Farmers’ Diaries: Columbus Solani

Columbus Solani, Cacadu, Eastern Cape

We farm merino sheep on communal land. Because of the challenges when farming communal land, we are forced to farm differently. We are stud breeders and to ensure our animals’ genes stay pure, we graze them on top of the surrounding mountains where we can manage breeding more easily.

The rams stay at home and are managed separately. Winter breeding starts in July when some of the ewes will be brought down to the home kraals for mating. Rams are put with the ewes from 1 July, but we start preparing them in June.

We dose the rams with Valbantel to protect them against roundworm, lungworm, milk tapeworm, liver fluke, wireworm and hookworm, and with Ovi-min to provide the necessary trace elements and vitamins that stimulate fertility, immunity and growth.

The ewes are also dosed with Valbantel and Ovi-min. They are flush fed – lucerne-based maintenance pellets and yellow maize being the main ingredients – for three weeks before we put the rams in.

As for the rest of the flock, with winter closing in and the veld getting drier, we are now forced to supplement. We provide protein and energy licks to keep the animals in good condition.

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