Field Crops

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.

Speciality tomatoes succeed with fewer inputs

Simply Salads, a Mpumalanga-based grower of speciality tomatoes, is thriving in a tough market. The main reason for this, owner Peter Bakker and farm manager Charles Deane explained to Lindi Botha, lay in the twin strategy of lowering inputs and maximising output.

Sugar cane speedlings: the fast-track solution to quality seed cane

Conventional stick seed cane, while long relied on as the source of plant material for commercial sugar cane crops, comes with unavoidable inefficiencies. Experts in seed cane propagation explain how the ‘speedlings’ concept provides an alternative, cost-efficient option that has already proven itself in South Africa’s demanding sugar cane farming industry.

Canola: the crop that requires perfect planning

Melt van der Westhuizen of Moorreesburg holds the South African record for the highest canola yield ever produced. He spoke to Glenneis Kriel about his production methods.

The effects of diplodia ear rot on maize

Diplodia ear rot is a notable maize disease in South Africa. Apart from causing severe damage to the crop, it can also produce a potentially fatal mycotoxicosis in cattle and sheep. It is therefore crucial that a maize producer be able to identify the disease, says Dr Belinda Janse van Rensburg, plant pathologist at the Agricultural Research Council’s Grain Crops Institute.

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