The Tristan da Cunha

Latest Farming News Archive 2006 - 2013

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Sheep Shearing Day 2013 on Saturday 14th December
through images from Dawn Repetto, Tina Glass and Carl Lander

Convoy on the Patches Road

Scene looking towards Inaccessible Island

Lynette Green with Kelly Swain behind

Callum Green and Tristan Glass
Grant and Raymond Green
Andrew Green

Photo Portfolio 1
from Dawn Repetto

Eugene Repetto

Wayne Swain

Amber Repetto and Ethan Green

Distinctive painted markings!

Fleeces of wool

Portfolio 2 from Tina Glass
Chantelle, Katie and Maya
Jimmy shearing
Clive shearing with Vera looking on
Portfolio 3 from Carl Lander
Thumbs up for Cedric
Eugene and Cedric
James marking
Mr Carl
Marked lambs
Gillian, Barbara and Nancy

Signs of 2013 Spring
Report and images from Carl Lander
After high seas and strong winds visitors and islanders alike were treated to a little sunshine and blue skies.
The first Rockhoppers appeared on Runaway Beach, the Onion grass flowers have bloomed
and marking of the new born lambs is well underway. It looks like spring has finally sprung on Tristan?


Carl's photos show:
Above Left: His daughter Maya with one of the first-born lambs
she is looking after for Carlene, Grant and Justin Green.
Above Centre and right: A Rockhopper Penguin making an appearance
on Runaway Beach (right with Carl observing)
Above Right; Onion grass flowers appear on the Settlement Plain.


Load of Bull
Pictures from Tina Glass and report from Neil Swain

Photographs taken on 26th March 2013 show MV Edinburgh and the new Aberdeen Angus bull weighing up the opposition. Looks as though, reading Neil's report below the South African import will have the field to himself next year (if he's up to it).

The latest addition to Tristan's cattle stock arrived aboard MV Edinburgh on 26th March 2013. The black Aberdeen Angus bull arrived from the Western Cape and was purchased from Klasie Loubser whose Holvlei Farm is in the Vredenburg district. The bull will be adapted to Tristan environment and grazing conditions in 2013 and will be put to work from January 2014.

The plan is to slaughter two old bulls (a black Aberdeen Angus and a Hereford which came in 2006) later in 2013 but retain two locally bred bulls as an insurance in case the new arrival proves to be a poor breeder.

2012 Sheep Shearing Day was held on Saturday 15th December

Photos from Dawn Repetto
show scenes during the annual event when almost everybody takes part (or watches)
the sheep shearing




Images from James Glass showing children catching lambs
Centre photo shows left to right: Callum, Tristan, Kieran, Jamie, and Ryan

Agriculture Adviser views Tristan's farmland

Agricultural Adviser Sam Kent arrived from UK aboard MV Edinburgh on 9th November. We hope that Sam will contribute an article for the Tristan da Cunha Newsletter.

Chief Islander Ian Lavarello took this photograph of Sam at the summit of the 1961 lava flow with the Tristan Settlement behind.

All Tristan islanders are farmers, owning stock grazed on communal pastures and growing their own crops, principally potatoes.

Sheep Shearing Day
held on
Saturday 17th December 2011

Pictures from Iris Green

Further pictures of the 2011
Sheep Shearing Day from
Sean Burns

showing young men in training:
Left: Jamie and Kieran
Right: Jamie, Kieran and Tristan

Christmas Orphans

A day old donkey abandoned by its mother will be hand reared by various islanders (and available for photos during the next tourist season).  As all the remaining donkeys on Tristan have been spayed, this will be the last ever donkey to be born here (its a Jill!).
Then, the following day ~
a calf, a few days old, also abandoned by its mother and being hand reared by its owners.

Photo from David Morley
taken on 21st December 2009
with Neil Swain unloading the donkey
from a Land Rover
Photo taken on 22nd December
by David Morley
of the calf
now being hand-reared

Sheep Shearing Day 2009
was held on the Patches Plain
on Saturday 12th December

Photos sent by
Jeremy Peychaud (top)
and David Morley (below)





The Dorper Effect ?
Administrator David Morley was enjoying a walk out west on 14th November 2009
when he took these images of unusually marked sheep,
inevitably arising from the introduction of Dorper stock from South Africa earlier in the year perhaps.
Watch this space for further Dorper crosses.

