Our grazing system:
One of the big challenges we faced when we moved to the Waterberg was how to farm the buffalo in an ecologically sustainable manner on the very tough, sour veld grazing conditions, so that both animal and veld productivity and health would be maximized.
Drawing on my ecological training, and incorporating the philosophy of certain rangeland experts, we chose to divide the farm up into a number of smaller camps and graze the buffalo on a rotational basis, moving them from camp to camp in order to improve the grazing on the farm.
The key part to adopting this approach is to allow the grazed grass sufficient time to recover, grow and seed before being grazed again. The reduced selectivity in grazing, the longer rest periods for a grazed plant, the herd effect of trampling and dunging on the mineral cycling of the soils and the grass being kept in an optimal growth phase all positively contribute to grazing, animal health and productivity.
The buffalo are supplemented mainly during the dry winter months with game feed to provide them with necessary minerals that may be lacking as well as the extra protein to feed the microbes in the rumen that are critical to help digest the grass. This daily feeding process also allows the buffalo to become calm and accustomed to being around a vehicle, allowing future owners of our buffalo to experience the joys of working with relaxed animals.
Handling and Capture:
When it comes to selling and darting our buffalo, we use a passive system of a large kraal to dart them and to do the necessary testing. By not having to use a helicopter for this, the buffalo remain less stressed and the risk of injury is significantly reduced.
Currently, we have three single sire breeding herds. Young bulls are removed from the herd when they are between the age of 18 and 24 months and placed into a bull herd which is situated on a separate property close by. This ensures that only the breeding sire covers the cows,