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Evolving Subsistence Farming Into Commercial Farming

Apr 29, 2020Blog0 comments

Small farmers or subsistence farmers own a large share of the livestock in South Africa, but many of them have some trouble becoming more productive and contributing towards the income of their communities. This is through no fault of their own, and with the right training and  livestock handling equipment, these subsistence farmers can become commercial farmers. 

Van Schoor is one of only a few manufacturers who can supply a livestock handling equipment starter pack to such a farmer. This pack includes feeding equipment, water supply equipment, predator control, handling equipment and fencing requirements. This pack can be grown over time as the farmer grows. Below we take a deeper look into how to evolve subsistence farming into commercial farming. 


Access To The Right Equipment


As every farmer knows, having access to the right livestock handling equipment and feeding equipment can make a significant difference to the success of their farm. For subsistence farmers, there might not be easy access to information, which is where companies such as Van Schoor can provide advice on the equipment you require. 

The equipment that subsistence farmers need to evolve into commercial farmers include the following. 


Livestock Handling Equipment


Being able to safely move and control livestock can help to improve the success of any commercial farmer, no matter the type of livestock you are farming. For example, to guide your cattle safely to the necessary stalls, farmers will need a raceway system that is durable and mobile. You will need calf pens to keep calves safely in order to monitor their growth and health, sheep sorting gates for easier sorting, and mating crates for successful mating seasons. 


Livestock Feeding Equipment


Livestock feeding equipment is equally as important as handling equipment when transitioning from subsistence farming to commercial farming. You will need livestock feeding equipment such as self-feeders for various livestock to make the feeding process more efficient, water troughs to keep your livestock hydrated and healthy, as well as bale feeders for supplementary feeding. The right livestock feeding equipment is vital to help the evolution of subsistence farmers to commercial farmers, which is why Van Schoor advise a proper and durable starter pack.




Protecting your farmland and your livestock is vital, whether you have a large property or a small one. Subsistence farmers are often in the more rural areas, meaning that you will need more protection for your land. Security fencing can help you to protect your livestock and deter predators and unsavoury characters. Opt for galvanized steel posts and diamond mesh for a sturdy fence, and one that can take the pressure and movement of livestock. 


The Right Training


In addition to access to the right livestock handling equipment, subsistence farmers need technical support by agricultural experts in feeding, veterinarian services, disease control, improved methods, and so forth, provided by various agricultural organisations. Last but not least, in order to become a commercial farmer, you will need mentoring from successful commercial farmers.  

Below is just some of the training that can help to transform subsistence farmers into commercial farmers. 


Animal Production


Because many subsistence farmers farm livestock, it is important to have training in animal production. This training will focus on cattle, sheep, pigs, and sometimes goats, helping you to understand how to run an animal production business effectively. You will learn how to keep records correctly, how to purchase, store, and control vaccines, how to care for animals, and how to manage feeding and handling them. This will help you to become a more proficient commercial farmer. 


Practical Training


Other than being able to look after and farm animals, subsistence farmers often need practical training, such as learning how to use and set up livestock handling equipment. The training will also include financial management for those who need it, security fencing set up tips, life-skills improvement courses, as well as project management to help streamline the processes of your farm. This training can provide a solid foundation for transitioning from subsistence farming to commercial farming. 


Make The Change


Successfully changing from subsistence farming to commercial farming might sound impossible but with some training and the right livestock handling equipment, it can be achieved. A starter pack including livestock handling equipment, livestock feeding equipment, and security fencing will help to ensure you have the right foundation for your farm. Combined with the right training, you will soon find yourself reaching commercial farming levels. 

If you would like professional-grade livestock handling equipment or security fencing for your farm, speak to Van Schoor Gate today to find out what we can offer you.