GrainSA/ Syngenta Grain Grower of the Year
The 2023 Grain SA/Syngenta Grain Producer of the Year was awarded to Pieter de Jager from Albertinia in the Western Cape.
Pieter de Jager joined the family farm in late 2003 after completing his MA studies in Agricultural Management. They bought the farm Wiehmansfontein near Albertinia, and still live there today. Initially, wool sheep, ostriches and chalk were the farming's primary source of income, while beef cattle and small grain only made up a small part of the turnover. Between the two de Jager brothers, the management of the livestock branches was divided as they lived around different farming units. Since 2010, Pieter began to focus more diligently on the grain branches with a view to better profitability. Today, about 80% of the farming is grain and 20% wool sheep and beef cattle. The de Jagers grow cash crops on dryland, of which wheat represents the largest plantings, followed by canola, radishes, and lupins. Pasture and planted pasture make up the sum of the farming operations. The livestock factor comprises a commercial wool sheep herd for slaughter lamb production and a smaller beef cattle herd for weanling calf production. Pieter believes in the uniqueness of the agricultural sector because of good leadership and a positive attitude. Agriculture tends to create opportunities and act proactively. “I am an example that success starts with each person himself, but a member organisation such as Grain SA, as a mouthpiece is non-negotiable to act on behalf of me as producer where I as an individual, does not have an impact on the macroeconomic policy platforms, the political field, legislation or the management of national resources,” de Jager said.