A FARMER AT HEART
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).¡