A LOCAL sheep farmer has been unofficially dubbed the world’s greatest authority on managing Sericea lespedeza, or poor man’s lucerne. ???Hendrik from Cedarville in KwaZulu-Natal recently returned from a trip to the US where he shared his Sericea lespedeza management experiences with farmers and scientists alike.
Botha spent nine days on a lecture tour of Auburn University in Alabama, Louisiana State University and Fort Valley University in Georgia. He was hosted by Dr Tom Terrill, an agricultural research professional at Louisiana State University who has worked closely with Botha on managing Sericea lespedeza in SA. It was Dr Terrill who introduced to the US as a possible world leader in managing Sericea lespedeza.
“I was also invited to report on trials that I and South African scientists were conducting with this pasture,” Botha told Farmer’s Weekly. ”I also had long discussions with Professor Jorge Mosjidis of Auburn University, who developed the AU Lotan, AU Grazer and AU Donally varieties of Sericea lespedeza, and I visited the Simms Brothers company that has the patent rights to AU Grazer in the US.”
Botha believes that on his tour he was able to give US farmers and scientists practical information on how to use Sericea lespedeza to provide cheaper but effective grazing and hay for livestock.also shared his experiences of using this pasture as a valuable facet of his farm’s worm parasite management programme.
Reports from the US have indicated that Botha’s presentations were a resounding success. “It’s not often that farmers hear recommendations from someone who they can see is literally putting his farm on the line by adopting a new practice,” said Professor Mosjidis, in an article published by Fort Valley University following Botha’s visit. “It adds significant weight to their appraisal of Sericea’s potential benefits to their own operations.” – Lloyd Phillips
The Grassland Society of Southern Africa recently held its first symposium on rehabilitating grasslands at Bishopstowe outside Pietermaritzburg. Organiser Justin du Toit, a science lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s School of Biological and Conservation Sciences, said he was pleased with the turnout of almost 100 people.
“There’s a huge interest in rehabilitation ecology in South Africa and it’s really gaining momentum and becoming increasingly important as the world’s environment changes,” he said. “There’s definitely a need for a forum like this where scientists, students, landowners and landscape designers can come together and debate new ideas.” – Robyn Joubert
Cape agri shows won’t clash
Agri Mega announced that it won’t host an agricultural expo at the same time as the Bien Donné agricultural show. Orton King, CEO of Agri Mega, said it was all a misunderstanding.
“We assumed Donné wouldn’t take place this year after we withdrew our assistance in the organisation of the event,” he explained. “It seemed Bien Donné would be cancelled and we therefore decided to host our own event. Donné, however, sourced another show organiser.”
Agri Mega nevertheless feels Donné doesn’t fulfil the needs of fruit and vegetable producers in the Western Cape and plans to host their own event in April next year at the Boland Agricultural High in Paarl. Bien Donné is planned for November this year. – Glenneis Erasmus
George Nicholas, WHO RETIRED 20 years ago, is still going strong, having recently celebrated his 90th birthday in the Clubhouse Restaurant at the Pretoria showgrounds. He was joined by his wife Connie, former colleagues and lifelong friends.
George has been associated with Farmer’s Weekly since 1942 and retired as editor of the Central Bureau in Wierda Park, Pretoria in early 1988. However, since retiring, he has continued to contribute to the weekly content.
George compiles the popular farm sales section, the archives report for which he regularly scans back copies of Farmer’s Weekly at the National Library in Pretoria and the golf column, where his immense knowledge and passion for the game makes him a valued authority.
To mark the occasion of his birthday, George was presented with a framed cartoon of himself by the inimitable Jack Swanepoel, better known to readers as Dr Jack. Farmer’s Weekly wishes George and Connie many more happy years to come. – Chris Nel
Pannar announces photo competition winners
From over 1 700 entries, Coerie Ferreira took first place in Pannar’s 2008 Photo-50 Competition at the Nampo Harvest Festival on 14 May. The competition, which formed part of Pannar’s 50th anniversary celebrations, invited entrants to submit photographs relating to crop production.
Coerie’s winning picture, depicting a majestic Case harvester in operation, was taken during the 2006 wheat harvest on his farm Lemoenfontein near Wesselsbron.
His photo was judged to be the best on the basis of the starkness of the harvester, softened by the blur of its rotor, the undulating wheat and ominous sky overhead – for which Coerie won a Suzuki Ozark LT-F250 four-wheeler.
In second, third and fourth place respectively, Ella Laubscher from Hopetown, Elizna Louw from Nieuwoudtville and Bernie van der Vyver from Bethal each received fine Victorinox butchery and/or cutlery products. Marietjie van der Walt from Pretoria, in fifth place, won glassware, and in sixth place, Hannes Thiart from Cape Town received a handy Maglite.
“We were pleasantly surprised by the strong response from our customers and astounded by the quality of the entries received,” says Peet van der Walt, marketing manager for Pannar Seed.
The best 50 entries were available for viewing at the Pannar’s Nampo stand, adding a vivid burst of colour and another point of interest. – Peter Hittersay