppliers in Swaziland. The Dairy also provides emasi and milk to the Bulembu Bakery in town. The hope is that these additional cows will aid in the growing demand throughout the Kingdom for milk-based products. Many dairies are closing down due to the financial crisis in Swaziland.
“If we can get our production up, we can definitely make some improvements in Bulembu and in the country,” said Bertus.
So on your next visit to Bulembu, be sure you head on over to the Dairy, and say hi to the newcomers. But as nice as they are, don’t expect much in the way of conversation beyond, of course, “Moo.”
By: Theresia Whitfield