“I’ve always sought out a challenging lifestyle,” says Justin Kingwill, who, at 36 years of age, is the youngest member of Phoenix Merinos.
A former Royal Marine he returned to South Africa in 2005 to take the reigns from his father, Charles Kingwill. Over the past ten years he has proved to be an outstanding, progressive farmer.
“Producing a top wool clip does not happen overnight, it takes generations. My great grandfather, Gray Kingwill, started farming with Merinos and I’ve been fortunate to inherit a very good flock,” says Kingwill.
In 2003 Charles won the National Wool Growers Association (NWGA) award for his wool clip. Eighty years earlier, a news clip in a Port Elizabeth newspaper said the following of Justin’s great grandfather’s wool:
‘The whole clip from the flocks of Mr G.S. Kingwill of Blaauwater was without doubt one of the very best parcels that have reached the local market, reflecting the greatest credit ton the grower, who is to be congratulated.’
Justin Kingwill, in turn, has always wanted to farm with Merinos and he prides himself on carrying forward his family’s legacy.
He lambs in September and he sent his first group of 33 rams to Johann in May 2015, which will be auctioned at the second Phoenix Merinos ram auction in March 2016.
To reduce his loss of lambs from predation, he used profits from the farm to erect nine kilometres of jackal-proof fencing around 2500ha, which he uses for lambing. From 70 – 80% weaning, he is now at 110 – 115%.
“It’s worked so well I can only but encourage other farmers to do the same,” says Kingwill who lambs once a year in September.
He has 35ha of irrigated pastures (permaset and pivot), which he uses for his livestock.
He lambs and rears his singles on the veld but moves his twin lambs and their mothers onto the pasture when the lambs are two to three weeks old. They remain on the pastures until the lambs are weaned at approximately three months old.
After weaning they join the rest of the veld-raised weaners and from this group Kingwill selects 500 hamel lambs, 500 ewe rams and 120 ram lambs, out of which he sends 30 – 40 to Minnaar to be raised with all the Phoenix Merinos rams.
Kingwill also runs 1500 hamels and 200 Bonsmara x Red Angus breeding cows.