Monday, 24 November 2014


I am very inspired by my uncle's lucerne garden.  I suppose he was just trying things out.  I am yet to embark on my very own forage project.  I believe in an organic lifestyle.  Why spend thousands on cattle supplements without knowing what is added to them?  Why not harvest all the nutrients, minerals and vitamins needed from nature through forage?  I can imagine all those nutrients found in grasses like lucerne (alfafa), and bloubeffel (buffalo grass), wheat etc.  With all the constituents that make up grass ending up in the digestive systems of cattle, one will rarely need to buy vaccines. 

My uncle's lucerne garden.

Lucerne is the best fodder.  The grass has 20% protein. It is a good compliment to maize.  It is leafy and low in fibre, breaking down rapidly into small pieces in the rumen. It quickly passes out of the rumen, allowing a greater intake of forage.

Image showing various stages of a cows digestive system. From the rumen, grass is expelled into the the mouth via the oesophugus for further chewing.

Lucerne is suited to naturally alkaline and free-draining soils. It is severely restricted on soils with pH below 6.2. Chalk and limestone soils are most suitable and waterlogged soils should never be sown to lucerne.

Generally, it is best to plant lucerne from March-May to minimize competition with weeds.  The grass has a deep root system and is exceptionally drought resistant.  

Nutrients found in lucerne are phosphate, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulphur.

I am surely going to kick start this project!

Purchase those standard Lucerne seeds from Agra Namibia.  But they from Agri-gro Namibia (Pty) Ltd.  

Wish me luck!...

Thursday, 13 November 2014


These quotes are really beautiful and inspiring.  

"I have come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as a fingerprint, that's the best way to succeed is to discover what you love, and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you." - Oprah 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014


I have no words to describe my joy and fulfillment of being at the farm.  Its the little things in life that matter the most.  

Tea preparation...

I bet he couldn't wait to be free.

Bigman!  I was lucky enough to grow up with san people.  We played so hard when we were little.  Intelligent people.  They bliss very well with nature.

Brave little girl...She helped out alot with chores. 

Sun about to set.

Death valley...The grass in this area is dead. Has been like this for two years now. A bush fire is needed here.  And some bluobefel seeds.

Horses seen around...

Beautiful brahman herd!

My uncle's buddy.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014


It is really so nice to be home.  Especially for a part time farmer like me.  The work load can be extremely overwhelming.  At the end of the day I enjoy it and that is what matters.

My trip started with a drive to a farm near Grootfontein to pick up some pure breed 'Gerts' that I had manifested overtime. Being at that farm was a true inspiration for me.  The farmer had beautiful Gerts.  He told me how hard he has worked over the years.   One thing that inspired me the most is about how much he understands the value of the breed.  Seriously, a 12 month old heifer that can weigh 250kg. How amazing is that???  And a breed that has a lifespan of 13 to 15 years with excellent fertility. 

Commercial gerts on fodder.

Some 12 to 18 month heifers weighing an average of 250 kg. 

Pure breed 3 year old's getting rounded off for auction.   These are registered studs.

I love this bull.  It is tall, hardy and big boned. Its mother has an excellent calving record. 

This one is by far my favorite.  It has an excellent muscular frame and a beautiful white tail. 

Santa Gertrudis heifers in transit. 

Once we arrived at my homestead, we enclosed the heifers in a 1kmx1km camp so they can familiarize themselves with the new environment. I also gave them plenty of water and cow and calf lick. Prior to that we branded all the heifers.

...awaiting branding. 

They have been enclosed for two days.  They starving...

They very hungry still...

Good pair of old sneakers for farm work...

Its getting greener by the day...

Friday, 19 September 2014


I am a die hard Gerts lover. Watch this video on how to get maximum performance level from the breed.



Saturday, 13 September 2014


This article is about closure.  How does one know its time to let go.  How does one let go of a beloved cow.  I have a very unproductive cow which I know I need to sell or replace.


Meet 'Otjikaendu'.  Which means fat woman in Otjiherero.  She is probably three or four years old.  She has had two full term pregnancies and two stillbirth occurrences during this period.  Since than, Otjikaendu has not been able to fall pregnant. 

This is clearly an unproductive cow.  The first calf stayed alive for a few hours.  The second calf had more strength compared to first, but could not suck from mother's tits. I had to bottle feed him. Seriously, this calf never had colostrum (I should have found a way to give him colostrum).

