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Fruit & Nuts

The fungi that saved a farmer’s avocado orchards

Faced with wilting, unproductive avocado trees, Limpopo farmer Christa Rebel decided to replace them with another crop. In the meantime, however, she planted strawberries on the orchard floor. Then, serendipitously, she discovered nature’s remarkable ability to repair itself.

Stable mango yields: timing is everything

Achieving yield stability over many years is the golden standard in mango farming. But this is easier said than done: success requires a keen understanding of the demands of mango trees and excellent management. Award-winning mango producer Johann du Preez spoke to Lindi Botha about the science of tree manipulation.

Macadamias: switching to machine harvesting

Harvesting macadamia nuts is highly labour-intensive, and Braam de Kock’s Lowveld farm is no exception. Tired of the stress of managing a large workforce, De Kock finally opted for mechanisation, and found the investment well worth it. Nonetheless, the process has had its challenges, he told Lindi Botha.

How to make a success of bananas

The humble banana is usually taken for granted by consumers, but growing this popular fruit can be tricky, expensive and involve considerable risk. Having top-performing banana plantations starts with the proper establishment of the crop. Brothers Riaan and WJ Heystek shared their experiences of setting up their banana enterprise with Lloyd Phillips.

Carmingo apricots breathe new life into Koo Valley

The arrival of Carmingo apricot varieties enables producers to generate up to three times more income per season than with traditional varieties. Glenneis Kriel spoke to Pierre Burger and Sam Sieberhagen, two successful farmers in the Western Cape.

Award-winning mango producer says 100t/ha is possible

Jaco Fivaz, farm manager of Mohlatsi farm in Limpopo, is a pioneer of high-density mango orchards, which achieve a greater yield per hectare than conventional orchards. Pieter Dempsey visited this award-winning grower to find out more about his passion for experimentation, and how he manages a diverse mango business.

Bats: the answer to macadamia pests?

Despite being well known for their pest control abilities, bats remain understudied and misunderstood, and their numbers have been on the decline for various reasons. Now research is showing that these mammals may be invaluable to macadamia farmers, whose pest control costs are rising while their nut quality is dropping. Lindi Botha spoke to Dr Valerie Linden about bats’ potential to save the industry millions of rands.

Controlling fungus on Cripps Pink apples

A recent study of the effect of two pesticides on Phylctema vagabunda, a fungus that causes significant post-harvest losses of the Cripps Pink apple cultivar, revealed interesting results. Dr Alana den Breeyen and Dr Julia Meitz-Hopkins explain.

Careful management pays off for litchi grower

While many litchi producers in Hazyview, Mpumalanga, have chosen to exit the industry, Pieter Luus continues to run a successful operation. He explains to Lindi Botha what it takes to stay in the game, and how he balances the pros and cons of growing this challenging crop.

Dragon fruit: a weapon to fight food insecurity

With hunger and food insecurity a reality for thousands of South African households, any effort to reduce this problem should be welcomed. Retired business owner Frikkie Adams is convinced that dragon fruit is ideal for growing at home, as its high nutritional content can benefit families. He showed Lloyd Phillips his experiments at propagating the plant.

The basics of growing groundnuts on a small scale

Groundnuts are high in protein, tasty, and a convenient and popular food. All of this makes them a potentially valuable source of nutrition in rural communities. Growing and selling them can also earn much-needed income. Loureine Muller, a groundnut agronomist at commodity trading company Triotrade, explains how to produce this crop.

Growing papayas: Easy to produce, tricky to market

Papaya production poses few challenges, says Mpumalanga-based papaya producer Giovanna Secco. But with high volumes and unstable demand, farming the fruit requires careful management to ensure that the crop remains profitable.

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