Tristan da Cunha Farming
All Tristanians are farmers. Potatoes are the principle crop, grown at The Patches, and cattle and sheep are the main livestock, with numbers controlled to prevent overgrazing.

Potato Crop

Tristan's potato crop is grown in walled fields (left) on the Patches Plain where every family plants, tends and harvests the food which forms the staple part of the Tristan diet and fodder for livestock. Photo right shows Dereck driving a tractor with a full load of main crop potatoes home on a typical late summer Saturday trip on the island's main road covering the 2-3 km from the Patches to the Settlement.

Cattle Herd

The Agricultural Department maintains fences to control grazing, particularly around the Settlement where the land is divided into 'fences' around which the island's milking cows graze in rotation. One fence is the Settlement itself, where cattle roam around the village roads and grass verges, often straying onto lawns where gates are insecure! Another is the 'American' Fence which serves as the school playing field which restricts activities for some time after grazing! Cow ownership is limited to two per household, or one for a single householder. The herd are all crosses, served by a Hereford and a Welsh Black Cross bull. There is a small breeding herd at Stony Beach and The Caves, and about 15 steers at Sandy Point.

Pigs for successful local breeding and rearing for pork used to be imported, but feed is expensive and no pigs are kept presently. Island families keep large quantities of poultry around the Settlement and there are also some 200 ducks and 5 geese, reared for meat. Donkeys (left) grazing by the fenced off Jenny's Bog - only a few are left of a stock that were used to ride to The Patches, but today are limited as they eat valuable grass.