A stillbirth is refers to the production of a dead calf after a 272 gestation period. The calf dies at 24 to 48 hours after birth.  The causes of still birth are as follows:
  • Infectious diseases
BVD is a condition in which the brain of the calf is under developed during the pregnancy. As a result, calf cannot survive and dies shortly after birth.

Leptospirosis and Neospora are infections contracted at any point during pregnancy.  These infections are caused by organisms that can cause abortion.  
  • Trace element deficiency
During reproduction cows need elements such as iodine, selenium and vitamin E. If the right elements are not provided, the calf will have weak sucking reflexes and will eventually die.
  • Management
Slow Calving Syndrome is found in cows that are overly fat prior to calving.  This causes problems with utilizing calcium during calving. Calcium is essential for contraction of the uterus. 

Big calves or wrongly presented calves can suffer from stress and lack of oxygen during calving which can result in stillbirth.  This condition is known as Dystocia.

So what is the way forward?  
I think at this point the best decision is to auction this baby. Since shes a fat cow, I can get a good amount of cash.  I can get two or three heifers from her worth.  Or, I could get a state VET to examine her and run pregnancy tests.  If shes pregnant (which I doubt), I keep her and see if miracles will happen.

My next exercise is to get in touch with a VET and investigate ways to prevent and mitigate stillbirth occurrences, although it is not a common problem in my herd. 


Thursday, 21 August 2014


People farm for different reasons. Some for subsistence and survival others for love.  For some folks its simply tradition.  But these days,  farming is a way of making good money.  Whatever the reason is, the same way that no soldier goes to war with no weapons, no farmer should farm with no vision, goal or plan.

So what do I mean by this?  Farming is an investment.  For every investment, there is the right time for it.  The article is about marketing cattle during the right time and tips on how to accomplish so.  

It is very important to always do your r-e-s-e-a-r-c-h.  Find out more about the auctioneer you want to do business with. Do they have a good track record? Are they expensive? Are they customer friendly and advising?  Different livestock auctioneers that I know of in Namibia are Agra, MeatCo, Blaauwberg, Namboer, Windhoek Livestock Auctioneers, and Karoo-Ochse.

Part of doing research is to determine the chains of demand and supply. Is it the time of the year when cattle importers (like South Africa) are in need of more beef?  I may think that when the demand drops, so do the prices.  It is important to deal directly with livestock agent. The agent suppliers the auctioneer at the auction. He receives weights, sorts and marks the cattle prior to the auction. 

Another good way of doing research is getting auction prices from auctioneers directly.  Agra has an awesome website with updates on their livestock prices.  Upon getting the prices, for a longer period of time (perhaps 2 years) one should see a pattern in these prices.


Monday, 18 August 2014


The Gertrudis is an obvious breed of exceptional quality.  My love for this breed started when my late grandfather had purchased a bull from a breeder near Grootfontein about ten year ago.  We kept the bull for roughly seven years and sold it.  As of now, the blood line is still very much preserved in the herd together with other breeds such as the Simmental and Braunvieh.  My grandpa's bull was tall, huge and very muscular in frame. He was very very calm and went into the 'mangaa'  easily.

What is Santa Gertrudis?

The Santa Gertrudis is a beef breed of cattle developed in Southern Texas on the King Ranch.  The breed resulted from mating the Brahman bull with the Beef Shorthorn cows.  Now what in the world is a Beef Shorthorn?  This is a breed from England and Scotland developed in the 1820s.  The development was primarily for diary and beef production. The Gertrudis is 3/8 Brahaman and 5/8 Shorthorn. 

The breed is cherry red in color with a short, smooth, silk coat.  The ears are medium to large.  One of the major characteristics of the Gertrudis is its hooded eyes.  This results in the resistance to cancer and pink eye sickness. My favorite key characteristic is the lines on the neck and navel.   Really cute!

Why farm with the Santa Gertrudis?  
  • A very good mascular medium sized frame.  The mature bulls can weigh up to 900 kg and 500 kg for females. The more the KGs the more the dollars, the happier the farmer. 
  • These animals are very hardy and adapt very well to various climatic conditions.  They easily adapt to extreme cold climate and very hot conditions in Southern Africa.
  • These cattle have a lifespan of 13 to 15 years, conceiving yearly.  WOW!!  
  • The are excellent mommies with good milk production and good udders. The calves have a larger birth weight compared to other breeds.  This results to increased weight at weaning. 
  • Very fertile with few rates of abortions or still births. 
  • Perform very well in the veld and under feedlot conditions.
  • Have very dominant genes.  Can crossbreed with 'simple' cattle and produce a good line of calves. 

