AUCTION DATE: 9 September 2017 – 10h00

VENUE: Vredenheim Wine Estate

Game farms may be uncommon in the Western Cape, but we are convinced that the province has great potential for aspiring game farmers. Game ranches vary in function – some are for hunting, some are for breeding, and some are for live sales. Whilst others are used for conservation and ecotourism.  Whatever the purpose, we believe that aspiring game farmers can derive huge benefits by diversifying their current agricultural practises to make space for game.

At first, the members of De Kaap Game Breeders made their decision to diversify from viticulture individually, having always had a keen interest in game. When they per chance met up, De Kaap Game Breeders was established. “There has always been plains game roaming on the farm, and it therefore seemed a natural transformation,” explain Jacobus Griessel  (member of De Kaap  Game Breeders), “but it is also an inherent love of the land passed down by our parents which was a strong driving force behind the decision. We considered game, rather than crops, an excellent way in which to diversify while sustaining production and improving profitability”.

“Furthermore, the day-to-day expenses of game farming are proving to be significantly lower than traditional livestock farming”

“There are a lot of farms in the Western Province that are already suited for game faming. Farmers who are set up for livestock farming may need to do little to adjust or adapt their fences or camp systems.”

Farmers who have areas that cannot be utilised for commercial stock or crop farming should seriously consider adding game to their farms’ production portfolios.

The right species for the right grazing

As aspiring game ranchers, De Kaap Game Breeders started conserving species that they were particularly passionate about. The comprehensive analyses of grazing capacity and volume by an animal nutritionist was also taken into account before species were chosen. Gradually, the operation expanded to increase the number and diversity of game to African buffalo, golden wildebeest, golden Oryx, roan, bontebok, sable, quagga, white, black and copper springbok, as well as other, more common species such as eland, kudu and zebra.

“We are extremely proud of our relationship with one of SA’s industry leaders – Castle de Wildt – and their renowned Castle de Wildt genetics. Through our association with their expert team, we managed to obtain much sought after quality genetics, outstanding bloodlines and phenomenal animals. De Kaap Game Breeders are now able to breed and offer well-adapted animals with proven genetics, backed by Unistel DNA profiling and Stud Book parental records.”

All our animals are are raised on natural pastures and are fed supplement that ensures optimum growth and development.

“Game utilises what is in the veld better than commercial animals, but supplement feeding sustains their condition. We just came through a drought where we also had to increase our feed more than we usually do. Despite the higher feeding cost, we are still not close to what a feedlot animal’s daily feed would cost.”

A bright future 

We believe that game farming will remain a viable business industry. Although we recognize its risks, it is not unlike any other livestock breeding practice.  Once you know how to approach the market, game breeding poses no bigger risk than farming with sheep or cattle.

“Eco-tourism in South Africa is a big business and within the larger South African economy, this is the one market sector which keeps growing exponentially each year. Together with hunting and meat production, game breeding is a lucrative industry – despite the weaker Rand and the security factor – it still provides better infrastructure than most other industries in the country.”