Project Participant: Paul Vorster, Loxton Northern Cape
1. Tell us about yourself. where do you farm, your family and your interests?
I farm with my family on the commonage and on some properties around Loxton in the Northern Cape. I have a love for animals, which is why I decided to start farming.
2. In once paragraph - what is your farming philosophy?
I learned from and farmed for commercial farmers in the area for many years, as such I am now able to successfully farm on my own. I believe you have to look after your animals. You have to take care of their health and make sure they have enough clean water and grazing available. Healthy, productive animals are important if you want to farm successfully.
3. Tell us about one of your farming challenges and how you solved it.
I spend a lot of time going around the farm and I notice when things have broken. It is important for me to make time to check and fix my infrastructure as soon as possible. Another challenge I have is predators that attack and kill my livestock. I continually have to make plans to protect my livestock. I know gin-traps are not a good option, as they might harm other animals. So I try to deter predators in creative ways. One method I am using is to put foreign scents on my lambs’ coats. Jackals really don’t seem to like the smell of Stay-Soft and leave these lambs alone!
4. What is the most important SLM lesson that you have learned?
Through the courses hosted by the EWT, such as the Bossie Information Day, I have learned that it important to look after my veld and know the plants on my property. One must know what the good shrubs and grasses are that you want and need for your livestock. It is also important to know which plants are bad and need to be removed (such as invasive alien species).
I have also learned the importance of rotational grazing, and biodiversity. There are other small animals on your farm that also need to survive. So you have to take care of your veld and be careful not to overstock.