As much as 30% of South Africa’s agricultural soil resource is deemed to be acidifying, mostly due to inefficient or incorrect liming practices. This is according to a recent presentation by Dr Pieter Haumann, CEO of the Fertilizer Association of Southern Africa.
With dwindling water supplies and a greater emphasis on efficient use of resources, irrigation technology is evolving to make do with less. While the initial capital costs of the latest equipment and software may be high, its increased efficiency, higher yield and reduced water usage cannot be beaten. Lindi Botha spoke to experts about the latest advances in irrigation.
Conservation agriculture (CA) is an affordable approach for farmers, involving the adoption of regenerative agriculture principles and practices, with the potential to improve food security.
Effective control of armyworm begins with being able to differentiate between the various species. South African crop farmers need to learn and apply this skill, Dr Annemie Erasmus of the Agricultural Research Council’s Grain Crops Institute told Annelie Coleman.
Cultivating ginger is costly on all fronts: time, labour and water. But managed correctly, the crop adds good cash flow to a farming business. Jaco Lubbe of Sabie Valley Ginger in Mpumalanga spoke to Lindi Botha about getting this demanding rhizome to pay off.
Bloemfontein farmer Johannes Griesel started producing carrots on 0,5ha. Today, he grows thousands of tons of this staple crop, harvesting it on every working day of the year.
Polysulphate is a new, multi-nutrient fertiliser that has been introduced to South Africa by ICL.
The polyphagous shot hole borer threatens over 150 South African tree species. If left unchecked, it could cause huge damage to citrus and avocado orchards, amongst others. Prof Wijnand Swart and Dr Gert Marais, who are striving to find a solution to the problem, spoke to Sabrina Dean.
Sweet potatoes are an important commercial crop and contribute significantly to food security in many poorer South African households. Dr Julia Mulabisana and Dr Sunette Laurie of the Agricultural Research Council’s Vegetable and Ornamental Plants division explain how farmers can recognise and control the most serious viruses that affect this crop.
Dr Safiah Ma’Ali, a senior researcher at the Agricultural Research Council’s Grain Crops Institute, outlines a recent South Africa study demonstrating that farmers can significantly improve sunflower oil content and yield by adjusting planting dates.
Planting alternative crops for the extracts or essential oil market can be profitable, but it’s no easy road to riches. Pietersarel de Bruyn of Herbs Aplenty spoke to Glenneis Kriel about the opportunities and difficulties of this rapidly growing agricultural niche.
The negative effects of more than 170 years of monocropping with sugar cane in South Africa are starting to appear. KwaZulu-Natal sugar cane farmer Deon Schröder explains what these are, why they should be changed, and how he is going about this on his farm.