When Danie Jonker needed feed and water troughs, he chose to make them himself from recycled plastic. This quickly created a huge demand with farmers, and today he and his family run the company “WellFed Krippe” which manufactures troughs and other farming equipment.
What began as an experiment to make feeding troughs from recycled plastic attracted so much interest that a stock farmer now manufactures agricultural equipment such as water troughs and creep feeders.
Life has taken a few detours for Danie Jonker of Lichtenburg in the North West province of South Africa, whose dreams of playing rugby overseas were shattered by an injury. After working overseas, he returned to South Africa to work with his father, the late Robert Jonker, in his real estate agency in Lichtenburg. Here he gained experience in marketing. During this time, he also refereed more than 300 local rugby matches.
When the recession hit, and the sale of properties lost impetus, Danie started speculating with weaner calves, and fattening weaner pigs for resale. Today he farms on a small scale with beef cattle on the farm belonging to his mother, artist Sanet Jonker.
FEED AND WATER TROUGHS
This is where the idea for his troughs took hold. His father-in-law, Willem Lewis, and his brother-in-law, Gavin Lewis, of Klerksdorp had a business that recycled used plastic, manufacturing it into something useful – mostly pipes and other items for the mines.
The plastic is collected on rubbish heaps and purchased from hawkers. They deliver it in lorries and the plastic is then sorted according to the different types, quality, and hardness. It is then chopped up, washed and dried, then melted and injected into moulds to produce the various products.
At one stage, Danie needed feed and water troughs for his stock. He and Willem put their heads together one Saturday and made a couple of feeding troughs.
When Danie saw how strong the troughs were, he decided to market them and to display a few troughs at an auction. Many farmers showed an interest in the troughs and the business was born! After that they started manufacturing and selling the troughs on a larger scale.
At that time Willem already had drainpipe moulds for the mines. These pipes are half-moon shaped and open at the top. They attach a pedestal so that it can stand by itself. By closing the ends, it forms a trough for either water or feed.
Danie and the family now manufacture various types and sizes of troughs in Willem and Gavin’s factory, halfway between Klerksdorp and Ventersdorp. The only difference between the water and feed troughs is that the water troughs are sealed with plastic and are equipped with a ball valve and a cover over the ball valve to protect it from the elements and the animals.
Danie also has the option of fitting a framework over the feed trough to keep baby goats and lambs from climbing into the feed.
During the recent drought, they also designed a creep feeder with dividers so that only the lambs can eat and not the ewes. Danie developed this after a farmer told him that a normal trough inside a creep feed shed for small livestock can teach lambs to climb through fencing. This trough can be used up to weaning age, greatly reducing weaning shock. The lambs then acclimatize quickly to a feedlot.
They have also developed feed rings, feed and water troughs for use at shows, dog bowls, planter wheels and other wheels, palisade fencing, and walking sticks – all from durable, recycled plastic.
Today they manufacture many useful products from waste material that would otherwise be lost and would normally pollute the environment. In addition, the products are very strong, UV-resistant and are not affected by salt. They are also easily managed by hand.
The price of the water troughs starts at R400, the feed troughs cost from R500, a hanging show trough costs R250 and wheels are from R50.
ENQUIRIES: Danie Jonker, cell 084 805 2484; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.