A FARMER AT HEART

The Poultry Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - By Jac­ques Claassen

When Al­wyn Krull (now 46) started work­ing for Pa­mure in 1989 with the in­ten­tion of sav­ing enough money to study law at Rhodes Univer­sity in Gra­ham­stown, he had no idea that he would be­come a farmer.

In­stead of re­sign­ing af­ter he had worked for Pa­mure a while and had saved enough money to study at Rhodes, Al­wyn was re­quested to stay on - and his life took a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion when he ac­cepted a salary in­crease. Al­though he grew up on a farm, he wanted to be­come a lawyer af­ter he had ma­tric­u­lated from Hud­son Park High School in East Lon­don and af­ter com­plet­ing his two years na­tional ser­vice.

Even­tu­ally he worked for Pa­mure, which later be­came Bonny Birds and then Rain­bow Chick­ens, from 1989 to 1996. This gave him the op­por­tu­nity to study for a man­age­ment diploma, to gain prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence with re­gard to ven­ti­la­tion in poul­try houses in At­lanta in the USA, and also to gain some ex­pe­ri­ence in Europe. Dur­ing this time, he also farmed cat­tle on the fam­ily farm.

Hav­ing be­come bored af­ter seven years work­ing for a com­pany and the cor­po­rate en­vi­ron­ment, he de­cided to form his own en­ter­prise. He bought some land in the Kwel­era area out­side East Lon­don where he started farm­ing broil­ers, lay­ers, beef and Khoi fish.

To­day, Al­wyn’s brothers - Leon and Sean - farm with him, and Sun­rise Poul­try Farms com­prises three farms. Al­wyn dis­con­tin­ued his broiler op­er­a­tions, but he ex­panded his egg pro­duc­tion

from farm­ing only 300 lay­ers to reach a cur­rent level of 250,000. How­ever, he would like to ex­pand his op­er­a­tions to a flock of 600,000 birds.

He di­ver­si­fied his farm­ing op­er­a­tions with a herd of 500 Brah­man and Bran­gus cat­tle as well as Khoi fish pro­duc­tion by us­ing Ja­panese blood lines. Apart from farm­ing, he is also in­volved in prop­erty de­vel­op­ments, in­clud­ing town­houses and com­mer­cial ware­houses, which he rents out.

“We farm Hyline birds and achieve an av­er­age pro­duc­tion of 93%. We dis­trib­ute our eggs through­out the en­tire East­ern Cape. Hav­ing es­tab­lished good mar­kets among re­tail­ers, B&BS, govern­ment de­part­ments and the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, we fetch good prices. We also pro­duce free-range eggs. In fact, we’re plan­ning to con­struct a sep­a­rate pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity for free range eggs which will meet Euro­pean Union (EU) stan­dards,” says Al­wyn. “We’ll make use of the Ger­man com­pany Big Dutch­man’s tech­nol­ogy. For Phase 1 we plan to con­struct a fa­cil­ity with a hous­ing ca­pac­ity of 36,000 birds, which will be dou­bled dur­ing Phase 2. More­over, we are look­ing at ven­tur­ing to Cape Town, where we would like to buy an­other pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity.”

Al­wyn points out that he fol­lows quite an au­to­mated farm­ing sys­tem. He ac­com­mo­dates his flock in 15 en­vi­ron­men­tally con­trolled poul­try houses. In his cat­tle farm­ing op­er­a­tions he also mech­a­nised cer­tain tasks, such as dip­ping the herd.

“Ev­ery­thing is de­signed to be as ef­fec­tive as pos­si­ble,” he says.

On the layer side he em­ploys 19 peo­ple, with Sun­rise Poul­try Farms em­ploy­ing 35 peo­ple in to­tal.

His goal for the fu­ture is to teach small-scale farm­ers who are pas­sion­ate about agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion, but do not have the fi­nan­cial means, how to farm ef­fec­tively on a com­mer­cial scale.

“For the last ten years I’ve been in­volved in such men­tor­ing pro­grammes and projects,” he says, adding that he also ren­ders sup­port to un­der­priv­iledged learn­ers. From time to time they or­gan­ise tours for schools to Sun­rise Poul­try Farms.

Al­wyn is mar­ried to Rachel and they have a daugh­ter, Sarah (5).¡

Sean,sean,al­lanal­lanan­dan­dal­wynal­wynkrull Krull

Pack­ing shed

Chicken house

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