Serving South Africa’s animal feed industry

Veekos is an animal feeds manufacturer in Upington, South Africa. In 2006, the company merged with Voermeester to create a single business entity. Veekos’ speciality is the manufacturing and distribution of a wide range of lucerne (alfalfa) based animal feed products primarily in South Africa’s Sorthern Cape province, as well as in the southern areas of Namibia. Lucern hay can be fed to ruminants as a fodder crop (raw material) to supplement grazing or it can be included as a component in animal feed in various feeds in the industry.

Most of the lucern hay is used by the animal feed industry, either by those who process it and produce animal feed or by those who mixe components of feed themselves in their animal industries. At present, Veekos, headed by general manager Beyers Mallo, is planning to upgrade its produce to include licks for the cattle and sheep markets. The company has a production capacity of 50,000 tons per annum.

Veekos has been a part of the NMI Group since 2000. The NMI group is a holding company that actively manages a portfolio of investments which is made up of 11 operating companies which are mainly active in the following sectors: wheat and maize milling, animal feeds, pasta, biscuits, sugar and poultry. Founded in 1981, the group was started by Pieter van Niekerk when the first business of the future group, a small greenfields maize mill in Windhoek, Namibia, was established. Today, the group is a major supplier of staple food and animal feed in the southern African region and employs nearly 2,500 people in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland and Mozambique. State of the art facilities and a highly skilled workforce make sure that a wide range of quality branded products which meet the requirements of local customers are produced.

A commitment to continuous quality improvement and superior service are the key reasons as to why its products are category leaders. The NMI Group adheres to strict business ethics and complies with local laws of every country where it operates and it is the priority of the group to respect the customs, cultures and practices of all stakeholders.

The importance of exceeding health standards is something Veekos takes extremely seriously. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as Mad Cow disease, is an example of the terrible consequences of lesser stringent compliance. The group also recognizes the importance of corporate social responsibility and environmental regulatory requirements.

Lucerne

The South African animal feed industry is a vital part of the country’s agriculture. Its profile was raised greatly in the early 1930s, propelled by debilitating droughts and depressions. Necessity saw advances in the science of animal nutrition and feed which birthed alternatives for feeding systems, alternatives which, 80 years later, Veekos have made more sophisticated and widely distributed. In fact, the company capitalises on the science of nutritional supplements in order to promote good health and longevity of life for animals.

Veekos products are used by tens of thousands of farmers with feed mills on their farms. The lucerne seed is renowned for its history as the plant longest grown for animal feed specifically. According to the Nation Lucerne Organization, the plant was used from Spain to China, from Sweden to North America, and has long been established for use in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. “The development or use of lucerne as fodder led to a highly successful cultivated crop. This success is probably due to the efficient root system of the plant, coupled with its symbiosis with the nitrogen-fixing Rhizobium bacteria which reduce the plant’s dependence on soil nitrogen. The strongly developed taproot makes it possible to access water reserves as deep as six metres down, so that the plant can survive long droughts.” according to the organization’s website.

Veekos is a member of the National Lucerne Organization, the representative body for the South African lucern seed and hay industry which advocates and works on behalf of manufactures. This work includes the co-ordination of research projects, distribution of information, transfer of technology and issues regarding the industry.

Product line

The Veekos product line is extensive and is focused around sheep, dairy, cattle, horse, ostrich, pets, game, concentrates and licks. For dairy products, for example, Veekos provides colostrums, the first and most important feed for a calf. The antibodies and high nutritive value help protect the calf against diseases. Milk substitutes, starter cubes and growth pellets are designed to continue to nourish the cow during its development, providing different nutrients when needed. Veekos also has an educational component for disease prevention, such as informing farmers that a “Vitamin A inoculation should be administered after the colostrum period. It increases resistance against mucous infections, and thus diseases such as pneumonia, eye infections and enteritis,” according to the Veekos website.

Over the past decades the South African horse industry has changed from primarily being working animals to having horses for sporting and recreation events. Therefore, better balanced diets and the rationing of feed intake is required, which is addressed by the Horse Feed series of Veekos. The company has distinct and tailored feed products for every breed of animal and understands the diverse needs of farmers and their livestock. The breadth of products under the Veekos umbrella make Veekos an invaluable contribution to the animal feed industry.