Senwes Scenario June/July 2018 - Page 44

PRODUCER FOCUS Dynamic DYNAMITE Before you think we are being forward and that we are trying to make Buks more import- ant than what he is, you have to know that Buks van Wyk is dynamic and literally dyna- mite. However, he is very humble. Let me explain... By Aubrey Kruger T ravelling from Wolmaransstad on the R504 in the direction of Schweizer-Reneke, you will see mine dumps on the hori- zon. These are possibly diamond mines, owned by the focus producer of this edi- tion. You may wonder what it has to do with farming. Well, half of Senwes producer, Buks van Wyk's activities, are made up of diamond digging and the other half of mixed farming, with cropping and cattle, as well as a small game component. The full package and more. Skietbaan - the name of his farm and this is typical Northwest world: Tussen mynhoop en die lande weiwend graan. There is one difference, however, every- thing is on one producer's farm - not two different operations. Buks is a third-gener- ation producer with his feet planted firmly and humbly on the ground. He started farming with his father, Boet van Wyk, in 1978 at the age of 20. He had to learn everything about farming from his father in just two years, before he passed away in 1980. DIAMOND DIGGINGS - DYNAMIC COMPONENT Buks, who was born on the farm Spioenkop, says: “Forty years ago I would not have been able to even imagine 42 SENWES SCENARIO | WINTER 2018 myself in this position.” After the death of his father in 1980, followed by a crop failure due to the 1981 drought, his finan- cial position forced him to access the diamond industry. A daring feat to say the least. He started by digging on the farms of other producers and now, 37 years and 17 farms later, diamond digging has been responsible for 15 of those farms. This is how he diversifies! Amazing, not so? Don't let the high prices of these pre- cious stones fool you - it is the same as when the grain prices are high, which will not be right now. It is a capital intensive business - from millions of rands worth of diesel to implements. The shiny little stones, which appear now and then, are of the utmost importance to cover input costs and, with a bit of luck, the big one may be in the next ton of gravel. Hours before my visit a shiny stone was detected by the x-rays and it was catapult- ed into the safe. An 8-carat stone - small when taking into account that they have found a 72-carat stone on one of his farms. JJ VAN WYK FARMING Crop farming Buks mainly focuses on maize and sun- flower. He plants approximately 3 000 hectares and leases an additional 500 hectares. His focus is 90% on the produc- tion of maize and 10% on sunflower. He has 90 hectares under irrigation with three pivot points. He is planning to leave some of his fields fallow in the coming seasons, “something which I have never done before.” Compost is one of his many ideas, although it is still in its infancy. However, the project is already paying off. He points out rows of compost heaps, but he does not want to say too much about it yet. How does diamond mining fit in with his farming operations? In short: “Diamonds don't need water.” In fact, the dryer the better. Can you believe such words being uttered by a producer? He bought most of his farms with the cap- ital generated from the diamond mining and the cash flow is very good. There is always an income. When the maize prices are low, he focuses on Van Wyk Diggings, with high prices at present. This is how you hedge yourself. Animal feed Another component. Cattle and feed being the sub-theme of this ѥݔ)٥ͥЁѼ́ѡȁɅѥ̸!)́ɽ᥵ѕɵ)ɥ̸!́܁ѡ́ɕѱ)!́́́ݥѠѡݔ)ȁݕѡѡ䁅ɔٕ)ɽ́ٔݥѠѡȁɽ́ȁݼ)ݕ̰ݥѠѡѥٔɔ)ѡЁѡ䁙ɴݥѠѡݕ̸)M՝ȁɅ锰ݡ́́ݕ)ɵ́Ёѡȁи)!̀Ā́́ݕ%Ё́ѕ)ͅѡЁѱ͡ձЁݕѼ