I absolutely love this line of cattle.  They are just true beauties.
For more information about the breed in Namibia visit
The above pictures were taken from


Sunday, 17 August 2014


The interactive breakfast meeting was a great success.  A large audience attended this meeting held on the 27 June at Agra/Bank Windhoek Ring.  The meeting was facilitated by an Agra member, Dagmar Honsbein. Presentations were done by teams from the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Affairs, Feedmaster and from Agra.

It was noted that animals need food for reproduction, growth and survival.  The animal breeders need their cattle herds to be optimized for income from sales, milk and meat.  The animals need protein, energy, water, vitamins, minerals and vaccines. The cheapest and most effective way of feeding animals is directly from the rangeland.  But obviously, the quality of rangeland changes with seasons.   In winter, the rangeland becomes depleted in protein, minerals and vitamins. Thus it is recommended to supplement what is 'lacking' in the rangeland.  An important aspect discussed was deficiency symptoms in animals.  Below are the deficiencies of various food groups and their symptoms.

1. Protein
Loss of weight, weakness and/or no energy.
Joint problems
3. Phosphate
Eating of objects with no nutritional value such as bones, and plastics.  Lack of phosphate also results to Botalism (Ombindu in otjiherero)
4.Vitamin A
Eye infections, abortions, and retained placentas.

The sources of nutrients was discussed.  These sources of proteins are  fishmeal, lucerne and urea respectively.  The yellow maize and molasses provide energy. Lastly, vitamin A is from injectables and maize.

Alot of research was done by the Feedmaster group inorder to enhance the quality of 'licks'.  The research was done based on difference areas of Namibia (sandy and hardeveld areas). Feedmaster also discussed the differences in their licks and how they are mixed.  It is very important to read labels and ask for advice before purchasing licks from suppliers.  The licks that are already mixed (ready to use) are cattle lick 40, cow and calf lick and eco-grassveld lick.  The cattle mix 4:1:5 and dry veld concentrate require mixing.

Overall, the meeting was very informative.  Attached below is the link to the presentations.


I certainly think that this breakfast meeting is meant for me...

I always wondered what kind of supplementation livestock need during different times of the year and why.

Animals need basic nutrients to survive, sustain themselves and maximize performance. These nutrients include carbohydrates for energy, protein for growth, minerals for function, vitamins for function and lastly water.


  • To find out how supplementation will maximize cattle performance.  Its also interesting to know what supplements livestock in various production cycles need.  For example, what would a pregnant heifer need? Or an active bull? Or what supplements does a lactating cow need?  What is the nutritional need for 'general' growing livestock?
  • To find out what are the building materials/ingredients of these supplements.  That comes to the possibility of one making their own to cut out cost and increase the quality of the product.   
  • Its interesting to know if there is a way to fatten livestock during winter/autumn for marketing during early spring.
  • To get quotations and recommendations.



It is always a little weird when one writes about oneself.  Always wonder if you are giving to much info or not.  In any case, my name is Yolanda.  I am 20 something years of age, born and raised in Windhoek.  But during my pre-kinder garden years, I stayed in Otjituuo/Okatjoruu in Grootfontein district. I attended junior education at Namibia English Primary School, followed by Delta Secondary School Windhoek for secondary education level.  I ended up at the  University of Namibia.  I hold a bachelor's degree in Geology. Currently, I am an exploration geologist in Omaheke Region.

My passion is all about cattle, goats and sheep. I have loved livestock since I was a little girl because that is primarily what I was exposed to.  My aim is to share my basic knowledge and experience in farming, especially for those that have not farmed before and are thinking of the possibility.  If you do not know where to start, start by r-e-s-e-a-r-c-h.

I really hope that we can interact in this subject.


Saturday, 7 June 2014


And So !Here we are.  I am super new at this blogging thing. I am having a lot of trouble getting started.  My blog is about farming in Namibia.  As a young person in Namibia, I am finding it very hard to get information in this 'branch'.  As a result, I decided to create a blog to give information to the fellow youth on this growing dynamic sector.  My English is gonna suck for now.  But will improve with time.  Going once, twice, Published...