85 Years of Experience
During the course of the past century the Puttergill family has gone from growing tomatoes and green beans to Holstein stud … and in the past decade, Jersey and Hereford stud too!
PUTTERGILL FARMING – THE HISTORY…
In 1932, grandfather, Douglas Puttergill, bought the main farm holding “Bluegums”, which is 387ha, situated in Thornhill, Eastern Cape (30 minutes’ drive west of Port Elizabeth). Two adjoining farms were later purchased, making the total farm area 600ha.
Initially tomatoes and green beans were grown for the fresh market.
In 1954 dairy was introduced as a secondary business, with a few Jerseys and Frieslands milked by hand.
In 1958, Douglas’s youngest son Clive Puttergill (Brett and Grant’s dad) joined his father in the business. The herd by then, had built up to 70 cows, and the system was upgraded to a bucket milking system. More cows were purchased (Dutch Friesland type – much shorter and squarer than the Holstein cows milked at Bluegums today).
The top cows in those days produced around 25 litres per day, compared with the top cows’ average of 65 litres per day today!
In 1970, Clive took over the business, and in 1983 the Puttergills started in earnest with AI bulls which at that stage were all South African bred. In 1984, a new 16-point herringbone parlour was commissioned, where initially, 120 cows were milked.
In 1988, American Holstein semen was introduced into the herd (Aghaloma Thornwood Valiant). The production picked up remarkably – by 7,000-7,500 litres per lactation. American sires Tesk, Winken, Nathan and Calypso were also introduced, and had a big impact on the herd, producing much bigger framed cows with strength and dairyness. These features are still prominent in the herd today, and are the basis of the Puttergills’ farming philosophy.
In 1993, Brett joined his father Clive full-time.
In 1994 vegetable production was stopped to concentrate on milking cows which had become the main business.
In 1999, younger brother Grant joined Brett & Clive.
Puttergill Farming partnership trades as CS Puttergill & Sons. Grant and Brett run the farm, and Clive is semi-retired.
In April 2016, CS Puttergill & Sons commissioned a new 40-point herringbone milking parlour. They are currently milking approximately 400 cows.
The stud-herd comprises predominantly Holsteins and a handful of Jerseys (introduced to the herd in 2008).
Grant & Brett also started a small Hereford beef stud in 2012.
- Holsteins – Beemer, Bankroll, Jacey, Corvette, Diamondback, Insider, Lawman
- Jerseys – Lemonhead, Topeka, Cyrus, Raceway, Lions
- Herefords – Lego, Lambeau, Vicedale Roger, Locheim Canonball
- Holsteins: 351d lactation – 10,038kg, 3.87% fat, 3.09% protein, ICP 417d
- Jerseys: 333d lactation – 7,099kg, 4.78% fat, 3.61% protein, ICP 402d
- Daily average production per cow for the whole herd (Holsteins & Jerseys) = 28 litres of milk per cow per day
- 8kg average
- 150ha of grazing with 74ha under irrigation
- Winter pasture: Ryegrass & Oats + Kikuyu pasture
- Summer pasture: Teff & Kikuyu + Ryegrass silage (Teff in Feb)