Case Study of Farmers

Case study of farmers

The example of a mixed farm in South Africa is used as a case study for the rest of the journey to farming success and is called Green Valley.  The farmer/management team is referred to as John Lamb.  This example is used throughout the book to guide the reader or user under the title “Strategic plan of John Lamb.”
Description of Green Valley: The farm Green Valley of John Lamb is a mixed farm of 4 000 ha (9 884 acres).
His sheep enterprise has 2400 dual purpose (wool & meat) ewes.

The 3 300 ha range land with a grazing capacity of 5 ha per Large Stock Unit (LSU), is scientifically planned and each camp (grazing field) has two watering points.

The fencing is in good shape with predator proof border fencing.  The range land is in a good condition with ample palatable species.  There are also 100 ha perennial, 100 ha annual pastures and 500 ha maize (corn).

The workforce consists of John Lamb (general manager), his wife Cynthia (administration and finances), Wim Nell (consultant), Peter Shepherd (herd foreman), Henry Cultivator (crop and fodder foreman), three sheep and five crop and fodder labourers.  The average age of the workforce is 40 years. The organisation of the farm focus on participative management.  Green Valley has a horizontal linkage with a retailer network selling high quality lamb.

The cash crop fields consist of 250 ha high potential (maize > 4 ton/ha), 150 ha medium potential (maize 2, 5 – 4 ton/ha) and 100 ha low potential (maize < 2, 5 ton/ha).  John manages the crop fields uniformly and applies inputs on all the fields for a 3, 5 ton /ha, which is the average long-term yield for the farm.  The annual fodder and perennial pastures are grown on medium potential fields.

John has a neighbour, Paul Ram whose farm has roughly the same resources, area, composition, livestock numbers and financial position.  Paul decided that he is not going to introduce a strategic approach on his farm and rather stay in his “comfort zone” of traditional farming methods.

The difference in the financial outcome of John and Paul are discussed towards the end of stage 11 after the end of the production year.

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