Farm 156 NK is currently used for cattle ranching. It is a 9 000 ha sand veld farm.
The external perimeter of this farm is game fenced as previously detailed. The side of the farm that adjoins portion 1 of 142 NK is also game fenced to the same standard.
Holistic veld Management
TSA used holistic veld management techniques which although infrastructure intensive enabled stocking rates to be increased. We stocked at approx. 1 LSU to 4 ha compared to the Ghanzi norm of 1 LSU to 12 – 15 Ha. As the system develops and the grasses respond we anticipate the stocking rates to increase to as much as double normal carrying capacities in the area or better.
There are two boreholes on this farm around 360m deep. They deliver approx. 12 m3 / hour to central reservoir capacity of 600 000 litres or approx. 1 weeks buffer when fully stocked.
The boreholes are approx. central on farm 156 NK.
Both boreholes are equipped with a Lister generator driving a Grundfos submersible pump housed in an engine room.
Water is pumped from the central reservoir system to the reservoirs in each quarter by means of a 6 HP Lister engine driving a Lister push pump, into a 100 000 litter storage reservoir. This in turn gravity feeds, the drinking troughs via high pressure float valves.
All water reticulation is through 6 bar 75mm HDP pipes
There is a central hub on the farm that has loading facilities, holding kraals and water. This hub is connected to the quarter hubs by means of a cattle walkway enabling easy, stress free movement to and fro.
The infrastructure on the cattle farm was developed to enable holistic range management to be adopted.
Holistic range management entails creating short sharp heavy grazing pressure on relatively small areas with subsequent relatively long rest / recovery periods for optimum grass species regeneration, selection and diversity. This is especially relevant in low rainfall semi-desert conditions where veld management is paramount.
Fencing and paddocks
To enable the holistic management has entailed development of a comprehensive network of paddocks, handling facilities and water reticulation.
The farm has been divided into four equal sectors of approx. 2 200 Ha each.
Each sector has a central hub, this contains:
A 100 000 litre reservoir which feeds 6 high pressure water troughs
Cattle handling facilities including a crush and neck clamp – the cattle are required to transit the crush each time they enter and leave thus creating familiarity and reducing stress when the need arises to handle the cattle.
Each sector is further divided into four quarters with traditional five-strand fencing. Each quarter is then sub-divided again into three paddocks using electric fencing.
Thus there are 12 paddocks / sector of approx. 175 ha. thus overall on the farm there are 48 grazing paddocks.
The operation is that the cattle come to drink; when ready to exit they are directed to the required grazing paddock by the simple opening and closing of access gates. Typically one 175 Ha paddock is grazed for 3 days by 800 head which return rotationally for a further 3 days until grazing reaches desired depletion. this will suffice as a stocking rate reference which is usually season dependant in most cases.
The system requires low labour resources, typically once the cattle know the system one man can manage the daily grazing movements.
The system is repetitive with low stress on the animals.
Movement from quarter to quarter is done by a system of walkways to and from the central hub. Again this is designed to minimise labour intensity and again can typically be carried out by one man and is low stress to the cattle.
Cattle are loaded out of the farm from the central hub which has a comprehensive lairage and loading ramps. Cattle are walked to the loading facilities through the walkways.
The appropriate diagram clarifies the grazing system, see diagram.
Red line - External game fence
Magenta Line - 5 Strand conventional cattle fence
Grey Line - Corridor 5m wide, 5 strand cattle fence either side
Dotted Line - Electric fence
The cattle industry in Botswana has been challenging for the last few years with management issues at both BMC and DVS.
There is a project to construct a cattle abattoir in Ghanzi. This project is well advanced and will be a joint project between local commercial farmers, financiers / investors from RSA and the Ghanzi District Council.
Finance, management and infrastructure have been organised and approved, the project is awaiting assent from central Government, which we believe is imminent.
Construction and commission of the abattoir will transform the cattle industry in Ghanzi District.