Field Crops

Nature-friendly farming reduces costs for potato farmer

Managing plant health and strict water monitoring have paved the way to success for AL 3 Boerdery in Dendron, Limpopo. CT van der Merwe spoke to Lindi Botha about the production practices that keep his farming business profitable.

Growth mediums for greenhouse production

Greenhouse farming is an intensive, high-yielding operation. Using the correct growth medium forms the basis of the operation, and mistakes in this area can cost a farmer dearly, according to producers and experts. Lindi Botha looks at which mediums work best for different crops.

Russian wheat aphid: sustainable solutions to fight resistance

Russian wheat aphid is showing increased cultivar and pesticide resistance, according to entomologist Dr Astrid Jankielsohn of the Agricultural Research Council. She has identified a new biotype, bringing to five the number seen in South Africa.

Optimal liming is key to preventing soil acidification

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.

New irrigation systems: making do with less

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.
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Soil health integral to sustainable conservation farming

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.

Know your armyworm species

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.

Ginger: a challenging crop, but well worth the effort

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.

Family farm harvests 50t of carrots a day all year round

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.
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Polysulphate an ideal fertiliser for potatoes and other crops

Polysulphate is a new, multi-nutrient fertiliser that has been introduced to South Africa by ICL.

Protecting South Africa’s trees from the shot hole borer

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.

Identifying and controlling sweet potato viruses

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.

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