Tristan Potatoes exported to St Helena

The idea of sending potatoes to St Helena arose following an email exchange between Ernie Manley, Head of the Governor's Office, and Tristan Administrator David Morley during which Ernie mentioned there was a shortage on the island.
David in turn mentioned this to James Glass, Head of Natural Resources Department, who suggested sending some potatoes on the Professor Molchanov, due on Sunday.  5th April, and then en route to St Helena. James tasked Nicky Swain to organise this, and an order was placed through Tracey Corker on St Helena.
As there is no large scale organised retailing of local produce on Tristan, it was decided to ask the pensioners if they would like to involve themselves.  This would give them the opportunity to make some money with which to supplement their pensions. 
Everyone here has plenty of potatoes as the harvest has been especially good this year.  On average each pensioner household contributed 34kg, making a total of 2 tonnes, which were sacked and loaded onto the cruise ship on sunday 5th April as planned. In addition to the potatoes, mainly the White Blossom variety, some islanders will as usual be sending gifts of potatoes to their friends on St Helena.  The community is very grateful to the Molchanov's commander and crew in facilitating this trade, as there are no scheduled shipping links between the islands.
David Morley hopes this can become a regular event.

Sheep Arrivals
Photograph from David Morley shows five new Dorper rams and two ewes which arrived aboard MV Kelso on 26th February 2009 and are in quarantine for a fortnight before being assigned to duties!

The black headed Dorper breed is an interesting cross between the Dorset Horn
breed and black headed Persian sheep, developed in the 1930s in South Africa.
The hornless sheep are regarded as very fertile and adaptable to sparse grazing conditions, but giving good mutton, so we hope the new Dorper strain
further improves the famed Tristan stuffed roast mutton specialty.

Visiting Vet
Vet Stephen Cannon (whose trip is funded by DfID) is spending several weeks on Tristan working closely with island vet Dereck Rogers.  Steve, whose practice is based at Chipping Norton in the Cotswolds, has been a regular visitor to St Helena since 1989, but this is his first visit to Tristan.
The broad purpose of Steve's visit is to deliver training and support to Dereck.  In so doing Steve, who is a livestock expert, is involving himself in the busy and varied day to day work of the Natural Resources and Agriculture Department.  Steve is taking a close look at all livestock health-related issues as well as animal management and the condition of the island's grazing.  Steve has already given the island sheepdogs an MOT. 
Steve's experience and advice will prove invaluable to the Tristan Government and the wider community.  We hope this will be the first of a series of regular visits in the years ahead. It is understood this is the first visit of a vet to Tristan since 1982.
Photo of Steve Cannon from Cynthia Green

Nelson ashore

Administrator David Morley took this picture of Nelson, a pedigree Labrador pup just arrived via the Kelso from a kennel in Somerset West on 30th November.
He was seven weeks old in this early December photo, and is reported to be an utter little monster. 
So the challenge for David is to train Nelson to become sheepdog by sheep-shearing day (2008?). Hence the picture's publication on the Farming News Page.

Watch this space!

May Day Arrivals

The Agriculture Department imported 2 new bulls on the Edinburgh sailing which unloaded on Monday 1 May.  Picture shows the Aberdeen Angus and the Hereford emerging from the crates in which they spent 10 days aboard. 

MV Edinburgh arrived from Cape Town on Friday 28 April, but sea and weather conditions prevented anyone getting off for three days!

Easter Chicks

A Photograph from Mike Hentley showing an assorted brood of 11 Tristan chicks on 29th March 2006. Most families keep hens, to supply their own eggs and occasional meat.

Whose pigs are these?

A March 2006 picture of a Tristan Landrace sow with ten two-week old piglets. A draw is to be held, with lucky island families whose names are drawn out of a hat can buy them, feed them and produce their own pork chops, perhaps for Christmas Barbecues in 2006.

The boar is a Large White. One of the gilts in the litter is being kept for breeding as Tristan will not import from South Africa whilst there is a swine fever problem. The old sow had become infertile and is now pork chops. So the Grand Tristan Piglet Lottery (drawn on 27th March) was down to 9 lucky tickets.

Summer Arrival
Pictured in early February 2006 understands this latest arrival increases the donkey population by 50%, but the editor doesn't want to make an ass of himself without official confirmation!
Lovely though this image seems, with the new arrival enjoying summer grass above the Potato Patches, grazing for cattle and sheep is scarce in winter and stock are often lost, so donkey numbers have been drastically reduced. Contributions to the 'donkey debate' (including any images, especially of Tristan 'Donkey Derbies') to please.

Sheep Shearing Day report from Administrator Mike Hentley - see also Sheep and Woollens Page for related information.
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