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Crops

Using cover crop mulch

In many regions, there is a limited choice of crops that can be grown in a particular season. This provides an ideal opportunity to plant a cover crop to keep the soil organisms active and provide material for humus formation.

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.

Getting a silage maize crop into the bunker chop-chop

In terms of its cost-benefit ratio, silage maize is arguably the best-value stored green feed for milk production systems in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. However, to maximise the nutritional quality and quantity of this crop, it is important to harvest and handle it at the correct time and in the correct way.

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.

Solve those crop problems yourself, and save thousands!

Find something wrong with your crop? Go through the planting and fertilising processes step by step on your own to see whether you can determine the cause. There’s a good chance you can, says Bill Kerr.

Vegan demand presents new opportunities for marginal sugar farmers

North American yellow field peas could be a lifeline for struggling sugar cane farmers. As an ingredient in tasty meat-replacement products, the future of this relatively unknown crop looks bright. Mark Hassenkamp, chief agriculture operations director at global plant-based food company LiveKindly, spoke to Lindi Botha about the advantages of yellow field peas over sugar cane, and why the crop is also superior to soya beans.

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.

Climate-proof, no-till crop production in the maize triangle

Cocky Mokoka has been farming since 2007, but only started incorporating conservation agriculture principles to improve his soil in 2015. He spoke to Pieter Dempsey about the practices he implements on his 740ha farm.

Know when your soil is ready!

It’s always a good idea to get soil fertility in balance by providing enough fertiliser and, perhaps, organic matter, but treating the soil well is also very important.

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.

New pumpkin variety set to make inroads into high-end market

The demand for convenient meals and easy-to-prepare vegetables is opening up marketing opportunities for the Hokkaido pumpkin, a newcomer to South Africa. Small, and with an edible peel, the variety holds much promise for expanding cucurbit cultivation. Lindi Botha spoke to Francois Steyn about farming the Hokkaido.

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.

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