The Flying Swans supporting emerging citrus farmers in Tzaneen

The Flying Swans are a Dutch initiative to help Dutch corporations succeed in developing markets in Africa. Recently I was commissioned by the The Flying Swans to capture their initiative to support emerging citrus farmers in the Tzaneen area. Their support focuses on emerging farmers meeting the quality criteria for export markets and finding solutions to improve logistics/transportation of the fruit from farm to port, ultimately speeding up the export process of fruit from South Africa to the Rotterdam Port and to maintain a competitive advantage in the fruit market.

My first stop was a citrus farm in the Litsitele area. Meet Ernst Risaba. I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Ernst’s citrus operation in the Litsitele area. Ernst has been farming for a number of years and is dedicated to learning and succeeding as a citrus farmer. “I don’t know everything, but I am trying,” says Ernst.

It was quickly evident that Ernst is a passionate farmer with the intention to get his young orchards/orange crop to a level that he can export. This year is only his second harvest. Ernst has been working closely with a large commercial farmer who has mentored him over the years and helped him to get where he is today. On this shoot, I have learned a lot about citrus, namely that it is not a simple crop to grow! But judging from Ernst’s oranges, I think he’s doing exceptionally well! He generously gave me 4 pockets of oranges for the trip, of which I am still getting through and can say that they are some of the sweetest oranges I’ve had! With all this Covid 19 around, they’ve been the best way for me to keep my Vitamin C levels right up! Thank you Ernst!

I have photographed many successful farmers and visited many farms with my agricultural photography and the two things all good farmers have in common is hard work and a passion for farming! Ernst is no exception. We drive down the roads with rows and rows of well-kept orange orchards…and I know without a shadow of a doubt that Ernst has a very big future!

These photographs have been licenced to the Flying Swans.

CONTACT Lianne should you require agricultural photography with a focus on the farmers and workers. Lianne is available to travel locally and internationally. ENQUIRE HERE to find out more about her photography packages and discounts for longer shoots.

Gallery: Zunckel Soybean harvest in Bergville for Pannar Seed


Tyson Zunckel, Bergville

Farm (3)

Zunckel (15)

Sunset (61)

Sunset (45)

Zunckel (35)

Sunset (81)

Maize (21)

Maize (14)

These images are licenced to Pannar Seed

Lianne provides agricultural and documentary imagery for websites, advertising, training manuals, webinars and imagery for editorial purposes.  If you would like to know more about Lianne’s services, please contact Lianne here with your enquiry or request.

Ellepot root stock for Hayter’s Forestry planting operations in Ixopo

Forestry operations

I’ll be doing a series of shoots for Ellepot in the coming months. I kicked off the series with the Hayter’s/Ixopo contracting planting operations. Sutherland Seedlings supplied them with Ellepot Eucalyptus root stock. It was a perfect day for planting; wet, misty and rainy!

Ellepot is a propagation system with patented machines, customized trays and environmentally friendly paper. Seedlings or root stock are planted into paper pots. It’s worth noting the Eucalyptus root structure in these images; one of the many advantages of using Ellepot in the way of seedling/rootstock propagation.  With Ellepot, there is faster root development and it eliminates transplant shock during planting operations.

During this shoot, I was also able to do some people-centric documentary photography of the Hayter’s planting operation and their staff. Thank you to Lionel Van Rooyan and his team of staff who gave me their time and were happy for me to click away in the background and to capture an  Ellepot ‘planting operation.’

Farm worker

Root stock ready for planting!

Carrying Hydrogel

Forestry operations (1)

Lunch break

Lunch Break!

Planting Ellepots

Ellepot Eucalyptus root stock ready for planting!

Planting Ellepot seedlings (2)

Digging a hole for the Ellepot

Forestry operations in Ixopo

Planting Eucalyptus root stock


Ixopo Contracting

Planting Ellepot seedlings (1)

Ellepot Eucalyptus root stock (1)

Lionel Van Rooyan of Ixopo Contracting/Hayters forestry operation

These images are commissioned by Ellepot.

Lianne provides agricultural imagery for websites, advertising, training manuals, webinars and imagery for editorial purposes.  If you would like to know more about Lianne’s packages and rates, contact Lianne here with your enquiry or request.

