Resettled Farmer Becomes Model Farmer

Farm Hessen 79 Unit C of owner Richard Kamukuenjandje is one of the prime examples of how resettled farmers can turn extensive simple management on a small unit into sustainably high profits.

On only 1 400 hectares served by three water points, Kamukuenjandje last week explained the critical factors of rangeland, animal condition and marketing exclusively to Farmers Forum during a visit to his farm. He recalled how his family from Aminuis received the farm in July 2002 with his mother doing the spade work from a single tent while other members looked after the few heads of cattle. At that stage, Kamukuendjandje was studying in Germany and only joined the family later to help erect the current system of 14 camps with an average size of 90 hectares. “The aim is to have a simple grazing strategy, whereby 80% of the grass biomass must be utilised on the grazed half of the farm, while the other half of the farm is rested every alternate year to improve basal cover. The rangeland must produce a lot of leafy forage which is not and does not become moribund. Rangeland management must remain extensive without the need of grass clippings for monitoring, and must be implementable without a big risk,” he says.

“The non-academic brain must fathom the principles with ease almost without a plan. Last but not least, the rangeland management must be with minimal input of infrastructural costs. A high stocking rate with a high animal production is a requirement together with low costs to ensure high profits. The grazing strategy also aims to achieve a shift in species composition towards more palatable and higher yielding species,” Kamukuendjandje explains further.

The breeding strategy for farm Hessen targets the Lasater Philosophy of cattle raising. The herd must be hardy and must be maintained with minimal artificial assistance. Beefmaster bulls are therefore bought in and no extra feeding is given to them except the occasional phosphate or urea supplementation. Hessen goes against the conventional theories and keeps instead 80% or more of the heifer crop. This results in a ruthless culling of the mother herd to remove unproductive cows. Currently, Kamukuendjandje farms with a total of 260 animals and he is in the process of introducing mobile kraals for his small goat herd.

” We aim to breed heifers earlier and therefore did away with the breeding seasons which are no determined naturally by the forage and condition of the heifer. The farm has managed to market more cows and fewer heifers over time, leading to more kilograms offtake per ha,” he conlcudes.

Source : New Era