May 2023 signified more than just the change in seasons for Taaibosch. Something that started as a childhood dream and which has been built upon by CP and Gerda since they started their journey with Taaibosch was finally implemented in 2023.
HEREFORD HEIFERS - PART OF OUR DIVERSIFIED AND CIRCULAR ECONOMY OPERATION
Having an intensive cattle operation as part of our diversified and circular economy operation has been in the planning for the last couple of years. This started by improving our pastures and investigating the best crops in combination with manure application to not only improve our soil but produce high dry matter and nutritional feed to sustain us through the tough periods of cattle feeding.
Our first group of Hereford heifers was secured from Kabul Herefords, further strengthening the strong family relations which are part of most farming operations. The Kabul Hereford Stud originated in the 1960s with CP's grandfather and father, which made the decision to have Herefords as our core breeding herd an easy choice. Their calm temperament, mothering abilities, cow longevity, adaptability, and good meat quality are just some of the other benefits of this purebred which officially originated in 1742 in Herefordshire - England.
By using our available fields and continuously fertilising with pig manure, we are able to implement a high-density mobile grazing system, supplemented with forage sorghum silage, Smutsvinger hay, and irrigated winter grains. We believe that although this is a small start and pilot program, it could lead to something big and sustainable, aligned with our vision and strategic goals.
* We still adhere to strict biosecurity measures to ensure the safety and optimal health of our pigs and cattle.
AGT COVER CROPS & FORAGES – STRATEGIC SUPPLIER IN OUR SUSTAINABLE BEEF PRODUCTION PROJECT 2022/23
The Taaibosch Group aims to be part of regenerative farming and the sustainable use of our resources.
Late last year, we met with AGT Cover Crops & Forages to discuss the use of excess pig slurry for the fertigation of cover crops. Through proper management and separation, the pig slurry provided a perfect nutrient-rich, organic fertilizer.
We decided to plant a sorghum mix into the established fields surrounding the pig houses which would then be sprayed with the separated pig slurry. Sorghum has an extensive fibrous root system that facilitates the efficient uptake of essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium – all of which are found in abundance in pig manure. The sorghum responded phenomenally well to the fertigation and by the end of the season, it was ready to be processed into various by-products. These fields of sorghum were utilized at various stages of maturity to capitalize fully on the cover crop.
The most mature sorghum is chopped for silage while the younger fields are used for intensive grazing and winter baling. Some Hereford weaner calves are being used to graze the fields intensively. Sorghum is a high-yielding crop and provides abundant biomass for grazing as well as an energy-dense feed source that meets the dietary requirements of the cattle.
Some additional benefits of planting sorghum
Soil structure improvement
Soil erosion control
From start to finish, we aim to optimise the use of nutrients and resources available on the farm through rotation, producing little to no waste. Not only do we utilise the pig slurry responsibly, but the fields which would otherwise lie fallow are in the process of being regenerated through the use of cover crops while adding value to the beef production.
* Thank you to Stephanie Koekemoer from AGT Cover Crops & Forages for providing this information. This post reflects our personal views and we were not compensated in any way for our opinion.