The Elandsriver Mountain range forms a unique back ground for the farm Bo-Radyn. Although about 210 hectares are planted with Apple, Pear and Nadorcott trees which is mainly harvested for the export market, some 500 hectares are unplanted areas.
The bigger portion of this is mostly mountainous area with a huge variety of fynbos like Protea Laurifolia, Leucospernum, Protea Montana, Protea Repens, various Leucadendron, Ericaceae and Mimetes as found in the typical Cape Floral Kingdom areas. On a private camp site at the foot of the mountains a permanent supervisor, Eddy Shelton, is at work in the fynbos areas. He takes the initiative to spread various seeds and protect certain scarce species along the slopes of the mountains. It certainly is worth while to go on one of the walking trails with him.
The long blossom span of the various Eucalyptus and Pine trees provide a stable supply of food for about 200 bee hives permanently kept on stands on the farm. These hives are in turn used for the pollination of the fruit trees. A professional bee keeper, Julius Herfurth, is part of the production team on the farm and all activities like spraying of orchards will be done in collaboration with his knowledgable input to create such an environment that would be most beneficial for all inhabitants.
The rocks and trees of the mountain form the ideal breeding place for Speckled Pigeons, Black Chested Snake Eagles, Verreaux’s Eagles, various owls and smaller bird species like Kestrels.
Cobras, Pofadders and smaller snakes occur but in this small eco system is being controlled by the Honey Badgers and Mongooses. The African elephant’s closest relative – the Rock Dassie – has a small problem in this area: Caracal and Leopard still roam the mountains from time to time as confirmed by The Cape Leopard Trust’s trap cameras. That is possibly the reason why Klipspringers and Grysbok mainly keep to the lower parts of the mountains but the daring Baboons still inhabit the summits.
The production team of Bo-Radyn was quite puzzled the other day when it was discovered that apples went missing from the bottom of certain trees. But what a relief when the nocturnal thief, mr Porcupine, was spotted by the trap cameras.
Periodically the mountains are cleared by workers as they remove especially small wattle trees for private use at home. In cooperation with Nature Conservation further clearing of invasive plants are undertaken. Production units have trained fire personnel and fire equipment to quickly act on any fire warnings. Controlled fires to eliminate the alien vegetation and encourage the regrowth of the fynbos are undertaken in 15 year cycles or in accordance with the occurrence of unplanned fires.
No hunting or fishing is allowed on the farms.
Both the Elandsriver and and the Droogriver winds their way through Bo-Radyn farm. Ample breeding habitat exists on these river banks. Pheasant, Guinea Fowl, White Fronted Geese and assorted ducks can choose between living here or at the irrigation dams on the farms. These areas are treated as buffer zones where no agricultural activities take place.
Good agricultural practices are applied In the production units. This means that physical control and monitoring is done without the use of chemicals first. Only when no other options are available will chemicals be applied. The storage of all harmful products is secure and controlled with keys. The buildings were designed to contain any spillages. Handling of these items is according to international standards.
The soil is enhanced and conserved in a natural way. Mulching and chipping of trees has become a mandatory part of our efforts. The owners and workers realise that the small piece of earth they co-inhabit here will have to be protected and preserved, not only for themselves and the consumers of their products, but the generations to come.