They say every farm is different and even more so, every farmer. So what do you do when you move to a brand new farm which you have absolutely no knowledge about? That was us, four years ago when we decided
to buy a dairy farm – having zero knowledge, but a dream of a green and sustainable farm. And so our journey began.
For the untrained eye the traditional kikuyu and clovers looked beautiful and green. Little did we know that ryegrass and chicory was what we actually needed. Seems easy enough
to fix though, right? Wrong! After tons of testing, hours of intense analysing and what seemed like a lifetime later, we were finally ready… for some more restoration. The only thing that was truly ready from the beginning – our cattle’s genetics.
Thinking back on the process there are two people who truly carried us: Craig Galloway and Anele Madlala. From the beginning Craig inspired us with his sustainability ideas and passion. While Anele’s knowledge and fast thinking was quite critical during a lot of situations.
What felt like a few seconds after we took over the farm it was already time for our first Woodlands Dairy audit. What an extremely terrifying, teeth clenching moment! But man, what
a teaching moment. Control sheets and reports were drawn up for just about everything. Today we can finally and with confidence say that we’ve graduated “milk audit school”.
On a more serious note – more specifically the notes that go into your wallet – we had our fair share of trials and challenges. One of the best investments however was definitely
our sustainability projects. Without realising it back then when we started, by investing in sustainability we were preparing a safety net for when the drought came. And boy did it come for us all. It’s safe to
say that everyone struggled with water and that a farm can never
have “enough” water, however by participating in our sustainability project from the beginning we taught and trained ourselves to get everything done with as little water possible. Even in the difficult times, our fields’ capacity increased with 25%, we saved on medicine because of good hygiene and we were able to ensure quality milk.
To top it all, we are so lucky to walk this journey, hand in hand with one of the best dairy producers in the country – who always encourage
and inspire better systems, new technology, and being as green as possible. Thank you Woodlands Dairy, every single one of you, for having our backs and teaching us one step at a time! We are – and always will be – proud producers!