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Lucerne crop

Lucerne: A massive export market for ‘green gold’

Johan Jacobs plants lucerne to ensure mega yields from other crops in his niche farming business, as well as a good cash flow for at least nine months of the...
Sugar beans: A good harvest against the odds

Sugar beans: A good harvest against the odds

Shadrack Mbele has been getting good returns from sugar bean since first planting it in 2014. Sabrina Dean visited him in the eastern Free State to find out more about...
Making the most of calcium as a soil and plant nutrient

Making the most of calcium as a soil and plant nutrient

Despite being a vitally important element for optimal crop production, calcium is often largely undervalued by farmers and agronomists. Plant health expert Heather Raymond explains why this outlook needs to...
Maize crop

How Free State maize farmer survived the drought

Sabrina Dean visited maize farmer AC van Wyk on his farm in the Free State, to gain some insight into how an award-winning farmer tackles a difficult planting season.
Diesel tree: fuel for the alternative energy sector

Diesel tree: fuel for the alternative energy sector

Christo Smit, a former researcher at the Agricultural Research Council, is working on developing a sustainable biofuel industry from the diesel tree.
Managing resistance of African stem borer to BT-maize

Managing resistance of African stem borer to BT-maize

Andri Visser, a doctoral student at the Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management at North-West University, explores how assumptions about the behaviour of the African stem borer affect the resistance...
Pursuing soil health precisely

Pursuing soil health precisely

Chris and Dewald Bothma of North West have converted from conventional maize production to a combination of precision and conservation agriculture methods. But the change did not come easily, and...
Why SA leads the world in effective lucerne hay grading

Why SA leads the world in effective lucerne hay grading

Lucerne is one of the most important hay crops in South Africa, but differences in quality can have a marked effect on livestock performance and profitability, especially in the dairy...
From fruit hawker to successful lemon exporter

From fruit hawker to successful lemon exporter

Although Wayne Mansfield made useful connections in the fruit industry as a hawker, he knew little about farming.
‘Soil Sista’ profits from the informal vegetable market

‘Soil Sista’ profits from the informal vegetable market

With competition fierce in South Africa’s vegetable production arena, finding clients and then adapting to their requirements are essential for success. Award-winning vegetable farmer Zama Buthelezi tells Lloyd Phillips how...
‘Quality drives demand’ – SA potato farmer of the year

‘Quality drives demand’ – SA potato farmer of the year

Syngenta Potato Farmer of the Year 2017, Nico Wagner of Wilnick Boerdery, employs various efficiency measures to ensure profitability, and the quality of his produce ensures a stable demand from...
Smarter ways to irrigate sugarcane

Smarter ways to irrigate sugar cane

South Africa’s irrigated sugar cane farming region was hard hit by the recent drought. This prompted Dr Abraham Singels, principal agronomist at the SA Sugarcane Research Institute, and his colleagues...

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Vehicle path management: key to reducing compaction

Vehicle path management: key to reducing compaction

Efficient in-field mechanisation is a major contributor to higher yield and lower production costs. Unfortunately, mechanisation also means that machinery wheels regularly compact the soil. According to precision farming specialist...

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