Earlier this year, a number of Merino stud breeders from Middelburg in the Eastern Cape formed the Nu Poll Merino Group, whose aim it is to breed polled sheep exclusively. Group member Tinus du Plessis explained to Annelie Coleman why breeding and farming these animals made business sense.
Lambing pens offer a multitude of benefits for farmers. Regina Harmse, who breeds Ile de France sheep in Mpumalanga, spoke to Annelie Coleman about the ways in which these pens can add value to any type of sheep production concern.
Intensive sheep farming has given eastern Free State farmer Gareth Angus the opportunity to increase his lambs’ survival rate, boost profits and ensure traceability from birth to farm gate, while also decreasing predation and elemental risk. Susan Marais visited Angus’s farm during the 2021 LRF Stockman School.
Since 1975, a rural development project in KwaZulu-Natal has been helping communal farmers improve their production of indigenous goats. Today, these farmers are focused on herd health and adopting technology to gain market access and establish small businesses that support their industry.
The Northern Cape’s Williston district is sheep country through and through, but six years of drought have made extensive sheep farming here desperately difficult. Wouter Kriel spoke to producer Hannes Esterhuyse about how he has adapted his operation to run optimally despite the drought.
Using sexed semen in an artificial insemination programme carries a 90% assurance that the surrogate animal will deliver offspring of the desired sex. Annelie Coleman spoke to Damara farmer Stan Burger and embryo-flushing expert Dr Fanie Steyn about the technical process and how to prepare the surrogate ewes.
Juhillin van Wyk grew up on a Northern Cape farm, and today runs a flock of Dorper sheep on communal land near Williston. He spoke to Wouter Kriel about what he has learnt thus far, as well as the importance of buying in rams with the traits to boost flock fertility.
Jonathan Carlson started working on his dream of becoming a farmer straight after he finished school: he made and sold neck clamps for cattle to raise the funds he would need to turn his aspirations into reality. Today, he runs a small yet successful Boer goat and cattle operation.
Emily Kok, a Karoo sheep farmer and winner of several carcass competitions, spoke to Wouter Kriel about the challenges of communal farming on government-owned land, and how she is overcoming them.
Kalahari Red goat farmer Eddie Goosen is building his stud by buying animals from breeders who can prove full traceability of their lineage. He spoke to Lindi Botha about his meticulous selection process and how this has already paid dividends in two years.
Farmers suffer their greatest sheep losses before weaning, with the majority of lamb deaths occurring during the first 10 days after birth, and more than 20% during the first three days. Dr Josef van Wyngaard, technical manager at Voermol Feeds, spoke to Glenneis Kriel about ways to limit these losses.
Going from a part-time communal farmer to a full-time commercial producer is easier said than done. Eastern Cape farmer Sindile Lloyd James spoke to Glenneis Kriel about how he overcame the barriers to entry through his eagerness to learn, and by using strategic partnerships with government and other farmers.