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We are greatful to this year's sponsors. Without the involvement of these industry leaders, this project would not have such a positive impact on both our students and the industry.

Beefcor Logo


Beefcor loaned 120 calves for the challenge and provided all the feed.

Beefcor is a fully integrated beef company, aiming to produce the highest quality meat for South African consumers, from beginning to end. They want to provide consumers not only with excellent beef products but with the information they need to make informed buying decisions.

Contact Beefcor Beefcor Services

Zoetis Logo


Zoetis is the Financial Sponsor of the challenge and also supplied all the medicines.

There are few certainties in the beef industry. One of them is the reliability, safety and effectiveness of Zoetis products. Another is the quality people, programs and services that Zoetis consistently offers the cattle industry.

For beef producers, Zoetis offers a complete line of quality products – vaccines, parasite-control products and antibiotics. More than 70 products for cattle let you customize a health program that fits the herd in your operation.

Contact Zoetis Zoetis in Feedlot

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Plaas Media

Plaas Media is providing media coverage for the challenge.

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About the Feedlot Challenge

More information about how the challenge works


The Department of Production Animal Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science proudly presents: The 14th Onderstepoort Feedlot Challenge 2022.

How it works

Fifth year Veterinary students divide themselves into 5 groups of 18 – 25 students per group. Each group of students has to run the complete process of a commercial feedlot, including the following:

  1. Financial planning and budgeting given the current market conditions.
  2. Select calves for feedlot potential from performance data and conformation.
  3. Purchase between 4 and 8 calves at a closed auction held specifically for the Feedlot Challenge.


  1. Determine and apply the processing strategy, including identification, anti-parasitics, growth stimulants, vaccinations, metaphilaxis and any other processes deemed necessary.
  2. Design the feed formulations based on a raw material order list, mix the rations and manage their own feed store.
  3. Manage their own kraal including feed bunk management, health and production monitoring, biosecurity, environmental impact etc.
  4. Determine and apply the marketing strategy. Unfortunately, due to past experience, students are not allowed to market the carcasses. These are marketed through a local butcher, applying the real market price at the time. However students can determine the slaughter date, and can market the 5th quarter and the hide, and any other commodity.
  5. Accounting and reporting on important financial indicators for a feedlot.


The Challenge

Student groups are evaluated by a panel of lecturers and experts from the feedlot industry, based on a formula developed specifically for the Feedlot Challenge over the past 8 years. This includes financial and production data, professionalism and evidence of experience gained. Calves are also evaluated after the auction and just before marketing, and carcasses are evaluated for quality traits. Special prizes are given for these categories.


Each student chooses a specific task to research, experience, and report on. This teaches the post-modern student how to find and critically evaluate information, how to look for and interpret scientific evidence. It also teaches the student writing skills, a very important professional attribute that seems to be fading. Another objective is to reinforce discipline in reporting, in that adherence to specified formatting guidelines counts heavily in the assessment. This assignment counts 50% towards the Feedlot mark, the other 50% consisting of a peer evaluation process in order to determine the relative contribution of each student within the group.

Collaboration with professionals and other knowledgeable persons in the industry is encouraged, keeping in mind that students have to be able to substantiate all their decisions and actions scientifically. In the past students have made contact with experts in the industry, visited feedlots and established support networks, which is seen as a great advantage to the project.


The Challenge 2022