The value of having a food bank

If you love your local shisa nyama, you’ve probably enjoyed a brisket or pork chop from CH Meat Farm. Palesa Moahloli, an award-winning beef and pork farmer near Boshof in the Free State, farms alongside her husband and her son.

Moahloli farms on dryland in an area that has low rainfall. Her cattle are fed on natural sweetveld that grows on her 1 300-hectare farm.

Reggie Mchunu, Pannar key account manager of smallholder farmers, talked about her farming strategy on the second episode of African Farming. He told host Angie Khumalo that Moahloli could greatly benefit from investing in a food bank, especially for the winter months.

“There is still so much more she can do with the land she has available.”

He believes a food bank could come in handy during the months of July and August.

“We have a range of winter crops she can plant to secure a food bank. She should plant these crops closer to the end of summer.”

Mchunu says Moahloli can for instance plant ryegrass, an annual or perennial variety, that grows throughout the year and use it to supplement her cattle’s feed.

“Her calves must have access to grass that has enough moisture, otherwise this shortage could impair their growth. The same goes for sheep farmers’ lambs.”

He says it is important to supplement livestock’s feed in the winter, because it is breeding season.

“If cattle don’t receive enough feed it could lead to various condition and health challenges when it comes time for breeding.”

He further stated that she could even consider planting forage sorghum in the summer.

“Then drying it in the winter and feeding it to her livestock, especially the cattle. It will boost their milk production. She can also look at lucerne and bale it, so that there is enough feed in the food bank for a really bad season with little to no rainfall.”

Mchunu admires Moahloli.

“She fared well over the years, surviving and thriving on dryland.”

He believes she can build on that success by having a good back-up plan for seasons when it gets really tough.

“Having a proper food bank with enough silage for when the rainfall is low, is very important to manage the condition and health of the cattle optimally.”

For information: Reggie Mchunu, 082 098 5242.


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