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Striving for optimal maize yields

Bernard Rabé of Rabé Boerdery in the Fochville area in North West runs a grain-focused operation on dryland. He aims to achieve the highest possible yield by following variable fertiliser and seed application rates according to the yield potential analysis of the soil. He also maintains a high plant density.

Limpopo farmer gives indigenous okra a boost

Part-time farmer Tsakani Mhlongo is the founder and owner of SwaTsakani Farming in Tzaneen, Limpopo, which produces vegetables such as okra, tomatoes and spinach, as well as broilers. She is determined, however, to turn her part-time operation into a full-time career.

Chilli producer achieves success with bio-farming

Chillies are a difficult crop to market; demand is limited and retailers’ requirements can be tough to meet. Mpumalanga farmer Chris Roux overcomes these challenges by planting a wide and colourful range of chillies and using biological farming techniques. Lindi Botha spoke to him about going the extra mile in production.

Young farmer’s 7t/ha soya bean crop proves power of agtech

As the TAU SA Young Farmer of the Year 2020, Danie Bester epitomises the ideal modern farmer: energetic, curious, tech-savvy and connected to his peers globally. While his precision farming techniques have yielded him a bumper soya crop, this ambitious producer plans to do even better.

Carmingo apricots breathe new life into Koo Valley

The arrival of Carmingo apricot varieties enables producers to generate up to three times more income per season than with traditional varieties. Glenneis Kriel spoke to Pierre Burger and Sam Sieberhagen, two successful farmers in the Western Cape.

Using cover crop mulch

In many regions, there is a limited choice of crops that can be grown in a particular season. This provides an ideal opportunity to plant a cover crop to keep the soil organisms active and provide material for humus formation.

Award-winning mango producer says 100t/ha is possible

Jaco Fivaz, farm manager of Mohlatsi farm in Limpopo, is a pioneer of high-density mango orchards, which achieve a greater yield per hectare than conventional orchards. Pieter Dempsey visited this award-winning grower to find out more about his passion for experimentation, and how he manages a diverse mango business.

Getting a silage maize crop into the bunker chop-chop

In terms of its cost-benefit ratio, silage maize is arguably the best-value stored green feed for milk production systems in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. However, to maximise the nutritional quality and quantity of this crop, it is important to harvest and handle it at the correct time and in the correct way.

Bats: the answer to macadamia pests?

Despite being well known for their pest control abilities, bats remain understudied and misunderstood, and their numbers have been on the decline for various reasons. Now research is showing that these mammals may be invaluable to macadamia farmers, whose pest control costs are rising while their nut quality is dropping. Lindi Botha spoke to Dr Valerie Linden about bats’ potential to save the industry millions of rands.

Solve those crop problems yourself, and save thousands!

Find something wrong with your crop? Go through the planting and fertilising processes step by step on your own to see whether you can determine the cause. There’s a good chance you can, says Bill Kerr.

Vegan demand presents new opportunities for marginal sugar farmers

North American yellow field peas could be a lifeline for struggling sugar cane farmers. As an ingredient in tasty meat-replacement products, the future of this relatively unknown crop looks bright. Mark Hassenkamp, chief agriculture operations director at global plant-based food company LiveKindly, spoke to Lindi Botha about the advantages of yellow field peas over sugar cane, and why the crop is also superior to soya beans.

Controlling fungus on Cripps Pink apples

A recent study of the effect of two pesticides on Phylctema vagabunda, a fungus that causes significant post-harvest losses of the Cripps Pink apple cultivar, revealed interesting results. Dr Alana den Breeyen and Dr Julia Meitz-Hopkins explain.

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