Section A: Horticulture
1. Pecan nut production unit:
This division envisions the establishment of an orchard of approximately 600ha of pecan nut trees. It also sports amazing water reserves. This production unit will also accommodate a pecan nut processing, packing and storage warehouse. Teff grass, Eragrostis teff, Irish Rye grass and Red Clover, will be grown between the rows of trees. During the winter months, the grass will be cut, baled and used for cattle and horses. Red Clover is a phenomenal natural feed for grazing of Dairy cows for milk production. Various experts have been consulted, and only hardy varieties of Pecan, as discussed further, will be planted. The Pecan production unit will create numerous full-time training and employment, as well as seasonal (packaging) employment opportunities.
The pecan requires a continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters in moist to semi-arid areas, preferably grown under irrigation. Areas with short, cold winters and long, very hot summers are ideal. The average monthly temperature should be higher than 28oC in summer and lower than 23oC in winter.
The areas envisaged, gets more than sufficient rainfall to warrant the dry-land production of pecans. The ARC Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops rated the greater Enambithi or Ladysmith area in KZN with B-grading, with good prospects of commercial cultivation.
2. Olive virgin oil production unit:
An orchard of about 35ha of olive trees, suitable to the climatic conditions, will be established. Varieties such as Luccino, Koroneiki and Frantoio are considered, due to their specific qualities, taking the geographical area and climate into account.
The unit offers the production of virgin oil, as well as pulp, which will be applied for the production of spreads and additional nutrition within the production of organic feeds. Along with the Pecan production unit, it will provide employment and training opportunities.
In comparison with areas of Olive Production in New Zealand sensitive to frost and similar climate to the De Angelus Estates region, it is determined that with the right preparation and the planting of more Bhutan Pines as wind breaks, approximately 35 000 trees varying between Frantoio, Koroneiki and Leccino could be planted. These varieties prove to be the most widely used, with great success. The trees have proven their adaptability to most climatic conditions.
3. Herbal & fresh produce production unit: Farm Geluk
The old cultivated land, approximately 35ha, in the northwestern corner of the farm Geluk will be used for an herb and fresh produce production unit. Herbs and fresh produce considered are: chives, onions, potatoes, garlic, leeks, chard, kale, cabbage, broccoli, beetroot, turnips, kohl rabi, carrots, sweet potato, radish, beans, celery, marrows, celeriac, asparagus, artichokes, fennel, rhubarb, basil, rosemary and aubergines, amongst others.
The fresh produce produced by the farms’ horticultural units will supply the Lugar de Angelus spiritual retreat as well as the local community. Vermi-tea will be applied by this unit, for the control of mildew as well as insects. This unit is quite labor intensive, and will provide permanent and seasonal employment to individuals of the greater Van Reenen (Enambithi) area.
4. Natural plant oils and nursery unit: Farm Nolans Volens II
An area of approximately 42 ha in size, marked as “horticultural area”, will be used for the construction of nursery tunnels and open fields. The area is currently degraded and eroded as a result of the construction of the current NMPP pipeline, many years ago.
The newly constructed NMPP pipeline, did contribute to more possible future erosion, thus the establishment of the tunnels, nursery and planted fields, will keep the degradation of the area under control. This unit will produce herbs that are rich in natural oils. The raw oils will be used for the production of pharmaceutical-grade oils. The Company, BEDADS, will manage this unit
Tunnels will be used to cultivate roses and gypsophelia. Plantings of 15ha rose-geraniums and 10ha True Lavender, is envisaged. A further 17ha will be planted with damask roses, nigella (natural tea for the treatment of colic in babies, as well as stress reflux in expectant mothers), and fennel, in open fields. Plants are sourced in terms of popularity, rarity, demand and application. Only plants that will sustain the areas’ climatic conditions will be propagated.
Organic material will also be derived from the removal of invader-classed species, especially the Wattle and Bluegum infestations. The trunks and branches of Wattles will be shredded into organic garden materials. All twigs and seedpods will be incinerated. The trunks of Saligna-Bluegum will be harvested for flooring/wood and the branches sold as firewood. The abundant growth of invaders, along the railway lines and regional roads, will provide ample opportunities for people with initiative, to harvest them for income, from the organic unit.
De Angelus Organics will further harness treated organic products from the Algae Sewage Plants, operated within the Estates. This division is foreseen to experience much growth and demand in years to come.
