The farm produces maize, soya beans, wheat, dry peas and has a large commercial herd of grass fed beef
At Van Reenen Farming, we’re passionate about farming regeneratively with minimal soil disturbance (No Till) as well as the minimum use of chemical fertilisers, herbicides & pesticides. We produce over 6000 tonnes of compost & vermicompost which is applied to lands before planting.
Most of the maize produced is for export. By carefully selecting hardy maize cultivars we can greatly reduce and at times eliminate the need for fungicide and pesticide applications. We inter-seed a multi species cover crop in between the maize rows. This improves the soil health, suppresses weeds and the diversity of plants & their flowers attract beneficial insects.
The soya beans produced on the farm are delivered locally for extrusion and used in animal feeds.
We strive to plant wheat if our irrigation dams are full going into winter. At planting we include Balansa & Crimson clover seed for diversity. The bright flowers attract beneficial insects and it also boosts natural available nitrogen for our crop, greatly reducing the need to apply high rates of chemical fertiliser. Our goal is to achieve the highest yields with the lowest natural input costs which boosts our profitability.
To improve our farms soil health we try to have a living root on all crop lands throughout the year. This allows the microbes, fungi and earthworms to flourish. Our mix is multi-species and includes stooling rye, white & black oats, hairy vetch, crimson clover, radishes, turnips, flax, cow peas and others depending on the season. With climate change and the higher risk of droughts, the cover crop roots have a sponge like effect and allow rain water to penetrate the soil, instead of running off and stores moisture for the commercial crops benefit. 1% of organic matter in your soil can hold an extra 160000 litres of water per hectare!
We are very proud of our commercial grass fed beef herd. We use Droughtmaster and Beefmaster bulls on our herd
“Overgrazing is an issue of the time plants are exposed to grazers, not the number of grazers or amount of defoliation” - Andrew Ardington
We strive for big herds & use high density grazing. Herds are only in a camp for a few days, before moving on and leaving the camp to regenerate and rest for as long as possible.
Our farm produces a large quantity of Vermi-Compost each year thanks to our hard working red wrigglers. We apply this high value compost to irrigated lands and also produce a vermi-compost tea which is sprayed on our commercial crops. It greatly improves plant health and our soil health
Starting to make our compost for next seasons crops. The piles are heating up nicely! We aim to turn and aerate the piles when the temperatures get near 70 degrees. We are planning to make about 7000 tons this year. The compost is spread on all our lands prior to planting crops or fed to the earthworms for processing into vermi-compost.
We plan to make around 20 tonnes of Johnson-Su Composting Bioreactors in 2022. There are many benefits to this unique composting system.
Typical commercial windrow composting processes are often designed and operated for speed and maximum product flow. This focus does not allow the compost to degrade sufficiently and produces an immature compost. Most home composting methodologies require building a pile and turning it at regular intervals. Both of these composting processes (windrow and static pile) can produce undesirable smells, attract flies, and be problematic with neighbors.
In contrast, when built and maintained correctly, the static pile Johnson-Su bioreactor never needs turning, never has smells, and does not attract flies. This reactor design allows the material to be composted aerobically, allowing complete biological breakdown of compost materials and resulting in a microbially diverse, fungal- dominant compost product. The compost end product has the consistency of clay when mature (this takes about a year) We extract the Johnson Su compost and apply it in-furrow when planting all our commercial crops.
OUR PARTNERS IN FARMING
We are lucky to work with some amazing local companies Northmec, CNH Capital, BR Dienste, Drak Agric Services, Bell & Partners, First National Bank, Farmers Agricare, Shiptech Diesel, Greenspan Fertilizer, Real IPM, Bergville Supaquick, Forge Agri, Esco Feeds, Wesbank, Pinetree Irrigation, Pivot Electrical Services, Synchro Genetics, Bergville Vet Clinic, Tugela Vet Clinic, Wenkem, Ladysmith Wireless Services, iThemba Security, Green Ranches, LAT Feedlot, DA Tractors, Talborne Organic Fertilizer and many more
THE OUTSPAN FARMSTALL
This unique setting is situated at the foothills of the Okhahlamba Drakensberg Mountains, approximately 20 kilometres from Bergville, on the R74, travelling towards Harrismith. Home to Van Reenen Biltong & The Coffee Patch, an awesome safe, play area for your kids and spotless toilets. Please come and join us for a legendary piece of Van Reenen Biltong, enjoy a cappuccino and experience this special place. Free wifi is available. We look forward to welcoming you.