Saturday, January 30, 2010

From Cows to Antelope



Welcome to Day 7 of the South Africa adventure with Class V. The group experienced a South African thunderstorm last night and a short power outage. However today was a beautiful day. After breakfast the class boarded the motor coach and headed for the farm of Gerrit Roos. The group was greeted with great hospitality. The Roos Farm consists of 2000 head of cattle, 3600 head of Merino sheep, maize, and soybeans. In addition to the farming operation they manage a soybean crushing facility. The family farm includes Gerrit’s parents, his wife, and two sons. In addition they employ 22 full time employees.

The soybean crushing plant crushes 3500 tons of soybeans a year. The soybean meal has an average crude protein of 46% and they sell the oil for further processing. The meal is sold to local hog and chicken producers. The maize and soybeans look just the crops we grow in South Dakota. The Merino sheep lamb twice a year in January and February as well as July and August. The farm uses artificial insemination and then runs the bulls for 90 days.

The class had great conversation and enjoyed an excellent meal for lunch, which included a traditional African dish Bobutie. Mrs. Roos opened her home to any of the class that wanted to see and talk about the African housewife. Their hospitality was superb. The two sons are planning a trip to South Dakota in early summer. The class is anxiously awaiting their arrival.

From the Roos Farm the group traveled to Hannah Lodge a private game reserve. Upon arrival to our resort we saw 12 different species of African wildlife. The class went on a short game drive and learned about the Sable breeding project at Hannah Lodge. After the game drive the group learned about their conservation and breeding practices. The Hannah Lodge provides a thatch room hut with a view of the African landscape that is sure to take your breath away.

Posted by Jeremy Lehrman, Bryan Prins and Frank Bloom.