Field Crops

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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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.

How to improve the oil yield of a sunflower crop

Dr Safiah Ma’Ali, a senior researcher at the Agricultural Research Council’s Grain Crops Institute, outlines a recent South Africa study demonstrating that farmers can significantly improve sunflower oil content and yield by adjusting planting dates.

Cashing in on the expanding plant extracts market

Planting alternative crops for the extracts or essential oil market can be profitable, but it’s no easy road to riches. Pietersarel de Bruyn of Herbs Aplenty spoke to Glenneis Kriel about the opportunities and difficulties of this rapidly growing agricultural niche.

Sugar cane farmer’s five steps to bring his soil back to life

The negative effects of more than 170 years of monocropping with sugar cane in South Africa are starting to appear. KwaZulu-Natal sugar cane farmer Deon Schröder explains what these are, why they should be changed, and how he is going about this on his farm.

Large-scale composting turns waste into healthy soil

Over the years, composting guru Redge Jelliman has produced thousands of tons of compost as organic fertiliser for his crop farming enterprise in the Free State. Now semi-retired from farming, and a soil health consultant, he shared his experiences with Lloyd Phillips.

Vegetable farmer’s battle against the forces of nature

Eric Mauwane of Oneo Farms in Gauteng says that a crucial lesson he has learnt about sweet pepper production is the need to understand market demand and manage production practices accordingly. Siyanda Sishuba visited him to find out more about his operation.
dryland wheat

Late rainfall sees Free State farmers returning to wheat

When the rains came too late to plant maize at the end of 2018, Bultfontein farmers Anton and Heinrich Botha joined other producers in the region in planting dryland winter wheat instead. Sabrina Dean visited this father-and-son team to find out why they are so enthusiastic about the renewed interest in wheat.

Investing in lucerne pays off for western Free State farmer

Lucerne under irrigation provides Free State farmer Boeboe Louw with an ideal alternative to grain. Annelie Coleman visited him on his farm in the Wesselsbron district to find out how he manages production to gain the most from this valuable export crop.

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