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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.

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.

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.

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.

Climate-proof, no-till crop production in the maize triangle

Cocky Mokoka has been farming since 2007, but only started incorporating conservation agriculture principles to improve his soil in 2015. He spoke to Pieter Dempsey about the practices he implements on his 740ha farm.

New pumpkin variety set to make inroads into high-end market

The demand for convenient meals and easy-to-prepare vegetables is opening up marketing opportunities for the Hokkaido pumpkin, a newcomer to South Africa. Small, and with an edible peel, the variety holds much promise for expanding cucurbit cultivation. Lindi Botha spoke to Francois Steyn about farming the Hokkaido.

Helping small-scale farmers reach commercial status

Sinelizwi Fakade is a successful grain farmer in the Eastern Cape, but it is his passion for helping small-scale and subsistence farmers improve production that makes him particularly compelling, says Pieter Dempsey. He spoke to Fakade about his farming operation and his role in mentoring future farmers.

Chillies: a hot crop if you know what you’re doing

Diversifying with chillies has enabled Klein Karoo stone fruit farmer JD van Deventer to increase cash flow, use orchard space more efficiently, and mitigate the climate- and market-related risks associated with fruit production. He spoke to Glenneis Kriel.

Maize growing tips from a top new commercial farmer

Paulus Mosia from Edenville, Free State, a finalist for the 2019 Grain SA/ABSA/JohnDeere Financial New Era Commercial Farmer of the Year award, says that by using better inputs and improving production management, he increased his maize yield from 3,2t/ha to 5,2t/ha in just one year.

A thriving cabbage farm in the heart of Mbombela

Cabbage can be undemanding, provided the right checks and balances are put in place and the crop is managed meticulously. Lindi Botha spoke to farmer Bright Matimbe about producing healthy cabbage all year round in the Lowveld city of Mbombela.

Starke Ayres cabbage shines in winter planting programme

The Starke Ayres STAR 3316 cabbage cultivar has shown excellent growth and cold tolerance during a very cold winter in 2020. The company offers a range of cultivars for different harvesting periods.

Irrigated wheat: Conservation farming improves water usage and yield

South Africa’s water scarcity and the necessity to import well over one million tons of wheat annually mean that the country’s winter wheat growers increasingly have to optimise their water-use efficiencies. KwaZulu-Natal farmer Egon Zunckel spoke to Lloyd Phillips about his family’s own efforts to achieve higher wheat yield from less water.

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