1916 - The Beginning
Cobb started off with modest beginnings in Massachusetts USA in 1916.
Since then, the company has developed into one of the world's largest and most established broiler breeder companies – wholly owned by Tyson Foods in the US. Currently the breed is used in chicken production in over 60 countries.
1997 - The Rainbow Alliance
In South Africa, Rainbow Farms' relationship with Cobb began in 1997 when they first imported grandparent stock. Over time, and because of the symbiotic and inherent strengths of the relationship, Rainbow moved to utilising the breed completely across all three production regions.
This was followed by the establishment of a forward alliance - that of being the sole representative in South Africa and so ‘Cobb South Africa' was established.
This investment has provided benefits to the entire South African poultry industry and provided access to considerable international technical support in the areas of breeding, broiler, nutrition, flock health, environmental control, processing and planning.
2000 - COBB South Africa
Cobb South Africa operates from two large, modern grandparent units. The first is at Carolina, in the Mpumalanga Province, where our new breeder and hatchery complex was inaugurated in late 2000. Due to the demand for the Cobb500 product, further investments were made and at the end of 2007 a second production unit was opened at Mpongo Park, near East London. We now have two strategically positioned production units. They are strategic for supply and biological risk management in the event of a major disease outbreak.
We aim to offer a better-quality breed of chicken to local poultry farmers, and our success in this endeavour has been unparalleled. It can largely be attributed to the high performance and consistency of the Cobb breed, which translates into exceptional meat yield, excellent appearance, uniformity and taste quality.
The Cobb breed now has over 40% market share in South Africa.
Click on each team member to find out more.
Dr Sanjay Maharaj
Sanjay has over 29 years of experience in the poultry industry having joined RCL FOODS in 1989 as a Laboratory Technologist. He occupied various operational roles including hatchery, breeding and broilers before moving to a technical portfolio in 2017. Sanjay has a PhD in microbiology from the University of KwaZulu Natal. He was appointed as Director of Agriculture from 1st September 2018.
Willem De Lange
Cobb Planning Manager
Willem started his poultry career with Rocklands Poultry, now known as Sovereign Foods in 1998. After 7 years with Rocklands, fulfilling various roles, but specialising in Hatcheries he joined Rainbow Farms in 2005 as the Hatchery Manager at Palala, one of the largest integrated hatcheries in the country.
In 2013, he successfully completed the Cobb Technical School in Arkansas USA. Willem has recently joined the Cobb SA team as their Planning Manager.
Technical and Sales Manager
Theo completed his BSc (Agric) Animal Science degree at the University of Pretoria in 2005. He attained a diploma in Business Management with distinction from Varsity College in 2012 and has experience in trading of Agricultural commodities.
He joined Rainbow at Epol Rustenburg in 2008 and gained valuable experience working as a Poultry Specialist.
He joined Cobb SA in January 2010 as the Breeder Specialist, since then he attended and successfully completed Cobb Technical Schools in various parts of the World.
He was appointed as Manager in April 2014.
Denise joined Cobb in 2003 as Hatchery Clerk and was later promoted to Financial Accountant in 2007.
She obtained a Practical Management Certificate in 2005 at the Graduate Institue of Management and Technology and is currently studying towards her B. Compt degree in Management Accounting.
Steph von Waltsleben
Breeding Technical Advisor
Steph studied Animal & Poultry Science at UKZN and obtained a BSc (Agric) in 2008. After working in the Agricultural field for 2 years, she then went on to further her studies and completed her Masters in Poultry Science, specialising in Poultry Reproduction and Nutrition in 2012.
She gained valuable knowledge and experience in the Agricultural/ Avian Breeding Industry, having worked abroad in England and Dubai for a number of years whilst completing her Master’s degree.
Steph joined the Rainbow team at the beginning of 2013 as a Technical Advisor for Epol, Pietermaritzburg, focusing primarily on Broiler Breeder customers.
She moved across to Cobb SA in October 2014 as the Breeder Technical Advisor.
Broiler Technical Advisor
Brendan completed his MSc (Agric) Animal Science degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2013.
He was then accepted into RCL Foods 2014 Graduate Recruitment Program, where he worked as an Agricultural Management Trainee for Rainbow in the Western Cape. He received training in the Hatchery, Rearing and Laying sectors, before concentrating on Broiler management.
Brendan then accepted a position at Cobb SA in 2015 as the Broiler Technical Advisor.
Kobus joined Rainbow farms Rustenburg in 1990 in the breeding division. In 1998 he moved to Rainbow farms Midrand as the breeding production manager and in 2005 he was promoted to agricultural manager responsible for the Midrand region.
Kobus attended and successfully completed Cobb’s World Technical school in the United States in 2010.
Kobus was appointed as the Agricultural executive for Cobb SA in 2014 and with more than 2 decades of experience in various roles within the poultry industry, Kobus brings a wealth of experience with him to the Cobb family.
Breeder Production Manager - Carolina
Michael obtained a National diploma in Animal Production from the Pretoria Technicon now known as the Tshwane University of Technology in 1998. He has more than 15 years production experience. Michael started with Cobb in 2002 doing in-service training on rearing, laying and hatcheries.
He went through a number of intensive training programs whilst with RCL Foods for example a Leadership development Programme at GIBBS and the Cobb World Tech school in USA to name a few.
Michael was promoted within the ranks and is currently working as the Breeder Production Manager at our Carolina facilities.
Megan Van Der Merwe
Breeder Production Manager - East London
Megan Studied BSc Agric (Animal Science & Animal Genetics) at the University of Pretoria and completed her degree in 2005. She Started as an assistant small stock farmer at a large milk goat herd at Limpopo Dairy. In 2009 Megan stepped into the poultry industry at Hubbard SA, GP facility, as assistant farm manager which was later sold to Midway Chix.
Through her affiliation to Midway chix she was later appointed in Afgri Poultry and served as Breeder Farm Manager.
Megan was appointed as East London Breeder Production manager for CobbSA in 2015.
Hatchery Manager – Carolina
Oscar obtained a National Diploma in Agric management from the Tswane University of Technology in 2003. He persisted with his studies to complete an Agricultural degree and Masters of science at Unisa.
Oscar started with RCL foods in 2003 as a hatchery foreman in Rainbow Rustenburg. He, further has experience in Breeder production as he was a breeder farm manager in the Rainbow Midrand Region for a couple of years. Oscar joined the Cobb team as Carolina GP Hatchery Manager in February 2015.
Broiler Technical Advisor