Northern Cape grazing shortage critical

The lack of grazing in large parts of the Northern Cape is becoming serious, according to an Agri Northern Cape report.

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This followed after three major veld fires between October and November in the vicinity of Kuruman. Between 4 and 8 October, 57 000ha were destroyed west of Kuruman. Between 1 and 3 November, 12 532ha was destroyed east of Kuruman. A further 12 754ha were destroyed in the area west of Kuruman between 19 and 20 November. These areas have received between 58mm to 168mm of rain so far this year, and although the veld has improved dramatically, heat spells during January have impaired further growth.

It is unlikely that grazing will recover sufficiently to ensure enough reserves for winter. Instead, farmers will have to continue to feed livestock until the next rainy season, said the report. Grazing conditions in the Koopmansfontein area of the Ghaap Plateau are critical. Some areas received good rains in January, but the majority of the farms affected by the October/November fires received only 20mm to 30mm without any follow-up rains. Large areas are still without any regrowth and livestock herds continue being fed.

Namaqualand is for the most part also very dry, despite good rain earlier in the season. No follow-up rain had been received at the time of writing. The Calvinia area is split into a summer and winter rainfall region. Both experienced average to below-normal rainfall last year. Extreme cold and frost last winter contributed to the fact that the veld did not grow as it should. Snowfall during August improved conditions, but as no follow-up rain occurred, some farmers have already started feeding their livestock.

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Grazing conditions in the Gordonia region fluctuate between very poor and good. The south-western region, east and north of Noenieput, is very dry and grazing was scarce. The north-eastern region of Langklip/Cnydas received only 20mm of rain and grazing was severely affected. The rest of the area received approximately 70mm rain during December. Eastern Gordonia received good rain in January, and grazing conditions are good. The western region received no rain.