Game keeps the Crous brothers on track

They grew up on a farm and, according to them, it is a huge privilege to run a joint farming operation.  They add that their father Viljee and mother Wilma taught them everything they know - they learnt from their parents' example.  The wagon wheel at the entrance to the farm Wilgerboom speaks of hard work - which is what they do.

First auction in February

Their first game auction, which will be held at Sun City on 25 February, is a huge step for the Crous brothers.  They have been preparing for this auction for the past three years. 740 head of game will be auctioned, which include sable antelope, buffalo and lion, to mention but a few of the large number of species.  This auction is regarded as a highlight in their farming career.  Although the auction will be their first, they have been involved in Kroonstud in Kroonstad for a number of years.  But how did they manage to become so successful?

Their motto

Their motto is "to live their dream". This is also what drives them.  One of the dreams which came true for them was to establish the game farming operations.  They realised at the outset that they would be facing many challenges, but they overcame the challenges and became champions in the game industry.

Game Breeders of the Year

The auction in 2016 follows on another first important title.  Due to their successes they are the currently WRSE (Game Breeders of the Year) champions - a title they won in 2015.  They are very proud of this title and accepted it with humbleness.  "It is an acknowledged organisation. We are privileged to have won the title, since the WRSE is a large and well-known organisation", Riaan said.  David added that it really means something - namely that they are doing something right.  However, they still did not not expect it and it remains an honour and an outstanding feat, according to Kobus.

From cattle to game

The threesome are still perfecting their dream.  "Our objective was to phase out our cattle farming operations and we are very close to finalising this objective". We moved from a 100% cattle component to a 90% game component and a 10% cattle component over the past 14 years.  "We didn't want to do too much too soon.  It was something new for us which we had to implement gradually. Everything was purchased with money from our farming operations, which means that there is no borrowed capital involved.  Management is of the utmost importance and we added one new specie every year".  In other words, they diversified their game farming operations as well in order to mitigate risks.  Their approach is very conservative and they encourage and deter one another where necessary.

Crop farming and potatoes

Their crop farming expanded as they could manage it and they work on a fallow land system. They plant approximately 1 000 hectares per year.  In addition they also plant potatoes on dry land.

Gradual expansion

90% of their lands have been fenced in and managers were appointed approximately five years ago with a view to expanding the game operations.

Working together

Every part of the farming operations receives the necessary attention and they support one another in all aspects.  Kobus and David focus on crop farming and Riaan focuses on cattle.  David and Riaan focus on game and Kobus on the potatoes and maize. Each one has his own farm - Kobus farms on Grootkuil, David on Wilgerboom and Riaan on Geduldfontein.  They also have an older brother Maans, who farms on his farm Welgelegen.

Fifth generation

The three brothers are fifth generation farmers.  Kobus has been married to Janetta for 21 years, Riaan has been married to Marié for 15 years and David married Frané 13 years ago.  The three brothers are setting up a structure for their children and the three of them already have seven potential sixth generation farmers, namely Wilmari and Adriaan, David and Ané and Sarina, Viljee and Wilma. 


Senwes obviously plays a huge role in their farming operations.  They are all Senwes clients and do their purchases from Senwes.  They make special mention of the good service they receive from Louis Lingenfelder and the fact that the company is so involved in the community.

Senwes Future Focus Day

The Crous brothers are of the opinion that events such as the Senwes Future Focus Day in 2015, where the focus was on game farming, will become very prominent.  As soon as something such as game farming starts growing, it becomes necessary to exchange information.  It is important to have opportunities where questions can be asked. It is important, however, to prioritise between information day, game days, etcetera. "If you do your own thing you inevitably have to pay school fees at some or other point".

Drought and game

The past winter was somewhat easier for the Crous brothers in the sense that it is much cheaper to feed antelope than cattle.  However, with game you will have to plan and plant teff.  Senwes visited the brothers during the drought and although things were going well for them, they are wary about the future. "We may have a different story to tell in eight months' time", David said.  

The effect of the drought is evident in Kroonstad.  David pointed out that nothing had been planted.  The question as to where available teff can be found, remains valid.

The drought will result in many a farmer not being able to continue farming.  Realism is of the utmost importance and the Crous brothers confirm that they will remain positive.

Advice to new game farmers

Firstly, it is never too late to start with game.  Secondly, one doesn't need millions to get started.  They say that it is a misconception that there are cheaper species with the same income potential, which can be started with.

When you start with game it is important to be able to carry the farming operations for five years.  The cost per hectare and the input costs of this type of farming are lower and the income much higher - cattle and sheep just don't compare.  A further advantage is that game theft does not normally occur and it is a niche product.

You have to take chances to achieve success

Sometimes you  have to take chances - which is what the Crous brothers did when they started their garme farming operations in Kroonstad.  Everybody said our animals would die, due to the very cold winters.  However, we make plans and make sure that the condition of the animals sees them through the winter.  The area is also much healthier in the sense that parasites are not a major problem, which is a blessing in disguise.  Although they are riding high at the moment, they remain anchored and they know that everything they achieve is from God. David eloquently summarises: "Things are looking up at the moment but it can change in an instant.  But be assured - the Crous brothers are on track!"