Conservation agriculture

Conservation agriculture

Ploughing virgin land What the law says & why

Strict laws governing the cultivation of virgin soil have angered many farmers. But that’s because there’ve been few explanations of why these laws are necessary. Odette Curtis, project manager of the Renosterveld Management Conservation Project in Overberg in the Western Cape, helps farmers understand what’s at stake.

Measuring soil Nitrogen status

Farmers can cut nitrogen costs if they know how much nitrogen their soil already has, and how much it still needs to maximise yields. This week, John Fair discusses how to take soil samples to measure soil nitrogen status.

The Waainek Wildflower Reserve

This reserve, established by Philip Erasmus on the Bosberg, is an excellent example of a private initiative in biodiversity conservation, writes Cameron McMaster.

Getting communities to help protect the black rhino

Historically the preserve of state conservation efforts and wealthy white game ranchers, black rhino conservation in South Africa has moved to the next level. Black communities are now taking on the shared responsibility for keeping this endangered icon from extinction. Lloyd Phillips reports.

Sub-Saharan African agriculture in a crisis: is CA the solution?

Sub-Saharan African agriculture is in a crisis. Declining yields, impoverished soils and massive soil erosion are common problems in rural areas. Peter Hittersay attended the FAO Emergency Operations and Rehabilitation Division's recent two-day regional conservation agriculture (CA) workshop, and reports on the urgent change in agricultural practices required and the CA solutions mooted.

Mycorrhizae: a nutrient and water transport system for roots

If you believe natural is best, then inoculate your soil with the right mix of root fungi or mycorrhizae, says habitat planner Ben Breedlove. They can help in crop production, land-use applications such as roadside management, and also veld rehabilitation. Roelof Bezuidenhout reports.
Issue Date: 30 March 2007

Restore soil tilth free of charge

In the second part of our habitat planning series, habitat designer Ben Breedlove explains how to return the pre-European topsoil to the farm and re-establish the soil tilth necessary for land use optimisation. Roelof Bezudenhout reports. Issue Date: 9 February 2007

Know your ranch’s grass

This week Abré J Steyn presents a simple and efficient way of monitoring the grazing value of veld, along with a user-friendly guide to the key grass species.

Get farming … with grass!

Managing a game farm means managing the environment, and that means starting with the basics - literally at grass roots level, with a comprehensive survey and analysis of the carrying capacity of the farm.

Reaping the bit that matters

Joe Spencer reports on a prototype harvesting system with components that are less expensive than those of a modern combine harvester. This technique builds on more than 150 years of harvesting equipment.

Jatropha: bigger picture

Feedback from rural small-scale farmers in KZN has revealed many challenges limiting the profitability of their enterprises. Research points to the viability of the tree species Jatropha curcas, with its many uses in agroforestry, as a sustainable and more profitable alternative to cash generation and food security. Lloyd Phillips reports.

Battling the blazes:

Working on Fire is in the hot seat Wildfires can be disastrous for forestry and farming, and cause great suffering for people and animals. Working on Fire, a joint national initiative between government and the private sector, coordinates resources to create a comprehensive firefighting system which also provides training and employment to jobless people. Lindsey Sanderson reports.


Food Security Webinar

Millions of people are going hungry in South Africa each day. Who is to blame?
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