Metusalem Tjirovi always believed in doing things differently. It was, therefore, not surprising to those close to him when, in 2014, he embarked on his farming journey, starting off with a whole kraal of full breed, registered stud livestock.
For a starter farmer, this was bound to set a new precedence. The established norm is that one starts commercial livestock and works his way up to full-scale stud breeding.
Tjirovi brought 20 cattle as his starting herd – an equal number of both Brahman and Simmentaler, all registered stud animals. He complimented this with an equally registered Simmentaler bull. At the time, he had no idea he was setting his path to elite Simbra cattle breeding.
“I found out that when I used the Simmentaler bull on the Brahman cows, the product was of exceptional quality. This motivated me to keep going,” he said.
This was the start of his journey towards Simbrah stud breeding, which would see him holding on to the heifers offspring for further production and sell off the tollies at market prices.
Three years later, Tjirovi extended his newfound love for the Simbra by adding 15 pregnant Simbra cows to his herd. The writing was on the wall for Tjirovi as his Simbra stud started growing. Super Diski Simbra Stud was born – a fully registered breeder of elite Simbra cattle.
It was to be a cross of passions: Tjirovi’s first love football, which saw him pushing the leather for some years – and his new found passion of farming, hence the name ‘Super Diski’.
The fact that all this was achieved on a rented plot of land kept Tjirovi yearning for more, as he pushed his farming to greater heights.
“I rented a 1 100 hectare plot from someone who believed in my vision. This has helped me to grow as I could hold full blood livestock on the plot. I did not wait to be resettled or buy a farm, as I could not afford it. I just went ahead and pushed my farming to new levels,” he said.
Stud farming has not been an entirely plain sailing experience for Tjirovi.
The requirement of constantly improving the herd and keeping up with industry standard has been a heavy load on his shoulders but one that he was determined to carry.
Often, when inspections are done on his herd, a few of his livestock would fail to pass the Simbra test even with the good genetic pool he had bred them from.
“Sometimes, cattle would not make the grade and inspectors would fail them for minor mistakes, as they are often referred to. These would have to do with simple things such as the way the animals walk, or stand. It is always a disappointment when that happens, but one has to remain focused and look to the future,” he said.
Tjirovi sells off the cattle that do not meet breed standards to sustain his farming operations, including workers wages, animal feed as well as rental for the plot.
In 2020, Tjirovi added another chapter to his farming journey - Boer Goat stud farming. He offered five rams for inspection, and three passed the ‘Boer Goat test’.
Again, affirming his belief in quality before quantity, Tjirovi approached some top Boer Goat breeders both in South Africa and Namibia, and secured quality goats for his new addition.
He plans to put these rams’ offspring at production auctions in Windhoek and Otjiwarongo next year.
Tjirovi advised aspiring farmers to always equip themselves with all kinds of knowledge around their livestock; what to feed them, vaccination calendar and how to best the best out of them if they are to stay afloat in the farming world.
Also, farming is not a get-rich-quick scheme; it’s a marathon of constant improvement of your product and several trials and errors before you can start recouping your investment, Tjirovi advises.
He said although many aspiring farmers first want to acquire their own land before starting farming, doing so might delay the journey.
“Just start today. Start with all the obstacles that are stacked against you. It is fine to have obstacles, just find ways of working around them. Delaying starting means you are delaying your vision and robbing yourself,” he said.