Farming for Tomorrow

Healthier trees, thanks to pest-control partners

Professors Almuth Hammerbacher, Bernard Slippers, Brett Hurley and Chris Weldon of the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute at the University of Pretoria speak about the importance of protecting South Africa’s timber plantations.

Contaminants threatening the health of soil and water

The fouling of fresh water supplies with pollutants emanating from primary agriculture has become a serious issue in South Africa. In this article, the Agricultural Research Council discusses the origins and impact of so-called contaminants of emerging concern.

Tips for making your farm dung beetle-friendly

The beneficial role of insects in agriculture should not be underestimated, and this is equally true of dung beetles. As these fascinating recycling experts go about their daily business of breaking up and distributing dung in nature, they also offer a variety of benefits to the agriculture sector.

Conservation alliances protect natural heritage

In 1984, when Charl van der Merwe purchased Brakfontein in the Northern Cape for sheep production, he could never have guessed that his farm would one day become a key element in the creation of a 240 000ha interprovincial protected area. Wouter Kriel spoke to two people involved in this far-reaching development.

Beware! The locusts are swarming this summer

South Africa looks to be heading for another large-scale brown locust outbreak this season, according to Dr Gerhard Vedoorn of CropLife South Africa and Dr Roger Price of the Agricultural Research Council. They spoke to Glenneis Kriel about the most effective means of combating these swarms.

Preventing and fighting veld fires

Fire protection associations play an integral part in managing fire risk during the dry winter season. Pieter Dempsey spoke to Johann Breytenbach, general manager of the Free State Umbrella Fire Protection Association, about the importance of these organisations and how they can grow their capacity and capability.

Breaking the cycle of child labour in agriculture

Across the world, child labour is practised more in agriculture than in any other sector. This is despite the numerous hazards involved in farm work, including unprotected exposure to chemicals, working with potentially dangerous livestock, and carrying heavy loads over long distances. Moreover, a lack of access to quality education means these children not only suffer in terms of development, but are unlikely to escape the poverty trap. Janine Ryan investigates.

Varied tech solutions required for small-scale farming

The dual nature of South Africa’s agricultural landscape precludes a one-size-fits-all approach to technology solutions. Small-scale farmers have limited budgets and challenges that cannot be solved without taking their distinctive circumstances into account.

Is data the new soil in agri?

With today’s rapidly evolving digital technology, farmers have many options, but at a high cost. Discerning between the hype and the useful is therefore crucial to buying the right tools to increase profit. Digital and technology experts Rudie Raath and Stehan Cloete spoke to Lindi Botha.

The role of farmers during the COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic had brought new appreciation for the pivotal role that South Africa’s agriculture sector plays in the provision of healthy, sufficient and affordable food, according to Derek Mathews, chairperson of Grain SA.

Making agriculture more bee-friendly

With the majority of food crops being pollinated by bees, dwindling colonies pose a threat to agriculture. But while pesticides play a major role in declining bee numbers, monocultures and a lack of biodiversity are the greater problem. Lindi Botha spoke to industry leaders.

Get ready to profit from plant- and insect-based proteins

Across the world, food consumption patterns are undergoing vast changes, necessitating changes in the agricultural landscape. Lindi Botha spoke to Mark Hassenkamp, agri-tech adviser to Blue Horizon Corporation, which holds a portfolio of companies including Red Sun Hortitech, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, about the movement towards plant- and insect-based proteins, and the impact this will have on agriculture.