Estancia is located in the northwestern part of Argentina in the
Province of Salta. A front range of the Andes Mountains lies immediately
to the west of the Estancia. Bolivia is to the north, Paraguay to
the east and Chile lies over the Andes to the west. The average
altitude of the property is 750 meters above sea level (2200 feet)
and the highest point is 1000 meters (3300 feet). The entrance to
El Rey National Park, one of Argentina’s most remote and picturesque,
is 15 minutes by car from the Estancia. By anyone’s definition,
Estancia Buenaventura is located in a region of spectacular natural
The nearest city
of any size is the City of Salta (500,000 inhabitants) about 2
1/2 hours away by car. The little town of Las Lajitas is home
to nearly 5000 people and is 50 kilometers away by road; the Tropic
of Capricorn is 150 kilometers to the north which means that the
Estancia is located in the Southern Hemisphere about where Cuba
is found north of the Equator.
itself is shaped more or less like an irregular figure eight.
There is a part which is particularly well suited for agriculture
by virtue of its flat relief and deep loamy soils and there is
a part which is better suited for cattle ranching because of its
gently rolling contours and its potential for growing sub-tropical
grasses. The two parts are separated by a range of hills that
rise up to the highest point in the Estancia. This range of hills
is in turn split by a gorge, in places nearly 30 meters (100 feet)
deep, called the Zanja de Matorras, (“zanja” means “gorge”
in Spanish). The gorge provides a natural water run-off corridor
for the sub-tropical rains that fall in summertime. The agricultural
part is about 3000 hectares in size (7500 acres) and the ranching
part is about 2000 hectares in size (5000 acres). The balance
of the 8000 hectares is taken up by the range of hills. In general,
the Estancia is quite isolated from other farming or ranching
operations. (The nearest place where electricity is available
is more than 30 kilometers away!). The agricultural portion is
surrounded on three sides by the hills within the Estancia that
serve as a barrier many kilometers wide. The fourth side is bordered
by an all-weather dirt road and neighbors are distant.
Nearly 1000 millimeters
(40 inches) of rain fall on the Estancia each year. All of this
rainfall comes during the growing season between October and May.
Then, the dry season begins in June and no rain falls until the
middle of October. Because the Estancia is so close to the tropics,
the rainfall is torrential and we have constructed a complex series
of terraces, dams and canals to control and store the water run-off.
The temperature in the spring and summer is extremely hot –
sometimes exceeding 40 degrees Celsius during the day. But the altitude
of the farm and its proximity to the Andes insure temperate nights.
The rainfall, the rich soils and the hot sun make it a paradise
for growing crops.
We plant our summer
crops in November, December and January. The harvest takes place
in May and June. Our winter crops are planted in June. Our fields
of up to 125 hectares (300 acres) each are much larger than is
common in the Northern Hemisphere but our operation is quite industrialized
and we use large machinery to efficiently plant, cultivate and
harvest the crops.