Field Crops

butternut crop

Butternuts: know your market and maintain quality

Butternuts are a reasonably easy crop to grow, with few in soluble problems. The real challenge is to match the cultivar with the market. Mpumalanga-based producer Francois Steyn spoke to Lindi Botha about how he solved this problem.
House/stable flies

Insects: know your friends from your foes

Hannelene Badenhorst, a PhD candidate in entomology at the University of the Free State, explains the value of differentiating beneficial insects and other arthropods from harmful ones before resorting to blanket chemical control.
sugarcane being harvested

Earthworms to the rescue on degraded sugar cane land

With sugar cane being a perennial crop that is ploughed out and replanted only after a number of years, the soil in which it grows can suffer as a result of monocropping. KwaZulu-Natal sugar cane farmer Chloe Clegg has engaged earthworms to improve the health, productivity and sustainability of the soil on her family farm. Lloyd Phillips visited her operation near Harding.
potatoes planted by tractor

The long, hard road to profiting from potatoes

In 1998, at the age of 45, Frans Vlok left his job as head of Kynoch fertiliser services in the Western Cape to pursue his lifelong dream of farming full-time. He was joined in the business eight years later by his daughter, Monique Vlok, who told Glenneis Kriel of their struggle to succeed.
leaf rust

Wheat producers, treat fungicides with caution!

South African wheat producers should guard against over-application of fungicide, according to Dr Tarekegn Terefe, senior researcher at ARC-Small Grain, Bethlehem. The unnecessary use of fungicides can harm the environment and result in the emergence of fungicide-resistant strains. Farmers should also rotate between fungicides from different chemical groups, he writes.
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green peppers

Attention to detail ensures high-quality sweet peppers

While launching a new farming venture as a first-time farmer may seem daunting, Hannes Wolvaardt is proof that it can be done. He shared his tips on successful sweet pepper production in Limpopo with Lindi Botha.
coffee berries

Labour-intensive coffee farm prospers in Hazyview climate

With the call to increase job opportunities in agriculture, many farmers have been left scratching their heads over the economic implications. But the Schroeders of Mpumalanga have found a winning recipe in coffee production: its high labour component and profitability levels make the crop viable. Lindi Botha visited the mother-and-son team on their farm near Hazyview.
lucerne crop

Boost your farm’s sustainability with the right crop rotation

Including more than three crops in a cash crop system may not only help increase yield, but significantly enhance the long-term sustainability of a farm. Dr Johann Strauss of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture spoke to Glenneis Kriel about the benefits of crop diversity.
potatoes

Potato farmer’s virgin soil strategy to reduce disease risk

Potato production is a high-risk, high-reward industry. Farming seed potatoes is even more so. Sabrina Dean visited Gerhard Bruwer of Genade Boerdery in the Northern Cape to find out more about this component of the family farming operation.
raw water stored in dams

Tips for top-quality irrigation water for intensive cropping

Growers of irrigated crops need to have access to properly treated irrigation water. Mike Kruger, owner of Top Crop Nursery, explains how he uses flocculation and chlorination to maximise the safety of the water he sources from the nearby Umgeni River.
regenerative agriculture tractor ploughing

Learning about regenerative agriculture

The implementation of regenerative agriculture principles is allowing a growing number of farmers to reduce their inputs while producing similar or even better yields than they would have produced if they used conventional farming practices.

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