Using fieldmargin to effectively manage livestock during a 7 year drought

Using fieldmargin to effectively manage livestock during a 7 year drought

Charl Botha is a livestock farmer near Britstown, South Africa. He farms about 35,000 ha and keeps over 8,000 ewes and 200 cattle. His animals fall in the category 100% pure – meaning that his methods are all natural with no hormones. The farm also supplies wool to be sold in the international market that’s RWS certified, so the wool is all natural and complies with all the rules and regulations. No mulesing is used on his farm.  This is the removal of strips of wool-bearing skin from around the breech of a sheep to prevent the parasitic infection flystrike (myiasis).

Over the last four months, Charl has used fieldmargin to record rainfall and monitor animal locations as a way of tracking data to help manage the severe drought conditions. 

“Keeping track of rainfall has been made way easier thanks to fieldmargin monitoring sites,” says Charl. “We are currently struggling with a seven year drought, so sheep get moved from field to field a lot. I use fieldmargin to keep track of where all my sheep are and when they where moved between fields.”

“Once every three months, I gather my sheep and work through them, attending to the sick ones checking to see if my numbers are still the same, if there are any sheep missing, and how many are dead due to natural causes. Depending on what time of the year it is, in the wet times, you need to attend to the sheep more – especially when the wool is longer. Using fieldmargin, we can add records and easily check details on the web platform in the office or on our mobiles when the team is in the field”

The communication features of fieldmargin allow Charl to keep track of his other farm which is 200 kilometres away. This grows maize and alfalfa to feed to his livestock and he has to closely monitor the irrigation used on it. This is especially important in a drought.

“With Field Jobs I can keep track of everything that needs to be applied like fertiliser and herbicide use,” says Charl. “I can quickly see when the farm manager completed tasks as he gets things done. Even if I’m 200 kilometres away, I can load tasks and keep an eye on progress.”

Charl also uses fieldmargin to monitor over 80 windmills across his farm. The windmills use energy from the wind to pump water into a dam. 

“Every windmill’s depth is different,” says Charl. “So from amount of pipe and the thickness of the pipe to the cylinder used to pump water, everything gets loaded on fieldmargin. That way, if one windmills is broken I know exactly what I need to fix it. This type of information used to take forever to find back in the office, it is great to see and share all the data on one map.”

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Let us know what you think about fieldmargin. We love talking to agriculture and software enthusiasts. Send us your feedback or questions by emailing or by phoning us on +44 203 289 4200. 

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