[email protected] 0768346334 / (0)82 379 4391
Spier Wine Farm, Annandale Road
Farmer Angus is a Regenerative Agriculture business operating since late 2008 on the Spier Wine Farm in Stellenbosch. We produce grass fed beef in our on farm butchery. We have 21 Eggmobiles that house our laying hens which are moved daily. Our pigs are turned into charcuterie at the Ricomondo facility in Cape Town.
One major environmental issue of factory and feedlot farming (the norm in SA), is that the waste produced is uncompostable – since antibiotics kill the microbes that would break the compost down. Furthermore, this kind of dumping of waste in huge pits creates large emissions of sulfide, methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide. However, when overgrazing is prevented, you can lock carbon back into the soil – since up to 65% of the plants carbon is stored under ground. The animals act as human tractors, spreading their fertiliser thin and fertility is increased.
Regenerative agricultural principles and practices are applied in the raising all of Spier farm’s animals which includes cattle, pigs, and laying hens, as well as vegetables and wine.This ensures that the farm is neither overgrazed or overfertilised. Whether the conventional farming operation is caged or so called “free range” the housing is fixed and so the animals are under constant disease pressure as they live with their manure. The idea is that pastures recover to be grazed every 6 weeks.
Angus’ sows enjoy complete freedom to love their babies, free of sow or weaning crates. Angus does not use potentially cancer inducing nitrates or nitrites are used in any of his farm butchered products. His pigs are rotated every 3 days to a new area to root for leguminous crops, where they act as tractors, spreading newly sewed seeds into the soil with their feet and noses. The also get a longer life, since it takes longer for free range pigs like these to reach a good weight. The pigs are supplemented with the only glyphosate free pig feed in the country, which is mostly non-GM maize. They are also given a “free choice mineral lick” which has kelp and salt, meaning that the pigs get the minerals they need to be healthy, and these are then excreted into beautiful fertiliser!
On 126 hectares of land, pigs are moved every 3-5 days (once they've trashed the place), beef cattle are also moved four times a day, and layer hens are moved daily. When you compare with the alternative of an animal with 10 square metres standing for 110 days, it is pretty impressive.
He is fixing his soils biologically, rather than mechanically. Typical grass fed cattle are left out with free reign, which means they return to the same patches of grass, killing them and releasing all the carbon back out into the air. Angus’s cattle graze for one day on this small patch before being moved, ensuring all the carbon from the grass is sequestered in the soil.
Recent studies in California show that grasslands hold more resilient stores of carbon than forests, because they are impacted less by droughts and wildfires. THAT BLOWS MY BRAINS!!
This doesn’t even include the potential benefits of good land management to help boost soil health that Angus is practicing.