Dewald van Rooi

Loxton Northern Cape

1. Tell us about yourself. Where do you farm, your family and your interests?
I used to be a truck driver, but when I left that job, I decided to buy a few sheep. My girlfriend and I started with the business together, and we are still farming together on the Loxton commonage to this day.

2. In once paragraph - what is your farming philosophy?
Firstly, because we don’t have large areas to farm on, I have seen that having good quality sheep is much more important than quantity. Secondly, you need to make the most of your property (efficient use), without over-utilizing the veld. Lastly, you have to supply the market with the best quality animals you can produce.

3.Tell us about one of your farming challenges and how you solved it.
The biggest challenge was that the property I rent from the municipality was only one big camp with one water point, which meant I could not implement rotational grazing, even if I wanted to. As such, we needed to make a plan to divide the camp. This also meant we needed to add more water points. So, we started gradually dividing camps and running water pipes to new camps. With the help from the GEF SLM Project, we have now almost completed this task and are near to solving this challenge.

4. What is the most important SLM lesson that you have learned?
It is important to look at (and listen to) your veld and to implement rotational grazing. If you don’t implement rotational grazing, you will over-utilize the veld, which will possibly make it unusable for years following the damage (especially given the current severe drought). I have also learned the importance of dosing your animals. Your livestock’s wellbeing is important, if you don’t take care of them, you will lose animals due to health issues.