Christopher Sparks can be counted as one of the top cattle stud producers in South Africa after having claimed two prestigious national titles last year.
Sparks grew up riding and hunting on the rolling hills surrounding Swinburne. His family owned most of this farmland, as well as the village itself, until his grandmother sold it off following her husband’s death.
In the late 1990’s, Sparks bought back his first plot of this land, a 1,8ha smallholding called Mount Olive Stables, where he kept his beloved Arabian horses.
Over the years he gradually acquired additional pieces of the farmland, and today has reclaimed much of the farm that once belonged to his family. An architect by trade, he runs his firm from an office he has established in the town.
His cattle component consists of the Mount Olive Brangus Stud and a Nguni conservation breeding and weaner production operation utilising stud-quality cows. In addition, he has his Mount Olive Arabian Stud and has recently purchased a herd of Xhosa Lob Ear indigenous veld goats.
As an architect, Sparks adopts both a scientific and creative approach to business. This is evident in his approach to cattle farming, which combines the application of science-based tools with the artistry inherent in a stud breeder trying to breed a beautiful animal.
As an interesting example of this, he breeds for ears. The large ears on the Brangus calves, he explains, are a sign of their Brahman ancestry and an indication of the presence of certain desired breed attributes such as temperament and mothering ability.
Click on the following link to read more about Christophers success: www.farmersweekly.co.za