THE PLATDRIF SUSSEX STORY
In the shades of the Drakenstein and Waaihoek Mountains in the astonishing Breede River Valley, the Stofberg family farms and breeds cattle between Worcester and Rawsonville. Nollie Stofberg mainly farms with grapes, used for wine production, and soft citrus fruits, for exporting purposes.
The farm, Swartwalle, was purchased in 1969 by Nollie’s father and this is where Nollie started farming in 1985. In 1984, Platdrif was purchased near Rawsonville, but due to marginal soil that had little to no potential for trees or vines, Nollie seized the opportunity to pursue his true passion, cattle.
What started as commercial Sussex cattle farming in 1985, turned into a Sussex stud after a mere eight years in 1994. Due to limited grounds in the Western Cape, Nollie decided that quality is worth a lot more than quantity.
Female animals were bought from Mardenel, Start and Huntersvlei Stud. Top Sussex bulls were bought from studs such as Eversar, Mampudi, Huntersvlei and Stotterheim. These purchases helped and led Platdrif Sussex on the road to success.
Strict selection is applied for muscling, smooth hair, depth of body and growth. The Platdrif Sussex genetics flourishes in many parts of South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
Sussex cattle are known for their good temperaments, strong prepotency, fertility, early maturity, excellent milk properties and a good coat. Milk production is a strong trait in Sussex as a beef breed.
Sussex cattle work well in a crossbreeding program. Sussex bulls are used for cross breeding purposes on breeds such as Afrikaner, Bonsmara, Boran, Nguni, Senepol and Tuli because weaning weight, conformation and many other traits improve when doing this. Sussex crossbreeding also unlocks hybrid vigour amongst other breeds. Sussex bulls are used to enhance the growth rate, capacity and marketability of calves.
The growth rate and carcass quality are better, and the dark red coat occurs in about 80% of the crossed calves. This increases the demand for Sussex calves at feedlots. Versatility and a remarkable growth rate give a profit to Sussex to lead in both purebred herds as well as crossbreeding programs. While generally interbreeding Sussex bulls to increase profitability and unlock hybrid vigour, the thoroughbred Sussex herds always have many benefits.