A bumper year for Agriculture, and the distribution of agricultural limestone

24 January 2018 | Web Article Number: ME20188263

Agriculture & Sugar
Mining & Quarrying

Despite a quiet start to the year and thanks to much needed rain, 2017 turned out to be a record year for the agricultural sector. It also turned out to be a bumper year for agricultural lime distributors like Geysers, who supply agricultural limestone to farmers in this growing sector of the economy.

Geysers is a distribution company which started in 1964 because of people in the community asking where they could get agricultural lime.

Phillip Geyser owned a trading store in Pietermaritzburg at the time, and when he found a constant demand for aglime, he began to source the product from mining companies and supply it to farmers all over KwaZulu Natal. 

Today, Geysers has grown into a family owned and managed distribution company distributing lime, gypsum and fertiliser from producer to farmer, on demand. Warren Geyser owns the company and runs it with his sister, Gaynor Chapman and her husband Mike Chapman with the assistance of agents in the field.

The agents are agronomists who carry out soil samples for farmers and recommend lime or gypsum where required to condition the soil by raising the PH level to neutralize acidity.

In August 2014, the Geyser family and Rossmin sat down to understand the resources available from the Rossmin mining operation and the quality of lime being extracted in Ohsabeni, on the south coast of KwaZulu Natal. 

Rossmin was in the process of setting up and working through the requirements of the department of agriculture, as well as forming relationships with prospective customers. As it turned out, Geysers were familiar with the processes required and formed a key relationship with the mining company, ultimately becoming the first purchaser of Rossmin’s limestone. 

Three years later, on the 8th of February 2017, the first order was supplied from Rossmin, via Geysers, to a farmer in Underberg. 

“The season took off after February because of the rain, and thanks to Rossmin being able to supply quickly and effectively, we had an incredible year for farmers, selling a record amount of agricultural lime from Rossmin alone,” said Gaynor Chapman. 

“The farmers have been very happy with the product and we have been impressed with Rossmin’s proactive service and ability to react to sudden demand as well as unpredictable weather patterns.”

Geysers distribute mainly in KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape, from Underberg, Swatberg, Cederville and Matatiele, extending to farmlands half way up Van Reenen’s Pass. 

The pulverised limestone is delivered in loose bulk with 34 ton tippers, mainly to dairy, wheat, maize and sugar farmers who plough it directly into the land. Rossmin also supplies individual bags, which Geysers distribute to nut, avocado and banana farmers who generally require the product separated for assigning to trees or sections.  

While farming is cyclical, depending on the crop, the biggest push usually happens from July through to September. Because farming is dependent on the weather, it can be challenging for mineral companies like Rossmin to supply when demand suddenly peaks.

“We’ve had a lot of new farmers making contact with us, thanks to Rossmin’s ability to supply lime so quickly,” said Chapman. “Rossmin staff worked day and night to produce and dispatch product and we have been extremely impressed by their service delivery and friendly staff.”

She said they anticipate further growth dealing with Rossmin and look forward to a long relationship into the future.

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