De Cielo nursery
The actual nursery will be located at the old farm entrance to the farm Nolans Volens 2. Organic products, plants, garden supplies, as well as garden ornaments, will be sold to the public.
The horticulture training will be implemented from the nursery, as the base of the fresh produce and plant culture production centre, will reside here. The tea garden, Spices, will provide refreshments and comfort to the visitor.
De Angelus Estates have identified several tree specimens, with reference to aspects like water requirements, appearance, dual or more functionability, and being able to withstand the areas climatic conditions. They will replace removed invaders, thus preventing erosion, as well as keeping in line with the aesthetics of the estate and the creation of animal shelter. Though many indigenous trees are found in this area, many prefer the shelter of valleys, not able to withstand the cold westerly winds in winter.
Trees identified includes: Wit-olienhout, Cape Holly, Karee, Wild Olive, Sweet Chestnut, Black Walnut, Liquilumbar, Nyssa, London Plane, Poplar Tremula for lanes, Holm oak, Red oak, Cedar, Cypress and possibly Cape Bushwillow.
5. De Cielo nursery, worm farm
The De Angelus Estates is to create a massive wormery, for the production of sufficient worm-culture, as organic alternatives to chemical fertilizers and sprays. The worm farm will form part of the De Cielo nursery, where bi-products will also be on sale to the public. The worm farm will be protected from excessive wind and/or climatic conditions, as to protect the worms from sudden drops or hikes in temperatures.
We are fortunate that Vermiculture is now easily available to everyone through the designs by Worm Experts who have taken composting worms (Eisenia fetida) and introduced them into efficient, neat and compact structures that we call Worm Farms/Wormeries/Worm Bins. It is also quite easy to make your own one, you just have to browse the internet and there are a multitude of videos and instructional offerings to choose from.
So, for those of you who live in suburbia, or who would like the byproducts easily available, there are some wonderfully designed and productive Worm Bins available in South Africa.
A wormery is an easy and efficient mechanism for converting organic waste which will yield a brown liquid which that can be mixed with water and applied to all plants and vegetables, as well as providing a rich organic compost (vermicompost).
Worm Bi-products and their uses
The produce of a wormery, i.e. vermicompost(worm castings) and vermileachate (worm tea) are easily collected and can be used in fresh food production, gardens, or farming, through direct application or irrigation.
Worms do not perform well when exposed to severe changes in temperature and therein require protection from the elements. They are easy to manage and odorless. The size of the wormery is determined by the volume and type of organic material to be processed, and the budget.
There are 2 amazing bi-products:
2. Vermi-liquid (also referred to as “worm wee, worm tea, vermi-tea”)
3. Earthworm castings (Vermicompost)
Benefits of using composted worm tea use include:
• reduced insect infestations
• reduced water requirements for vegetation
• it is organic and non toxic to humans or animals
• it will not burn plants if overused
In addition to pest controls, compost tea also attacks and prevents fungus growth. The tea appears to be faster acting when compared to chemical based pesticides. Even better, compost tea is similar to charcoal. It has no odor and activates to eliminate unpleasant aromas when mixed with animal manure.
Digested, organic material emitted by worms, are called “castings.” These castings are rich with phosphorus, calcium, and potassium. So, it is the natural, cost-effective choice, of fertilizer for the garden and organic food production. The castings are an organic fertilizer that can be used safely – as little or much – they are only beneficial to the soil. It also acts as an insect and disease repellant, controlling plant pathogens and root eating nematodes. And unlike chemical fertilizers, all natural worm castings won’t burn tender roots. Worm castings have a wonderful earthy smell - no unpleasant or chemical odor. It is full of nutrients, and can contain more than 60 micro nutrients and trace minerals (sometimes as much as eleven times more nitrogen, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, potash and magnesium than actual topsoil!).Worm castings also help create channels within the layers of the earth’s soil, which helps to hold water better and keep moisture in the soil longer.
Section B. Animal production
1. Alpaca llama production unit and the De Angelus Weaver
The llama production unit is envisaged to cover grazing veldt on Paulina and Geluk, although the core of the unit will reside on Geluk (De Angelus Alpacas).
Llama was selected, due to unique employment opportunities arising from the scope of products that could be produced, as well as the quality grading of their flax. The fact that these animals, due to physical attributes, have less impact on soil structures and are highly suited for the climate was also taken into account. Pioneering work has been done in the US, where Llama, apposed to horses, are used in the rehabilitation of children with physical impediments or personality disorders. The Estates also wish to explore this treatment regime further in due time.
