SAYING THANKS – the key people in our Suidplaas journey so far

DOHNE MERINO, FARMING, 50 YEARS  |  July 21, 2022

In the ever-changing world of Dohne farming, you cannot walk alone. 

As Suidplaas celebrates half a century in the Dohne Merino industry, we take a moment to appreciate two key partners who have contributed to our success along the way.

Even though there are hundreds of people involved in the well-oiled machine that is Suidplaas Dohnes, owner Wynand du Toit shares his appreciation for two particularly important figures that have helped shape the stud over the decades.

A man with a rare set of skills:

Stephan van der Westhuizen

Though they were already acquainted with each other, Stephan van der Westhuizen and Wynand first started working together in 1995. At the time Stephan was involved with Cape Mohair and Wool (CMW) which is today owned by Oos Vrystaat Kaap Bedryf Ltd. (OVK Group).

Wynand says, “If it wasn’t for Stephan, I wouldn’t be where I am today. We have worked together for a long time – both here at home and abroad.”

As stud stock advisor, Stephan’s top priority is to class and select stud ewes and rams and ensure that the Suidplaas genetic quality is upheld through breeding. Stephan says, “One learns over the years what a money-making ewe looks like, and that is very important.”

Wynand says, “It’s a big advantage for us, because very few people have this ability to envision what a sheep will look like in a few years’ time. He has that ability to see a sheep’s potential very early on. He can identify the top breeding rams a year before they are ready, and when the time comes, they are indeed the best choice.”

Their time together overseas stands out to Stephan as a highlight – especially exploring the Dohne industry in Australia, where they set the highest price at the Adelaide auction in 2009. “My relationship with Wynand has also shown me the world. I have seen interesting places I would not have explored otherwise.”

For Wynand, Stephan’s contributions over the years have been unmissable on both a professional and personal level. “It’s very hard to say what he means to Suidplaas Dohnes. He is Suidplaas Dohnes.”

Partnership – especially honesty and trust – between the advisor and breeder is very important, says Stephan. “Wynand and I have come a long way together, so we understand each other. Over and above the size of the stud and quality of the animals, it is Wynand’s character that sets Suidplaas apart from other studs.

My dream for Suidplaas is that our partnership will continue, and that the stud will keep achieving great heights even after I’m gone, because the world’s Dohne industry needs the Suidplaas genetics.

An industry legend:

Cameron McMaster

Cameron McMaster needs no introduction in the world of Dohne Merinos, and he was also a vital role player in the Suidplaas story. Cameron’s distinguished career in the industry spanned multiple decades and is interwoven with the history of the breed itself, as he was also involved in organising the South African Dohne Merino Breed Society’s inaugural meeting in 1966. He published two books on the breed – in 2010 and 2015 – and continued promoting and hosted workshops even after his retirement.

“Cameron came a long way with our stud – 46 years, until his passing in 2018 at  the age of 81. Right until the end he attended our auctions and did a lot of our marketing.”

Wynand has fond memories of working with Cameron, and acknowledges the important contributions he made to the Dohne industry. “He worked with my father in sharing market information, and was very involved with the development of our whole stud. He identified sires, handled a lot of marketing for many breeders and attended many auctions.”

Cameron was also instrumental in establishing Suidplaas’s international success. Wynand says, “Cameron opened the door for me to start doing business in Australia, and even helped me find a joint venture partner there. He meant so much to the breed and to Suidplaas Dohnes, it’s difficult to put into words.”

We also acknowledge the important contributions of all the key people in the Suidplaas journey over the past 50 years – including our Suidplaas team, our buyers, partners, our donors and many more. And we look forward to another half century of promoting genetic excellence in the Dohne Merino industry.

Wynand du Toit

  082 550 1242
  028 425 1625
  wynand@suidplaasdohnes.co.za
  Posbus 4, Protem, 7281
  @SuidplaasDohnes
  @SuidplaasDohnes
  @SuidplaasDohnes

Wynand du Toit

  082 550 1242
  028 425 1625
  wynand@suidplaasdohnes.co.za
  Posbus 4, Protem, 7281
  @SuidplaasDohnes
  @SuidplaasDohnes
  @SuidplaasDohnes