Agrico plays a pivotal role in small-scale farming

Jaco Cilliers –  ProAgri

There is a common misconception that pivot irrigation is too expensive for small-scale livestock farmers. Some farmers believe that they need to plant grain extensively in order to justify the capital investment and running costs of a centre pivot irrigation system. This is clearly not the case, and Agrico proves it.

The difference a pivot can make

Johan Rossouw, a sheep and goat farmer from Heidelberg in South Africa, provides the perfect example of how small-scale livestock farming can not only afford irrigation, but also greatly benefit from it.

In 2017 Johan erected an 8-hectare Agrico pivot on his farm. The pivot consists of two towers and an 18-metre overhang. It is used to irrigate a mixture of rye and ryegrass throughout the year. Johan divides the 8 hectares into various camps that his 100 goats and 100 sheep can graze in.

“With the feed mixture under irrigation, I have to take the fences down and send my cattle in from time to time to ensure that the pasture remains short enough for the sheep and goats to graze effectively,” Johan explains.

The difference that the pivot has made to his business is remarkable. “The average weight of the sheep and goats being sent to the abattoir has increased from 16 kg on dry land to 37 kg with the irrigated pasture,” says Johan. This guarantees a return on investment and will see the pivot return every cent of the initial cost within the first few seasons.

“The fact that you have access to good quality feed throughout the year means you do not have to buy expensive bales – especially during the winter months when natural vegetation is scarce and the price of bales increase dramatically,” Johan adds.

A low-maintenance solution

An Agrico agent introduced Johan to the idea of erecting a centre pivot on his farm years ago. He was hesitant at first due to the fact that it is a significant capital investment. But three years later he says: “It is the best decision that I
could have made for my farm.”

Because a centre pivot irrigation system is a significant investment on your farm, you also have to make sure that the quality of the product is of a high standard to avoid expensive maintenance and high running cost. Johan is definitely impressed with the quality and after-sales service offered by Agrico.

“I ensure that the gearboxes are oiled and that the centre is greased, but apart from that there is no major maintenance
work that needs to be done. I check the wheels for punctures and the sprinklers for blockages, but this is normal inspection. You can tell if something is wrong by simply looking at your pivot while in operation.”

The Agrico team closest to Johan is situated in Nigel. Burtie van der Westhuizen from the Agrico branch in Nigel is always available when Johan needs him. “What I appreciate most of Burtie and his team, is that I never have to wait to hear from them, and they always provide feedback. With the quick and accurate feedback that they provide, they enable me to make better management decisions for my farm,” says Johan.

This service is rendered through a comprehensive branch network with equal enthusiasm end efficiency wherever a pivot from Agrico may be.

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