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Experimental farming takes new drive...as Veld Goat courts Boer Goat

2021-10-26  Charles Tjatindi

Experimental farming takes new drive...as Veld Goat courts Boer Goat
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Vaanavi Ripunda is a man on a mission. He aims to breed a unique goat that will balance carcass weight, temperament and fertility, amongst others. To do this, he will need the fertility and browsing ability of the Indigenous Veld Goat (IVG) as well as the temperament and carcass weight of the Boer Goat.

 Ripunda, through Okonganda Farming – his farming enterprise – has already set the ball in motion on his dream, and he is making steady progress.

 The ambitious farmer has been on an experimental learning path with the IVG, also simply known as Veld goat, as he aims to bring forth a unique product that would carry his farming even further.

 "I want to have a product that we all would be proud of as farmers, and one that would answer many of the questions and shortcomings of some of the existing breeds that we farm with currently," he said.

 Ripunda, who farms in the Okondjatu area of the Otjozondjupa region, started his journey with only four Veld Goats – three ewes and a ram – in 2018. He has since grown his stock to 20, some steady progress to his aim of between 60 and 70 IVGs. 

 Despite the fact that many farmers frown on the Veld Goat, Ripunda saw the breed’s ability to multiply faster due to its high fertility as a drawcard and firmly sets his sights on breeding with it.

 If one looks deeper than the surface, he said, there is huge potential for the IVG that far outweighs the somewhat not-so-good appearance. 

It will, however, take a genuine breeder who is looking for something other than the usual to notice these traits, and Ripunda prides himself on being one such person.

 "Many times, we disqualify a product on face value without digging deeper into what exactly it can offer us. We need to change this approach and carefully consider all traits of a specific breed and see how we can use it to our advantage," he said.

 Ripunda said in a world where many breeds have been tried and tested, it would be worthwhile to experiment with new breeds that would add even more value to farming.

 "The idea is not to completely do away with tried and tested products, but to rather improve and add to such products. The golden rule, of course, is that one has to be improving on the current breed and not taking it back 10 years through your experimental breeding," he said.

 In addition to the Veld Goat, Ripunda farms with the Boerboel dog, which he has showcased at several show events. The Boerboel is a large, mastiff-type dog, originally from South Africa, with a black mask and a short coat.

This breed has a strong bone structure and well-developed muscles. Its head appears blocky, with a short length between the stop and nose. 

 He said he decided to take on this massive dog breed due to the demand for it in the area where he farms. So far, it has been serving his farming targets well, Ripunda said.

 He also farms with the Australorp chicken, an Australian breed developed as a utility breed with a focus on egg-laying and is famous for laying more than 300 eggs in a lifetime.

 "Diversity is important as a farmer. Relying on one product does not augur well for the type of farming that we carry out, and on the type of land on which we carry out our farming," he said.

 Ripunda advised upcoming farmers to make use of every opportunity they find to better their products, and also market them for the world to see. 

He said, with constant marketing, one improves on your product, as you get feedback from those viewing your products.

 "Never miss animal show events if you can. Be present and make your mark," he noted.

 - tjatindi@gmail.com


2021-10-26  Charles Tjatindi

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