There’s nothing quite as lekker as strolling through the veld, gazing out at grazing flocks and herds and breathing in the fresh clean air of the countryside. It’s almost as rejuvenating as our bone broth!
Farming folk are just so warm and hospitable and they’re definitely the best chewers of the fat - and we all know how much I like doing that! Their die hard attitude is quite inspiring and the age-old adage, ‘n boer maak ‘n plan, is as true today as it ever was, even if they do sometimes skiet a little spek when relating stories to town johnnies like me.
But they’re not kidding when they talk about how difficult it’s been to cope with the drought that continues to grip the Western side of our country. In many places their water supply from the bigger dams has been drastically cut and even where there are alternate water sources and regenerative agriculture is practised, the drought has taken its toll. Once the rains come, these farmers will not automatically be out of the woods and frolicking happily along with their animals in the lovely green grass. The decisions that they have been forced to make during this dry period will continue to have a negative effect on their farming operations for at least the next 4 – 5 years.
Why – because, instead of naturally maintaining or increasing their breeding herd/flocks by retaining enough heifer calves /piglets/ewe lambs they’ve had to sell off a lot of their stock in an attempt to mitigate the effects of the drought and there will have to be a long and serious herd rebuilding exercise. Once there is sufficient food and water again, the animals they’ve kept will once again be able to conceive and feed their young until they’re weaned. There will then have to be enough grazing for the heifer calves so that when they are old enough (2 years old) they can in turn produce offspring of their own.
This means that to get back to where they were before the drought is going to require investment and commitment from the farmers and in the meantime the shortage of good red meat could be around for a while. But, as we all know, one of the cornerstones of free range livestock management is traceability and this means animals that are born and raised on the same farm. We also know that healthy meat that has the right fats and vital vitamins comes from animals that, after weaning, only eat grass and never grains and other growth hormones. So we will just have to byt vas and bear with them, and we’ll do all we can to ensure that you get the right stuff in reasonable quantities.