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Moorddrift Dairy is arguably the oldest dairy farm within South Africa’s northernmost province, Limpopo.
The picturesque family-owned farm will be celebrating its centenary in 2012.

How it all began:

1912Hendrik Smit bought the farm, Moorddrift, measuring 2,500 morgan (2,300 Ha), for the sum of 2,082 pounds sterling, eight shillings and tuppence. Hendrik was born in Malmesbury in the Boland, hence the Cape Dutch style buildings on the farm. At the time of purchasing the farm, he was a stockbroker in Johannesburg and came to live on the farm in 1923. He was a very successful racehorse breeder.

1931 - William, Hendrik’s eldest son (born in 1912), joined his father on the farm. Together they centred the main farming activities on citrus, groundnuts, beef cattle and a small Ayrshire dairy herd. Butter was made for the family’s own use and raw milk was sold to town for the first time in 1936. They produced 50 gallons of milk per day and used a mule cart to transport goods to town.

1972Ken, William’s eldest son, joined his father and grandfather on the farm. Farming shifted to cotton under irrigation, a beef herd and the dairy, which by then had become more prominent.

1983The milk factory was upgraded to include milk pasteurisation and its products were marketed and sold through small convenience stores (commonly referred to in South Africa as café’s) and the only chain store operating in the region, OK Bazaar.

1993By now, Moorddrift’s milk production process also included homogenisation. Milk was packed and distributed through further retail outlets in Mokopane (Potgietersrus) and Polokwane (Pietersburg). Everything revolved around the production of good quality milk and ensuring that the business remains a sustainable and highly successful enterprise.

1996The dairy herd was sold and milk was collected from various farmers in the area in order to concentrate on additional distribution channels.

William Smit & his champion Ayshire bull_Early 1950's
The dairy in 1983
Hendrik Smit
William, Stephen & Ken Smit

2000 - Ken’s wife Tersia started a small tented bush camp for hunters. Today, Tersia manages the self catering Nyl River Bush Camp [suggestion: hyperlink to bush camp page] consisting of 10 chalets on the farm. It is an ideal venue for hunters, fishermen, corporate events, weddings, general family functions and for those who enjoy the outdoors.

2004 Ken and Tersia’s son Stephen, being the fourth generation, joined the business.

2005 - A modern dairy processing plant is imported from Italy and installed with the intention of enabling the existing dairy increase capacity. Milk is bought from dairies in Mpumalanga and transported to Moorddrift by insulated tankers and packed and labeled in various containers before being distributed throughout Limpopo. Moorddrift Dairy is by now one of the biggest independent dairies in Limpopo.

2007William passed away at the age of 94. He is remembered for his wonderful contribution to the farm and his love for his dairy cows. To date, William’s wife, June, still keeps herself very active on the farm.

2008In addition to milk, the Moorddrift Dairy also started producing 4,000 litres of yoghurt in various flavours, supplying a full range of dairy products to all major chain stores and smaller convenience stores throughout Limpopo, parts of Mpumalanga and Gauteng. More than 250 staff members are employed by the dairy and a large fleet of vehicles are acquired for distribution.

2009Stephen takes over as CEO and takes Moorddrift Dairy to a new technological level [suggestion: hyperlink to processing plant page]. The Moorddrift Dairy processing plant, one of the most sophisticated in South Africa, is where milk is now not only pasteurised and homogenised, but also clarified and standardised. Both a modern fleet of refrigerated vehicles for goods transportation and an efficient distribution channel for all dairy products are firmly entrenched in the business.

2010Moorddrift Dairy announces the addition of a bactofuge system to its processing plant. Bactofugation is commonly known as extended shelf life (ESL) and has the ability to prolong the shelf life of fresh, pasteurised milk. Customers now have access to milk that is both creamier and healthier, but above all, it simply stays fresher for longer.




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