Forestry operations; Burning firebreaks

Documentary photography of Craig Macfarlane and the Hayter’s team in Ixopo burning fire breaks.

Women firefighters (2)

Women fire fighers (2)

Forestry operations (8)

Forestry operations (7)

Forestry operations (12)

Women fire fighers (3)

Women firefighters (7)

Women firefighters (8)

Firebreaks (12)

Forestry operations (19)

Firebreaks (14)

Firebreaks (18)

Firebreaks (17)

Fire breaks


Firebreaks (1)

Firebreaks (21)

Lianne provides agricultural imagery for websites, advertising, training manuals, webinars and imagery for editorial purposes.  If you would like to know more about Lianne’s packages and rates, contact Lianne here with your enquiry or request.

Dairy Documentary; A morning documenting farm operations on a dairy farm

I squeezed in one last agricultural shoot the day before lock down in South Africa. One of the things I love most about agricultural photography is that I get to be outdoors, often surrounded by beautiful landscapes and salt of the earth people. I love the documentary aspect of it too, the action especially! A wide-eyed cow leaping out of the dip tank, the hoof kicks of a calf as it bolts for freedom, the grit and the dust and the expressions of farmers and farm workers as they work their every day! I love the freedom of this photography and that it requires me to get up at the crack of dawn, with my travel mug of coffee and sitting on the hillside, waiting for the perfect moment as the sun beams light over lush pastures. I love the quiet moments and independence that comes with it.

Ixopo landscape (2)

Ixopo farmlands

Ixopo landscape (3)

Clover Milk country!

Dairy farmer

Ixopo farmer

I’ve posted about Loch Buighe farm and Craigieburn farm in Ixopo many times before. I am documenting a years’s worth of farm operations and landscapes. On this day, I got to capture and shadow Craig Macfarlane and farm manager, Denton Knight. Though most farmers hate the thought of being photographed, these 2 did pretty well and as I had hoped, were fully focused on the farm operations while I clicked away in the background. The only time I felt they were acutely aware of me being there, with my camera, was when they needed to open an electric fence. I had assumed that by now an electric shock on a dairy farm would be old news, but apparently not! I could see the apprehension and cautious approach as they moved in on the fence, knowing full well that my camera zoom was focused and ready for action!

Electric fencing

Relief captured right here!

On this day, Craig was establishing rye grass for the Winter dairy season. Below are the images of the seed being mixed with fertiliser.

Mixing seed

Planning the day’s plant program

Establishing rye grass for the winter season

To finish off a busy morning of farm photography, I went with Craig and Denton to photograph the heifers being dipped for red water. Red water (a potentially fatal tick-borne disease) has been particularly bad this year. Some say it’s because of the mild winter we experienced last year with very few frosts.

Finishing up!

Washing hands!

Lianne provides agricultural imagery for websites, advertising, training manuals, webinars and imagery for editorial purposes.  If you would like to know more about Lianne’s packages and rates, contact Lianne here with your enquiry or request.


Unless otherwise stipulated and so credited, all material on this site is the work of Lianne Ashton and is ©Lianne Ashton Photography. Unauthorised use/and or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Lianne Ashton is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved. 

A Pannar shoot in Parys with 4 brothers!

A couple weeks ago, I went to the likes of Parys, Nigel and Delmas in South Africa, some areas I have not been to before. This shoot was for Pannar Seed and Corteva Agriscience. The 3 day shoot kicked off with the Van der Westhuizen brothers in Parys! They farm maize, soya’s and sunflowers! Are are a few from the album!

Brothers (9)

Sunflower crop (23)

Maize crop (3)

Parys farm landscape (4)-3

Sunflowers (5)

*These images are licenced to Pannar Seed and Corteva Agriscience.

Lianne provides agricultural imagery for websites, advertising, training manuals, webinars and imagery for editorial purposes.  If you would like to know more about Lianne’s packages and rates, contact Lianne here with your enquiry or request.


The Pannar Delmas Extravaganza!

