On the photo are from left: Dirk Uys (Bayer), Edward Vorster (Mahela Farming, farmer of the year, Limpopo), Barend Vorster jnr (Mahela Farming), Magda du Toit (chairperson Agricultural Writers SA), Pieter Vorster (Mahela Farming), Johan Styger (farmer of the year, North West), Pieter Smit (Bayer), Mbali Nkabinde and husband (new entrant to commercial farming, northern region), Kobus Steenekamp (Bayer), Myles van Deventer
(Joseph Baynes Estate (Pty) Ltd, farmer of the year, KwaZulu-Natal)
The Agricultural Writers SA North acknowledged the outstanding achievements of three commercial farmers, a new entrant into commercial agriculture, and three agriculturists in October. Congratulations to Myles van Deventer and the team of Joseph Baynes Estate (Pty) Ltd who was named farmer of the year in the KwaZulu-Natal region. Myles is a member of SAPPO’s Executive Committee and Board. Awards were presented to them at a function in Pretoria sponsored by Bayer.
Joseph Baynes Estate operates on a 9 300 ha farm called Baynesfield Estate, 25 km outside Pie–termaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal. Myles van Deventer is the managing director of the company and leads a team of managers for this diversified agricultural business. Myles holds a BSc Agric, MSc Agric and an MBA degree and reports to a board of directors. The company has a 2 000-sow unit and a 900-cow beef herd together with a feedlot. The company also has 1 350 ha of arable land that provides maize for a company feed mill that produces 1 200 tonnes of pig and cattle feed per month. In addition, the company has 200 ha of avocado orchards and is a joint shareholder in an avocado packing shed packing nearly one million cartons per season.
The company strives to embrace new technologies to improve its biological productivity and has strategically and pro-actively set itself up to minimise risk. They mitigate risk by ensuring the business has scale, is integrated, but also diversified. They also focus on products where they believe they have a competitive advantage. Integration allows the company to better control the value chain, thus all the maize produced on the farm is put through the company’s feed mill to provide feed for its large commercial piggery and feedlot.
The company has been acknowledged for its efforts in the conservation of threatened grassland species and has been recognised by the World Wildlife Fund as a Blue Swallow custodian and an Oribi custodian.