Phillip Oosthuizen was born in 1991 and grew up on his family’s farm between Bethlehem and Kestell in the Free State. He matriculated from Bethlehem Voortrekker High School in 2009 whereafter he left to study at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein. Spending so much time on his family’s farm instilled a passion for agriculture in Phillip and a special interest in the science behind it, and ultimately prompted him to enrol for a B.Sc in Agriculture with a specific focus on Animal Science and Agricultural Economics.
After completing his four-year degree, he applied to do his Honours and thereafter his Masters in Agricultural Economics. Phillip is currently registered for his PhD in Agricultural Economics. His studies have given him the opportunity to dig deeper into the economic science of agriculture and provided him with both interesting and innovative research opportunities. What motivates him above everything else, it is the fact that the research and work he’s doing, works towards ensuring a sustainable agricultural environment and strengthening South Africa’s food security.
Phillip first came into contact with the Sernick Group during his Master’s degree. Nick Serfontein saw the opportunity to better understand the mechanics in the feedlot from a scientific point of view and granted Phillip and the University of Free State the opportunity to establish the feedlot experiment on Sernick’s premises. Oosthuizen’s study aimed to determine the profit maximising feeding period for different beef cattle breeds in the feedlot. The data acquired was analysed and used to improve precision farming at Sernick which in turn improved the feedlot’s profitability. He was employed by Nedbank Business banking as an agricultural business manager whereafter, in 2017 Phillip was appointed as Head of Research and Economics at the Sernick Group with the primary objective to improve the various processes and products in the group’s value chain by incorporating research results and innovative ideas.
Since then Phillip has also completed research on the optimal strategy of growth promotors on feedlot performance, meat quality and consumer preferences. And another on the effect of natural oils in the feed ration, on feedlot performance and carcass fatty acid composition from a health perspective. He is also part of intensive sheep farming training, product and system development through a partnership between Sernick and Mamre Initiative. Through such research, the Sernick Group aims to improve and optimise the company’s farming methods as the company believes that innovation is the only way forward.