Last week I got to go to some places in South Africa that I have never been to before! I went on tour to the likes of Parys, Nigel and Delmas for Pannar Seed where I photographed sunflowers, maize and soya crops. I also got to experience my first Pannar Extravaganza show! Every year, Pannar host a number of shows around the country where their experts give the local farmers and students ‘talks’ and advice on the various crops as well as their new seed varieties. This highly informative and popular agriculture show also includes Demo plots, showcasing all Pannar’s maize and soya varieties. Here are a few images of the 2020 Delmas Extravaganza!

2020 Delmas Extravaganza (3)

Pannar Seed (6)

Klaas Van Wyk (2)

2020 Delmas Extravaganza (15)

Delmas Extravaganza (16)

Pannar Seed (1)

Delmas Extravaganza (30)

Delmas Extravaganza (9)

These images are commissioned by Pannar Seed.

Lianne provides agricultural imagery for websites, advertising, training manuals, webinars and imagery for editorial purposes.  If you would like to know more about Lianne’s packages and rates, contact Lianne here with your enquiry or request.

Photography of Rice cultivation in Senegal

I got another fantastic opportunity with AgDevCo this December and went right across to Senegal to photograph one of their company partners, CNT S.U.A.R.L. CNT are an agricultural company that specialise in farming rice. They operate 7000 hectares of rice in the Senegal Valley region. 6000 of these hectares are operated by the local smallholder farmers who have partnered with CNT.

Senegal Rice harvest (2)

CNT smallholder farmers harvesting rice in the Senegal Valley region

Fatou, Algui, Khoury (2)

Senegalese women

This project is located in Thiagar, near Rosso and the border of Mauritania. The farmers operate just inland from the Senegal River, using a network of canals to irrigate their rice plots. Due to the existence of a large irrigation dam (Barrage de Diama) and the use of canals for irrigation, farmers are encouraged to take advantage of this by planting 2 crops a year.

I was there during their dry season in December just before harvesting was due to begin. I spent 2 insightful days with CNT and their farmers. Not only did I thoroughly enjoying working with the Senegalese people but I found it a fascinating region in the way of agriculture and culture. At first sight, it’s hard to imagine how they achieve what they do. But thankfully, with a good supply of water from the Senegal River and with the support and assistance offered by CNT, these farmers have succeeded in creating a robust and dynamic rice sector.

CNT was founded in 1987 by Mr Ibrahima Sall. The project started small, as a 5 hectare plot. Then in 1989, CNT expanded their project to 40 hectares of rice and worked with the refugees in the region. It’s gone from strength to strength and has uplifted the community and given the smallholder farmers who were not eligible for funding, access to funding and a sustainable opportunity to cultivate rice commercially.

Harvesting rice in Senegal (4)

Meeting with extension officer

Early morning training session with traditional mint tea!

CNT offer their members support and assistance in a number of ways from growing through to harvesting, processing and marketing. Last year, AgDevCo’s Smallholder Development Unit (SDU) partnered with CNT, to help them achieve an increase in their production capacity. AgDevCo provide technical assistance in the way of training in seed production techniques, IT software support that will assist CNT’s planning and management for their intended expansion and the initiation of Demo plots.

Sadly I missed the main harvesting season when an impressive 8 combine harvesters belonging to CNT fire up their engines and harvest 8000 smallholder plots of rice! Though I missed this action, I did manage to capture the initial harvesting by hand that starts in the run up to the harvesting start date. My shooting conditions when on these shoots are often a challenge in that they can happen in the middle of the day, which I can assure you is very bright especially with Senegal’s white, sandy soils. I was lucky to have Cherif Diallo as my interpreter and who turned out to be a great lighting assistant too! On these shoots, it is as much about the ‘people’ I meet and connect with as it is about the photography. To get those ‘uplifting shots,’ I need to connect with the people I am photographing on some level. The fact that my French and Wolof is too terrible for words (!) this made Cherif a very important factor with regards to the success of this shoot in the way of communication! Cherif is an Economics masters student at the University of St-Louis. He is originally from the Republic of Guinea but has lived most of his life in Senegal. Cherif was easy to work with and went out of his way to help me with my lighting challenges and has an excellent command of English, French and the local language ‘Wolof.’ It was interesting to work with Cherif as he provided me with a wealth of information about Senegal’s history, culture and geography. Though I was in Senegal for a mere 5 days, thanks to Cherif I feel I got to know so much more about Senegal than I would normally on such a short visit. As well as an interpreter and a lighting assistant, it was like having my own personal tourist guide! A real win for me!  So this is a big shout out to Cherif! I can highly recommend him as an interpreter and I see him having a very bright future in Senegal!

