The winter season has peaked, slowing down some farming activities in many farming regions. But farmers in the warmer, frost-free regions of the country, such as Limpopo, are taking advantage of the short window period that gives them a competitive advantage over other regions to grow and supply the market with fresh produce.
Mampotse Koko, Ga-Masha Maite, Limpopo
We are farming on communal land and this area tends to be dry in winter.
Every year this time we provide additional food for the cattle, as well as supplements. We start building feed reserves by buying grass and lucerne before winter when the price is still reasonable, to prepare for this time.
The grazing pattern in winter changes – we release the cattle to graze in the evening and bring them back home in the morning. Then they get grass and lucerne bales. We also mix our own cheap supplement using maize chop (3x50kgbags),molasses(1x50kgbag),and cattle finisher (1 x 50 kg bag).
The biggest challenge we have here is overgrazing because we don’t have a proper management system, which would help us avoid this situation.
My cows are with the bull all year round, but we try and manage the breeding process. The bull is kept at home and does not roam with the cows to avoid it mating with other
cattle in the community. Because I’m not sure what other farmers are doing, and whether they follow proper primary health care principles, I may expose my bull to different types of diseases.
To try and reduce the cost of buying in bales, I’ve established half a hectare to grow lucerne. Last year I sold a few weaners to clear up about 1 ha, drill, and equip a borehole for irrigation.
The lucerne is coming along nicely and we’ll be ready to start cutting soon.