“I grew up with Merinos, my father and both my grandfathers farmed with them,” says Minnaar who farms in the Graaff-Reinet district on the farm Groenvlei.
“I have strong memories as a youngster, sitting at the wool delivery point with my grandfather Abie van Heerden, who was the Managing Director of BSB (now BKB). He would welcome the farmers as they delivered their wool and they would join him for a chat over a cup of coffee.
“I’m very pleased that my son Johnny shares the same passion for Merinos, and he will be taking over our original family farm, Slangfontein, in the Loxton district, which hasn’t seen any other breed but the Merino over the past 200 years. This farm, down the line, will add another 2000 ewes to the Phoenix Merinos’ gene pool.”
Minnaar has two lambings a year: 50% of his flock lambs in April/May and the other 50% in October/November. He mates his ewes at 16 months and achieves up to 130% lambing percentage in a good season. His stud ewes are put onto pasture after they lamb in the veld, while his flock lambs are veld-raised.
The stud ewes remain on the pasture until their lambs are three weeks to one month old. Minnaar irrigates 100ha of irrigated lucerne, which he uses for his livestock and sells it commercially.
He also farms with 100 Tuli type productive cows, and his wife, Lynne Minnaar, raises 300 Friesland calves annually. She has made a successful business of this and sells them as weaners.