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Field Crops

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.

‘Go after what you want’ – lessons from a young spinach farmer

Gauteng-based Gugulethu Mahlangu says volunteering for experienced vegetable farmers gave her the confidence to launch her own successful career in farming.

Making lucerne hay while maximising soil health

Free State irrigation farmer Freek Strauss grows lucerne for the local and export markets. At the same time, the crop improves the soil’s condition, thus increasing the yields of other crops in rotation.

All you need to know about cutworm control

The common cutworm is a prominent maize pest in South Africa. Professors Johnnie van den Berg and Hannalene du Plessis, researchers at North-West University’s Integrated Pest Management Research Group, provide some useful tips on identifying and controlling this pest.

Easy-to-grow brinjals ensure steady profits

Any farmer will tell you that there is no such thing as a perfect crop, as each has its own challenges. From a production point of view, brinjals are as easy as they come, but limited demand puts a brake on large-scale production. Theuns Kotzee, a director of AAL Boerdery in Limpopo, explained to Lindi Botha how they manage this crop.

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