greig muir and barry watsonGreig Muir and Barry Watson in the grounds of the Royal Palace, Maseru

Greig Muir and Barry Watson are at risk of ‘believing’ that they are indeed esteemed members of the Monarchy of the Basotho Nation, having just returned from what they describe as an “unbelievable” visit to the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.

Greig tells us that the reception and hospitality shown by their host, His Majesty King Letsie III, was truly ‘out of this world’. (In fact, if rumours are to be believed, one of our intrepid travelers had the distinct honour of bunking in the self same suite that Her Majesty The Queen once occupied.)

Barry writes as follows,”We stayed at the Royal Palace in Maseru, and what a Palace. Everything was embroidered with the Royal Coat Of Arms, even the tea-cups and saucers were sealed with the Royal insignia. And on our departure, when questioned by His Majesty as to whether we enjoyed our stay, the reply was quite simple, “We have been fed and kept like Kings.” His Majesty had a good laugh at that.

The purpose of our visit was to assist His Majesty in converting the waste product produced by his poultry operation, ie. chicken litter, into an active ‘input’, or fertilizer, for his cropping operation. What a way to reduce pollution! For many years now, poultry producers in South Africa have capatilised on the idea of using chicken litter as a supplement in their cropping fertilizer programmes.

Although the idea of taking a waste output from one enterprise for use as a source input for another is not new, with ever escalating agricultural input costs this concept is gaining increased momentum. Dairy farmers are also now factoring in the value of their milking parlour slurry when calculating pasture fertilizer requirements.

Here at Summerhill, we have been following these principles for some time now. For the last fifteen years it has been common practice to put our winter bedding onto our summer pastures. After achieving positive results with this practice, and feeling quite clever about ourselves, we initiated a composting operation. Now this operation has not only helped in reducing our fertilizer bill, but for this year, has in part helped in eliminating it altogether.

So can we do the same for the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho? Well, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, but maybe we can assist in our own small way.”