We use high-density, rotational, multi-species grazing – a mouthful for us and our animals.
High-density means there are a lot of animals in a small paddock for a short period of time.
Rotational means the animals are moved frequently.
Multi-species means that our farm’s different animal species (cattle, pigs and chickens) all visit our pastures at different times to feed on the various species of plants.
Our cattle are moved two to three times per day and our chickens are moved (in their Eggmobiles) daily and the pigs once a week. It will be at least six weeks before the animals return to the same paddock, where the plant life will be thriving thanks to the nutrients left behind by the animals’ behinds.
We originally established our pastures with 18 varieties of grasses and legumes. The plants have different nutrients and benefits for both the animals and the soil microbes. (There are about one billion microbes in a teaspoon of healthy soil!) The different plant types have different growth cycles and this variation provides our animals with a balanced diet of energy, fibre and protein.
Our cattle roam freely in uncrowded pastures, eating only grasses. They themselves address any mineral deficiencies they may be experiencing by always having access to their free-choice mineral licks. The cattle are moved to a different field two to three times daily so that they depoosit nutrients across the farm without eating and trampling the plant life into oblivion.
Grass-fed beef is mmmoooooooch tastier and healthier, particularly considering the important balance of omega 3 to 6 fatty acids. Our cattle are never given growth hormones. Everything they eat is free of glyphosate.
The biggest component of our business is Farmer Angus Eggs: the pasture-raised egg production, which is 85 % employee-owned. Our chickens sleep and lay their eggs in Eggmobiles, their custom-made travelling henhouses. Every morning the girls head out to roam around as they please on our pastures. While they forage across a different pasture every day, they spread fertility out of their back ends as they go on their merry, feathery way. The hens are provided with glyphosate-free feed from our friends at Profile Feeds, and are never given growth hormones or routine antibiotics. These ladies are living their best lives, which means what they deliver is eggstra nutritious and we don’t need to dye their yolks to convince you of that!
Our pigs dine on the very tasty food waste from the Spier Wine Farm restaurants, as well as waste from a local supermarket, vegetable wholesaler, and ice cream factory. (And yes, like you and I, they all scream for ice cream.) In fact, our oinkers have helped a Pick n Pay store in Stellenbosch become the first zero-waste grocery shop in South Africa!
Currently 52 % of what they eat is the glyphosate-free feed made by their pro-pork pals at Profile Feeds. The rest is upcycled food waste (meaning they turn things that we don’t want to eat into things we want to pig out on). When they’re not providing the service of eating the vegetables you didn’t want, the pigs spend most of their time grazing and rooting around in the pastures.
Native to the Western and Northern Cape regions, we don’t give our rooibos anything other than our admiration and gratitude. These hardy shrubs are fed only by the region’s winter rains.
This is a new product and it is currently for sale only on the farm where it was grown, in the Spier shop.
Working alongside our friends at Spier Wine Farm, who propagate indigenous plants in their absolutely awesome nursery, we have planted hundreds of thousands of bulbs, trees, shrubs and succulents on the farm. About 250 hectares of the farm are part of the ongoing rewilding project to restore the local fynbos vegetation. The cleared alien vegetation is used for firewood, composted or mulched.
Much of the rewilding is done on large tracts of land, and some of it is strategically planted as shelter belts. These environmental buffer zones provide living and breeding spaces to endemic animals and insects (we like to support the birds and the bees). This biodiversity strengthens the resiliency of the ecosystem against wind, drought, flood, and fire.
To learn more, here is an old but still relevant (kind of like Farmer Angus himself) blog post about our shelterbelts.
The biodiversity on our farm extends into our soil with organic matter that can store carbon both short term and long term (carbon sequestration). In 2014 we were one of the very first farms in the world to be paid for increasing the carbon content of our pastures. Every three years, including in 2023, we undergo a stringent verification and auditing process to be eligible to sell carbon credits. The farm employees earn 50 % of the net income from these sales.
We are extremely proud of our pioneering work in the field of carbon credits, which we have expanded into a sister company, Farmer Angus Carbon.