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Nurturing the unseen life in soil

When we walk across a land, we are unaware that the soil beneath our feet is teeming with life. It is difficult to quantify the tonnage of organisms present but it can run into 6t/ha or more.

Helping small-scale farmers reach commercial status

Sinelizwi Fakade is a successful grain farmer in the Eastern Cape, but it is his passion for helping small-scale and subsistence farmers improve production that makes him particularly compelling, says Pieter Dempsey. He spoke to Fakade about his farming operation and his role in mentoring future farmers.

Is small-scale farming really viable?

Under the free market system, entrepreneurs engage in their activities within the boundaries of the law and make as much money as possible.

Chillies: a hot crop if you know what you’re doing

Diversifying with chillies has enabled Klein Karoo stone fruit farmer JD van Deventer to increase cash flow, use orchard space more efficiently, and mitigate the climate- and market-related risks associated with fruit production. He spoke to Glenneis Kriel.

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.

No-till: better soil at less cost

One sure way of reducing soil degradation is to cut down on tillage. Numerous crops can be grown using the no-till approach, and many farmers who have done so will testify that it cuts costs and improves rain penetration in the soil.

Maize growing tips from a top new commercial farmer

Paulus Mosia from Edenville, Free State, a finalist for the 2019 Grain SA/ABSA/JohnDeere Financial New Era Commercial Farmer of the Year award, says that by using better inputs and improving production management, he increased his maize yield from 3,2t/ha to 5,2t/ha in just one year.

A thriving cabbage farm in the heart of Mbombela

Cabbage can be undemanding, provided the right checks and balances are put in place and the crop is managed meticulously. Lindi Botha spoke to farmer Bright Matimbe about producing healthy cabbage all year round in the Lowveld city of Mbombela.

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.

The many advantages of humus

The volume of organisms in any body of soil is dependent on the soil environment and supply of food for them; it is not a static amount.
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Starke Ayres cabbage shines in winter planting programme

The Starke Ayres STAR 3316 cabbage cultivar has shown excellent growth and cold tolerance during a very cold winter in 2020. The company offers a range of cultivars for different harvesting periods.

Getting started with vegetables

First, the bad news: if you are starting a small vegetable farm, you will have to wait several years before nutrient recycling takes place in the soil.

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