Field Crops

Farmer’s Weekly brings you the latest field crop farming news and updates from South Africa and the rest of the world.

How to control powdery mildew in vineyards

When it comes to managing powdery mildew in grape orchards, prevention is better than cure, and the key lies in taking action early in the season.

Target pests and maintain ecological balance with Amicor® Insect Control

FMC’s new Amicor® Insect Control represents an advancement in insecticide technology, and offers farmers so much more than mere insect control.

The pros of integrated pest management

Integrated pest management (IPM) helps farmers reduce their dependence on chemicals to fend off pests, while improving biodiversity and environmental sustainability. Industry experts Andrew Bennett and Rodney Bell spoke to Magda du Toit about the factors involved in implementing an IPM programme.

How iron levels in maize have changed over 2 000 years

According to a study by Ale Vidal Elgueta et al, researchers from Chile and France, the intensification of agricultural production over the past two millennia has led to a reduction in the level of iron in maize.

Tomato leaf miner: Pongola farmers’ strategy to beat the pest

In Pongola, the tomato leaf miner is threatening the sustainability of family-run Basaki Boerdery, one of the last tomato producers in the area. Brothers Sakkie and André Terblanche spoke to Lindi Botha about their strategy for fighting this pest.

Healthy soil helps ensure 98% packout rate of broccoli on KZN farm

They are notoriously tricky crops to grow in summer, but broccoli and cauliflower flourish on Southern Block farm in KwaZulu-Natal. By focusing on optimal soil and vigorous plants, this farm uses minimal chemical inputs. Lindi Botha spoke to the team about their winning recipe.

Truffles: black gold for South African farmers

Growing black winter truffles can be a highly lucrative undertaking for farmers looking to diversify their enterprises. Volker and Paul Miros, who run Woodford Truffles SA, spoke to Marinda Louw Coetzee about the expert knowledge and capital required to do so.

Give your orchards the health coverage they deserve

Cover crops are the gifts that keep on giving. Not only do they maintain soil moisture and improve soil health, but they are a valuable tool for reducing pest loads in subtropical orchards. By planting specific species, farmers can reduce their pesticide bill and meet the crop safety requirements of their markets.

The layperson’s guide to ley farming

Over the past few years, monocropping has largely given way to the crop rotation system, and ley farming has gained popularity in grain-producing areas such as KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, the Free State and North West, where many farmers also produce livestock. Prof Chris Dannhauser spoke to Susan Marais about how the rotating of grain crops with planted pastures can be a highly useful practice.

A road map for reviving sorghum production in SA

Exciting times are ahead as a new report on market opportunities for sorghum in South Africa sees the light and new research indicates the best sorghum cultivars for farmers as well as the processors of this crop, writes Mariana Purnell, a consultant with eGrain, a provider of electronic warehouse receipts for the grain industry.

A successful switch from grain to tea tree oil

On a quest to diversify away from the crops traditionally cultivated in Mkhondo, Mpumalanga, André de Waal shifted to the production of essential oils. By growing, distilling and marketing these products, he has gained greater control over the value chain, ensuring his business is both viable and sustainable.

Maize farming: Caring for your crop during the first 40 days

In this article, the first in a two-part series, Magda du Toit speaks to experts about the different growth stages of a maize plant in the vegetative phase, as well as the crucial management practices to follow during this time to achieve optimal yield. Advice on weed control is also included.