Chasing birds from rice crop (1)

Keeping the birds away from the rice crop!

Smallholder farmer in Senegal

CNT farmer

Although our time was short in Senegal, this visit has really sparked an interest for me in West Africa. I really had no idea what to expect! The west of Africa seems so far away from us in these Southern parts of Africa. Though short and sweet, it was such an incredible opportunity for me to go there with AgDevCo.  The history is fascinating, the fabrics and people are so colourful and they have a beautiful culture of hospitality. Their agriculture is fascinating especially with their climatic challenges. To do what they do is admirable. It’s definitely somewhere I would like to go back to and to get know. I just need to work on my French!

Senegalese woman farmer

Senegalese woman farmer

* All images are licenced to AgDevCo

NGO Photography; Harry Gwala Agri mentorship program for smallholder farmers

I’ve been doing a number of shoots for Harry Gwala Agri recently.  Harry Gwala Agri is an NGO that coordinates mentorship programs and training for smallholder farmers and agriculture TVET students with the help of local commercial farmers in the area.  This particular shoot was just down the road from me in a spectacular valley that is dotted with giant aloes in full bloom. It’s really quite beautiful at this time of year.

I met smallholder farmer Ghela Mngoma. Gehla has a few hectres of cabbages, tomatoes and pumpkins. His farm is situated alongside a river, giving him access to plenty of water and a successful irrigation scheme. It looks like he’s going to have a bumper cabbage crop this year!

Over the years Gehla has been mentored by Beesie Stone, a long time commercial farmer in the Ixopo district. Everyone knows Beesie here! Beesie is a perfectionist when it comes to farm operations. He’s been farming for over 40 years and has recently retired. He has dedicated much of his time to mentoring Gehla, helping him to get where he is now and paving the way for a future in farming for him and his family.

These images are of Ghela himself and his cabbage crop which should be ready for harvest in the next few weeks. Shortly after I started the shoot, Ghela’s family arrived. It was a particularly colourful shoot with the aloes in the back ground, blue skies, big smiles and pumpkins! I’m looking forward to capturing the harvest in a few weeks time and following this family’s future in agriculture.

Smallholder farmer in Ixopo

Harry Gwala Agri Mentorship program for smallholder farmers

Harry Gwala Agri Mentorship program for smallholder farmers

Tomato harvest

Harry Gwala Agri

Harry Gwala Agri Mentorship program for smallholder farmers

Lianne has a special interest in smallholder farmers and has done work for the likes of AgDevCo and Backsaver Farm Equipment. She has a good rapport with the farmers she is photographing and is able to make them feel comfortable and relaxed while being photographed. Her work includes both documentary and directed shoots. Lianne has photographed smallholder farmers in a number of Southern African countries and is available to travel.


Harry Gwala Agri mentorship program for agriculture TVET student with Carisbrooke Valley Citrus

Another album for Harry Gwala Agri! This time it was of agriculture TVET student Tumeka Sapo who has been getting work experience at the Carisbrooke Valley Citrus packhouse.

Student at Carisbrook Packhouse

Student at Carisbrook Packhouse

Student at Carisbrook Packhouse

Student at Carisbrook Packhouse

Student at Carisbrook Packhouse

Student at Carisbrook Packhouse

Student at Carisbrook Packhouse

Student at Carisbrook Packhouse

Student at Carisbrook Packhouse

Student at Carisbrook Packhouse

If you require photography of your agriculture operations or programs, please use the contact form below to make your enquiry.

I have photographed a number of agricultural operations around Africa, including feedlots and cattle operations, groundnuts, paprika and soya crops, Macadamia Orchards and processing plants, Dairy, maize and potatoes, training/mentorship programs and product photography. These shoots have been of both Large Commercial operators and of Smallholder Farmer operations. I am available to travel.