The De Angelus Weaver will train and employ individuals from within the local community to treat, spin and create products from Alpaca Llama wool, which will be sold locally and internationally. Employees will be granted shareholding opportunities through a trust, especially created for this purpose.
Alpaca llama fibre
Llamas are selected for their fiber quality.
Compared to sheep's wool, llama fiber is lighter and warmer, and has no oil, and thus produces a greater yield (yards of yarn per ounce of fiber). Warmer also means that a thinner yarn and lighter garment produce the same heat retention. This is terrific for fine dress garments, but not for bulky garments. No oil means that the fiber does not need to be washed before processing or storage, but that hand spinners will be able to spin the yarn.
Alpacas are the result of selective breeding to produce a fiber-production-only animal. Alpaca fiber comes in a wide range of natural colors and two basic coat types. Woolly llamas were the original mutation that made alpacas possible, and woolly llama fiber still has many applications. Alpacas and llamas (all types) have distinctly different physical features as well as different original purposes. However, once fiber has been harvested from a lama, South Americans reportedly classify it by its quality -- “alpaca,” for instance, is any fleece without guard hair. Alpaca wool is reserved for fine clothing, clothing worn next to the skin, and export.
Alpaca are bred for various reasons, the most important being:
1) Fiber production
2) Live stock sales
3) Milk production
5) Therapy for traumatized individuals
6) Guards to other live stock
Since the fiber contains no lanolin, no processing is required before spinning. Thus the capex lies in the acquisition and the preparation of establishing the unit, whilst the opex will be the care maintenance and the health of the herd.
Options between the production unit and the acquisition of the fleece by the Weavery, must be structured, for maximum efficacy and sustainability all round.
This Agro-unit, aims to acquire a herd of 100 alpacas, and to grow the herd to approximately 600 strong in five years, making use of other stock presently in the RSA, as well as A.I, if appropriate.
2. Cattle production and Cattle Rearing training unit
Organic beef is to be reared at the farm with a herd of 400 cattle, and dairy with a heard of 120 dairy cows. The DAE Organic Market will retail produce from the project in the Van Reenen Village. Fresh produce grown at the Estates will also be sold to hawkers who want to enter into SMME’s at other township communities.
Utilization of crop residues
South Africa produces commercial crops, the main one being maize. De Angelus Estates is intent on planting arigrostis teff, kikuyu and red clover amongst its fruit/pecan orchids. The crop residues of olive and soy would also be utilized for cattle and to a lesser degree small stock, during the dry season. This practice is of great value in management of pastures, and the control of early weeds in the cultivated fields. Other crop residues utilized to a lesser degree; are groundnuts, sorghum and mealies.
The utilization of crop residues, together with the provision of a balanced lick, provides good grazing for the fattening of steers or for cows during late pregnancy, if the natural grazing cannot supply their nutritional needs. However, the lands acquired by the estates, is of great quality.
Recommendations for the production, and the training of students within the cattle production units: (beef and dairy)
o the introduction of rotational grazing
o the correct use of licks
o optimal utilization of crop residues
o the use of adapted dry land planted pastures
o train farmers in the correct use of supplementary feeding
o introduction of drought/saline tolerant fodder species for dry season utilization
The transitioning and rearing of Organic Beef
Consumers are leading the growing demand for organic beef products, especially since the South African National Organic Program included beef in 2002. The rules for rearing organic beef differ somewhat from those for organic dairy, and the guidelines for organic production, are discussed below.
Organic Beef- and Dairy Produce, Marketing Strategies
There are several options for selling organic prod¬ucts, allowing variation in the kind of organic opera¬tion you set up. To succeed one must first identify the market or buyer. The buyer or market may lead to preferred or required breed types, variation in products, weights, slaughter distances and finishing requirements, like grains or grasses.
Health Management and Living Conditions
Maintaining health on an organic beef operation is based in management including healthy living condi¬tions, a balanced high forage ration and the use of natural or approved synthetic health inputs. Approved synthetic health products are on the National List of ap¬proved substances, see the National Organic Program website www.ams.usda.gov/nop or your certification agency for a current listing. Examples of synthetic ap¬proved materials include aspirin, glucose and iodine as a disinfectant. Natural items such as herbal products or Aloe Vera without preservatives are allowed. Vaccines are allowed. Sellers of approved health inputs are listed in the MOSES Organic Resource Directory.