Field Crops

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

Thwarting the sirex wasp’s invasion of SA

Ever since the highly destructive sirex woodwasp reached our shores in 1994, its devastation of pine plantations has resulted in a R300 million loss for the local timber industry. The problem though is that known control ­solutions, while effective in other countries, are for some reason ineffective here. Lloyd Phillips reports. Issue date 15 June 2007

How Brink boosts canola yields

The Swartland Canola Competition recognises outstanding farming efforts, identifying trends that could help enhance the production of this crop. This year's winner, André Brink, may have found the secret formula to canola success - nitrogen, seed density and rainfall.

Waging war on herbicide resistance

As weeds become increasingly resistant to herbicides, farmers will have to adopt strategic or long-term approaches when cultivating their crops. The time has come to consider other alternatives, before resorting immediately to chemical tools.

SA kenaf fibre processing plant ready for lift off

The processing of fibre and derivatives from kenaf is about to commence in Winterton, KwaZulu-Natal, in a brand new plant presently undergoing commissioning, with production set to kick off in early April

Plunging into coffee?

Over the last few years, coffee production in South Africa has been more of a boutique industry limited to a handful of growers on minimal land. But as a coffee culture grows locally and internationally, the demand for beans suggests it may be the right time to revisit home-grown coffee. Robyn Joubert reports.
Issue Date: 13 April 2007

Bringing black truffles to South Africa

Ranking alongside caviar and saffron in price and rarity, black truffles are now produced in South Africa by Donna Hornby of Truffles of Africa in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal.

Fulvic acid passes the fertigation test

Fruit farmer Ian de Kock of Harmonie farm near Montagu in the Western Cape, says the use of fulvic and amino acids has improved crop health, yields and fruit quality while reducing the dependence on fertiliser.
Issue Date 16 March 2007

Quality spawn is key to mushroom success

Growing mushrooms on a small scale for home use or commercial sale can be lucrative. However, Lloyd Phillips discovers why a good-quality mushroom crop can only come from spawn produced under stringent laboratory conditions.
Issue Date: 9 March 2007

Protea nutrition: food for thought

Research conducted in Hopefield, Western Cape, aim to show that with an understanding of protea nutrition farmers could improve their protea yields while supporting biodiversity. Issue date: 23 February 2007

Contract growers could capitalise on katambora

Zimbabwean expatriate Paul Hanly has persevered since he began promoting local katambora rhodes grass seed production for export to the Middle Eastern dairy industry. Issue Date: 16 February 2007

Wine tourism – an answer to the wine industry’s woes?

The wine surplus across the globe is putting the livelihoods of wine ­farmers under pressure. While there are no easy answers, key role-players in the South African wine industry feel wine tourism has an important part to play in the survival and growth of the industry, and are urging local producers to embrace all they have to offer. Sonja Burger reports.

Organic oils – scents of success

Stuart and Grant McMurray are reaping the rewards of essential oil production in Zululand, KZN, after identifying the need for a South African operation that could supply the growing international demand for the organic product.