Overberg Agriculture Hot

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Lying literally "over the berg" from Cape Town, the Overberg district includes the towns of Caledon, Bredasdorp and Swellendam as well as the coastal towns of Hermanus and Struisbaai.

The area is an extremely viable agricultural area and will be the focus of attention at the annual Agri-Mega Week that will be held at Bredasdorp between the 12th to 15th September 2012. This agricultural show aims to bring the producers, supplier and general public together to promote sustainable agriculture.

Fresh water is abundant, allowing for a diversity of agricultural activities that includes fruit and vegetable cultivation, grain production and the farming of sheep, cattle and ostrich as well as the breeding of horses. South Africa's second largest lake system, the Soetendaals Vlei is also found within its borders.

The Overberg has numerous threatened habitats encompassed within its boundaries, including the Renosterveld which only remains in isolated pockets between agricultural lands. Efforts are underway by conservation agencies and NGO's, including the Flower Valley Trust to work with land owners to ensure sustainable agricultural practices that can protect the remaining Renosterveld patches.

As well as being home to numerous protected plant species the Overberg is also home to the Bontebok, Agulhas-Long Billed Lark and South Africa's national bird the Blue Crane. 

 

Grain Silos in Bredasdorp by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

The grain silos of Bredasdorp stand out above the town during a misty morning

Canola wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

Canola is part of the rotational crops that are farmed within the Bredasdorp

Canola fields at dusk wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

Dusk falling through a cloud filled sky over a canola field in the Soetendaals Vlei area

Wheat fields by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

Grain crops including wheat and oats are a mainstay of the Overberg agricultural region

Overberg farmstead by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

An Overberg farmstead as dawn rises over a misty valley

Bredasdorp wetland by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

Wetlands abound in the Overberg and many run through threatened habitats

Farm dam by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

Numerous farm dams have been built to aid in the provision of water for agricultural crop spraying and provision of water to agricultural stock

Soetendaals vlei at dusk by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

South Africa's second largest fresh water lake system, the Soetendaals Vlei as dusk falls

African Sacred Ibis by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

Numerous waterbirds, including this African Sacred Ibis can be found amongst the wetland system of the Soetendaals Vlei

Red Hot Poker by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

 The Overberg falls within the Cape Floral Kingdom and many of the species found in the area are endemic and also occur on the Red Data List. Here, Red Hot Pokers grow on the edges of the Soetendaals Vlei

Merino sheep by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

Merino sheep are a popular agricultural stock in the Overberg and the area is well known for both its wool and meat production 

Sheep wool on barbed wire fence by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

A strand of sheeps wool hangs on a barbed wire fence, capturing the dew from the early morning 

New born lambs by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

New born lambs stand in close protection of the mothers, in a specially protected field 

Capped Wheatear on fence post by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

The farmlands of the Overberg provide good birding opportunities, with many of the birds using the farm fence posts as lookout points. Here a Capped Wheatear uses the fence post to look out for insect prey. 

Southern Red Bishop by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

The grain fields of the Overberg attract large flocks of seed eating birds including canaries and bishops. Here a male Southern Red Bishop in ecliptic breeding plumage perches on a fence post

Goose in wheat field by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

  Flocks of geese wander the fields around farm homesteads and are used for their down feathers.

New born calf by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

A newly born calf staggers to its feet and under the protective eye of its mother. 

Bull and Cattle Egret by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

Both dairy and beef cattle are farmed within the Overberg 

Stud bull by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

The farms between Arniston and Struisbaai are well know for their stud breeding bulls 

Cockerel crowing by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

A cokerel crows in the early morning light, close to one of the Overberg farmsteads

Pin cushion by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

Many of the fynbos flowers are sustainably harvested in the Overberg and are used almost exclusively for the export market. Here Leucospermum cordifolium are backlit in the early morning sun

Blue crane by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

South Africa's national bird the Blue Crane can be seen in large flocks throughout the Overberg and this is probably the best place in the country to view these birds.

Images and text by Wildlife and Conservation Photographer Peter Chadwick

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