Farmers from all walks take hands to help animals

Zach Choane and Henk Steyn from Afrivet unload one of the bales donated to communal farmers. PHOTO: SABRINA DEAN

Farmers from Geluksdam district just outside Bloemfontein have opened their hearts to a group of communal farmers whose cattle are struggling to survive without feed.
Geluksdam Farmers Association Secretary Laurens Schlebusch says farmers applied to Free State Agriculture for drought aid. They received a donation of bales, but some farmers who had implemented good management and livestock reduction decided to donate the fodder to animals in more urgent need:
“We decided during a meeting that we would donate the bales we didn’t need to these farmers. We drive past the cattle every day and can see their condition deteriorating. So somebody at one of the meetings said we should give the bales to the communal farmers.”
Afrivet also donated mineral and vitamin supplements valued at R12 000 to enable the animals to better utilise the feed and improve reproduction prospects.
One of the sixteen cattle owners who farms in the area, Zach Choane, says the feed couldn’t have come at a better time:
“We really appreciate that organised agriculture has come to our aid. They have actually come at the most prudent time. Our animals are in fact going through a lean period at the moment.
“We have suffered losses – even yesterday we had animals that were run over by a goods train – six of them perished. They see the green coming up and they chase anything that looks like grass.”
He says he is looking forward to fostering good relationships with the Geluksdam farmers and organised agriculture going forward. – Sabrina Dean