Review/Oorsig Volume 23, Issue 01 - Page 27

Volume 23 • Issue 01 • 2019 His dedication to the community made a huge impact on farming in the Underberg-Himeville region. His impish sense of humour has long been remembered. In one instance, after a long gruelling day of pregnancy testing beef cows in east Griqualand, Peter had to attend to a calving problem. He was exhausted, the calf was dead and the cow was down - in a wattle plantation. He suggested to the farmer they return, refreshed, at first light to perform a caesarean. The farmer insisted on immediate action, so the surgery proceeded by bakkie lights. The farmer had bad knees. Peter knew this because the farmer had recently relinquished the ‘keeper’s gloves in the local cricket side in which Peter was the off-spin bowler. So the owner of the beast asked his strapping neighbour to act as the surgeon’s assistant. No, Peter insisted, it was the farmer’s cow thus the farmer – and nobody else – had to help him! An hour or more of crouching and kneeling later, the farmer had to be carried to his bakkie! The two men shook hands and remained life-long friends. Peter Collier’s contributions to Underberg and KZN livestock farming were many and varied. Perhaps the most noteworthy were his practice’s full-scale support for, and utilisation of, Dr Bob Bryson’s Allerton Mastitis Scheme. This coordinated effort between state and private vet services saw the local demise of Staph. aureus as a huge cost in dairy profitability. He led the crusade against bovine trichomoniasis in KZN and virtually eradicated the disease in his region by establishing protocols that are still respected in the 21st century. He worked with the Onderstepoort Research Institute to test, promote and use vaccines against bovine babesiosis and anaplasmosis in the region. His passion for sheep work resulted in highly fertile flocks through rigorous management practices encouraging ewe flushing through nutrition and vasectomised (teaser) rams, rigorous culling and strict ram fertility testing. Dr Collier was the mover and shaker in “The Southern Natal and East Griqualand Veterinary Circle. The practices in Underberg, Ixopo and Kokstad met at the Taurus bull testing station at Baynesfield to discuss matters of mutual interest and concern. Later the group expanded to include Midlands colleagues in Pietermaritzburg, Howick and Estcourt and was renamed the Natal Rural Practitioners Group (RPG). According to Tod Collins – Peter’s greatest fan for over forty years - Peter was gifted with a maddeningly controlled personality, always level-headed and open-minded no matter the situation. Peter started every day of work at the practice (for 30+ years) “whistling the blessed theme tune from The Sound of Music!” After retiring from fulltime practice in 2005, the Colliers lived at Mountainaires, a cosy retirement and holiday complex in Underberg. Peter and Ena (she was the practice manager for 45 years) passed away within two years of one another and left children Aston, Myles and Marina, and six grandchildren. And a vibrant vet practice. Tod Collins 27