Senwes Scenario June / July 2017 - Page 22

•••• IN T H E SP OTLI GH T s s i e W n n a m r e H n o i s s a p e double th SENWES PRODUCER, HERMANN WEISS, DEFINITELY HAS DOUBLE THE PASSION IN EVERY THING HE DOES! AUBREY KRUGER I t starts off with a double n in his name and a double s in his surname. This makes Hermann an out and out German and he is very proud of his German heritage. He says that his parents spoke German at home and he can still understand the language. The German tradition for preci­ sion rubbed off on him and he strives for precision in everything he does. DOUBLE PASSION: FARMING AND ENGINEERING Farming was actually not Hermann's first choice - he used to be an engineer at Sasol when dad Gerhard asked him to choose between engineering at Sasol and farming. Farming won and the rest is, as they say, history. FARMING OPERATIONS Hermann farms on the farm Vlakkuil outside of Koppies. It is situated exactly between Heilbron and Koppies, approximately 30 20 km from both towns. However, two thirds of the road to Koppies is tarred. The history of the farm dates back to 1910. Two passionate generations came before him - his grandfather, Ernst Weiss, was the first Weiss on the farm, followed by his father, Gerhard. He was followed by Hermann, when he decided to continue with the farming operations as the third generation. Hermann is partic­ ularly grateful for the few years during which he could farm with his father before his parents passed away. The farming operations are carried out on seven farms of approximately 4 000 hectares in total. 2 200 hectares are used for crop farming, where they cultivate white maize, yellow maize and sorghum. You really have to be brave to farm in this area, with a rainfall of between 300 and 500 mm per year. Producers are selective in respect of the type of maize they plant and with the no-till meth­ JUN/JUL 2017 • SENWES Scenario od on good turf, they have also adjusted the number of plants per hectare in order to ensure viability. The long-term average is between 3,5 to 4,5 tons per hectare. Hermann tells us that it is interesting that, although Sasolburg is approximately 50 km from his farm as the crow flies, the Sasolburg area receives approx­ imately 200 mm more rain per year due to a micro-climate being created there. One thing his father taught him is that when the wind blows in such a direction that you can smell Sasol, the chances of rain are good. Hermann says that the 2014 and 2016 droughts were a real set­ back for them. He switched over to precision farming for about a year, but this has been on ice for the past few years due to the drought and the extensive input it requires. But the passionate die- hard will come to the fore when they start the process from scratch again. He usually plants the same quantity of all three crops, but he