Farmers in the Free State say dry winter conditions are forcing them to dig deeper into their pockets. They say not having enough grazing is costly for them as they have to buy feed for their livestock. Also selling livestock in winter is not profitable.
Weight loss among livestock is a serious concern. Crop and livestock farmer Mponeng Lentoro says these conditions are affecting her bottom line.
“Now the grass is dry and this means we have to buy more food for animals. The cattle are also not in good condition and we are forced to sell them with less profit because of their condition.”
Livestock and salt farmer, Gobonweng Thebeagae, says his salt production is more better off in summer than winter.
“In winter we have more challenges because there is no enough sun and the wind is cold. It usually takes us 5 to 6 days to create salt but now it takes more days. Its an expensive exercise. “
Free State Agriculture board member, Andre Jane van Rensburg, says worst affected farmers are those in the drought and fire-stricken areas.
“Unfortunately stressed animals like the animals in drought and fire stricken areas are taking a severe strain and they need a lot more feed to survive. Lambs being born are also under strain and severely affected can barely survive. Windmills and water pipes need more maintenance,” says Van Rensburg.
Grain farmers, on the other hand, are smiling as the cold weather conditions are ideal for their crops.