Management guide needed for Namaqualand

The Botanical Society’s Namaqua District Products’ Project (NDP) says the Karoo region needs its own livestock- grazing management guidelines.
Issue date: 18 April 2008

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The Botanical Society’s Namaqua District Products’ Project (NDP) says the Karoo region needs its own livestock- grazing management guidelines. “Working with livestock farmers in Namaqualand to promote biodiversity-friendly livestock farming practices has shown there’s no available document that clearly outlines recommended or acceptable livestock-management practices for the Karoo,” said Dr Philip Desmet of the Botanical Society.

“While there may be agriculture department guidelines for the livestock industry, it’s not clear to what extent the guidelines, aimed at economic production, are compatible with biodiversity conservation objectives.”

The NDP said it would look for a service provider to review the agriculture department’s guidelines and make recommendations on appropriate livestock-management activities, to promote biodiversity conservation and form the basis for developing guidelines with a holistic approach to livestock management in the Karoo, as well as provide material for the development of a land-user training programme.– Roelof Bezuidenhout

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Wool buyers are more selective

The wool market was firm at the first sale after the Easter recess and the Merino indicator ended the day 0,3% higher, to close at R69,74 /kg (clean wool), according to Ona Viljoen of Cape Wools. “There was brisk demand from all sectors of the trade, particularly for quality long wools, which fetched excellent prices. The rand traded at R8,03 against the US dollar at the opening of the sale, but started to strengthen toward the afternoon to trade at R7,82, which was 0,7% stronger than at the previous sale. It also gained 2,1% against the euro.”

The best performers were good quality long fleeces of 20 micron and 21 micron, which gained 2,2% and 0,7% respectively. Fine wools were virtually unchanged, while the stronger end of the market traded slightly lower. Cape Mohair and Wool’s James de Jager said although the sale continued the season’s positive trend, the level at which the market is operating appears to be causing some uncertainty among buyers who are more selective with their purchases, particularly in respect of shorter, inferior and cross-bred wools.

“Even so, prospects remain good in light of the positive opening of the Australian market,” he said. “Competition was good with grease-wool exporters particularly prominent. JM Kirkman Farming from Steytlerville achieved the highest price, R70,20/kg for one bale BBH of 16,8 micron.”

This was the largest offering of the season, totalling 15 516 bales of which 96% changed hands. Average price movements for AWEX-type fleeces, MF4 and MF5 of 70mm and 80mm were as follows: 19 micron unchanged at R86,65/kg; 20 micron up 2,2% to R77,16/ kg; 21 micron up 0,7% at R71,38 /kg; 22 micron down 0,8% at R68,67/kg; and 23 micron weakened by 0,5% to R67,37/kg.

There were no quotes for 24 micron and 25 micron in these specific categories. Major buyers were Standard Wool SA (3 965 bales), Modiano (3 283 bales), Stucken (2 133 bales) and Chargeurs Wool (2 075 bales). – Roelof Bezuidenhout

Farmer withdraws charges

Minutes before case against two teenagers, charged with trespassing on Willem Verhoef’s 360ha farm near Mooi River, was due to start, the charges were dropped. Upon being reminded by the state prosecutor and the children’s attorney that the children will have a criminal record for life, Verhoef decided to withdraw his case.

He said the state prosecutor told him his safety was of importance as people were vindictive. “I told him never to threaten me again,” said Verhoef. “But knew that if went into court would be labelled as a boer who wanted to flex his muscles at small children.

The children and their father gave me their assurance they would not walk through the field again and withdrew the charges.” Verhoef said his motive for pressing charges against the 15- and 17-year-old girls in October last year was their own safety. “They were walking through a field where have 130 Brahman cows with calves, and a bull weighing a ton among cows on heat.

At what stage does the responsibility go from my shoulders to those of their parents? Children must be taught responsibility.” The case occurred in the context of a series of incidents between Verhoef and farm tenants, and a land claim on over 60ha of Verhoef’s farm, which has been dragging on for four years. – Robyn Joubert

Drop in ‘07 roundwood sales

Roundwood sales dropped 3,4% in 2007 according to Forestry South Africa (FSA). This was mainly due to a drop in sales of sawlogs by 353 000t (8,9%) and pulpwood by 316 000t (2,7%). “The drop in pulpwood sales is of particular concern because it followed a 674 000t decrease during 2006,” explained Roger Godsmark, assistant director at FSA. “Eucalyptus sales were down by 446 000t and wattle by 116 000t on 2006 figures, while softwood sales remained the same.” FSA said the reasons for the decline include the year’s devastating fires that damaged many timber plantations beyond short-term recovery, and the overfelling of plantations to meet local and international demand for timber products in recent years. There had also been technical problems at the large pulp mills that take about 75% of SA’s roundwood timber. – Lloyd Phillips