This recognition certainly is only the beginning, as these hardworking young people are clearly destined for great things.
The eldest sibling is Lethiwe (30), and the two brothers are Sabatha (28) and Sphamandla (26). “When we received that award,” says Sabatha, “I immediately sent a SMS to my father to tell him that he has taught us well, although I knew that he wasn’t there anymore to read my message. It just felt right.”
Diversification makes sense
The Mthethwas farm in the Dannhauser area of northern KwaZulu-Natal. Theirs is a diverse operation consisting of crops (maize and dry beans), a piggery, cattle, sheep and goats. Lethiwe is responsible for the pigs, general admin and recordkeeping, Sabatha for the crops and Sphamandla for the rest of the livestock.
“Our father started farming in 2012 and it was very important to him that we joined him,” relates Lethiwe. “He was adamant that we get the best possible training in all aspects of the operation, so we all went on various training courses. It is important that we are all trained in every aspect of the operation, so if one of us is unavailable, the others can cover for him.”
They emphasise the role that Grain SA played in their success, specifically Chris de Jager and Graham Engelbrecht, their mentor and teacher. They gave regular advice and training, from financial matters to taking soil samples up until harvest time.
Initially it was Sabatha who showed interest in raising pigs. He was sent on a two-week training course at The Baynesfield Estate near Pietermaritzburg. With their father’s passing, however, Lethiwe took over the piggery and Sabatha took on the crops.
“We currently have 50 Large White sows and four Landrace boars, but we make extensive use of artificial insemination (AI) using semen from PIC. We are currently using the PIC L410 line. Our aim is to produce a batch of porkers twice a month, which helps a lot with the cash flow of the operation.”
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Hauling In A Full Net: Reaping The Benefits Of Processed Fish
As local and global governments deal with the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, producers are now more than ever searching for new options for expanding their businesses. That said, farming and value addition to produce does not have to be limited to landlocked food sources.
Grow Produce Year-round With Tunnels And Greenhouses
Climate change is an inescapable reality and can wreak havoc in open-field production systems that rely on the right weather patterns to produce good yields. For this reason, many producers worldwide have turned to growing crops in tunnels or greenhouses. These production systems offer protection from changing weather patterns, allowing them to grow crops throughout the year.
Saving Soil: Harnessing The Microbiome
We live in unprecedented times.
Summer Grain Production: A Producer's Perspective
The 2020 planting season for producers in the summer rainfall areas is here and most of them are looking forward to the first summer rains so that they can plant their crops. FarmBiz spoke to Jaco Minnaar from the farm Uitsny near Henneman about the new season. Jaco is vice-chairperson of Agri SA and currently serves on the Senwes board.
Electronic Auctions: The New Normal?
The South African livestock industry has suffered a tremendous setback with challenges posed to physical auctions. However, the industry is nothing if not resilient. The first ban on livestock auctions was imposed during the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in 2019.
Oxygen Types That Damage Crops In Extreme Weather Conditions
Oxygen is best known as a life-giving gas without which life as we know it, would not be possible.
Asia's Maize Imports Likely To Grow
In 2019, the Asian maize market was finally on the rise to reach US$204,4 billion after two years of decline. The total consumption indicated buoyant growth from 2009 to 2019. Its value increased at an average annual rate of 5,1% over the last decade.
Cultivated grazing: Fertiliser is the key to success
Nowadays everything in agriculture has to be done on a larger scale. Cultivated grazing has also become a science, with producers forced to think bigger to get more out of their grazing – all at the most economical cost.
Industry Giants Comment On Special Adjustment Budget
Prof Johan Willemse, an independent agricultural economist, says the supplementary budget delivered by the minister of finance on 24 June was a real shocker. According to him, the government is spending an additional R145 billion on the COVID-19 issue. The real issue, however, is a record budget shortfall due to the economic meltdown, with wrong policy choices and corruption on the cards.
Rethinking The Conversion Process Of Poultry Litter To Biogas
The poultry industry is generally comprised of broiler chicken production, egg production, day-old chick suppliers and other poultry. While micro-enterprise businesses are gaining prominence as a means to address the challenges of job creation, economic growth and equity, the industry has future challenges concerning poultry litter management.
Pasture varieties and their potential in SA
Summer-planted pastures can boost a farmer’s profits by keeping animal production high. Renowned grazing specialist Prof Chris Dannhauser says there is a variety of these crops to choose from and, as Susan Marais found out, many can also be used in winter in the form of hay, foggage and silage.
Winter crops for the cold months
The summer months have so far been mostly dry and the prospects for late summer rainfall remain uncertain. If conditions were to improve, greenfeed can be planted from February onwards. Many producers who have water available will be planting greenfeed to see their animals through the winter months.