After reading about Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in Virginia, USA, in Michael Pollans’ “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” I decided to become a farmer. In December of 2008, mentored by Christo Kok, I started farming on Spier, outside Stellenbosch, South Africa. We apply BioDynamic agricultural principles and practices in raising cattle, laying hens, pigs, broiler chickens, lambs, vegetables and vines.
126 hectares of irrigated pasture forms the foundation on which our operation rests. We plant a diversity of perennial summer and winter legumes, herbs and grasses each of which brings different nutrition to the animals eating them as well as beneficial relationships with the soil microbes.
Our pasture management is based on the high density grazing methodology, espoused by Andre Voison, Allan Savory and Ian Mitchell-Innes. This simple principle of a lot of animals in a small space for a short period of time deposits enormous amounts of manure and urine on the land and leads to healthy, vigorous growth achieved without applying any artificial (NPK) fertilisers to the land. We move our cattle four times a day, the pigs every 3 days, the broilers daily and the laying hens, accommodated in our “Eggmobiles”, every day.
We have an on farm butchery where we process all our meat.
The vineyards are in their 3rd year of being certified organic. To be followed by conversion to biodynamic status with the ultimate goal being the production of BioDynamic Spier Estate wines.