Farming Basics

Farmer’s Weekly brings you the latest updates on farming basics in the agricultural industry.

Pasture varieties and their potential in SA

Summer-planted pastures can boost a farmer’s profits by keeping animal production high. Renowned grazing specialist Prof Chris Dannhauser says there is a variety of these crops to choose from and, as Susan Marais found out, many can also be used in winter in the form of hay, foggage and silage.

Managing mastitis in dairy cows

Mastitis can cause devastating economic losses for a dairy farmer. Yet a long-term vaccination programme can be an effective weapon in the fight to control it, writes Robyn Joubert. She spoke to Prof Inge-Marié Petzer, an udder health specialist at Onderstepoort.

Tips for dipping sheep

Sheep need to be dipped to prevent the spread of lice, scab and other economically important ectoparasites.

How to keep your farm secure while you’re away on holiday

Are you going away over the festive season? Three leaders in agriculture and security explain how common sense, technology, and good relationships with neighbours can help protect your possessions.

Tips for getting the most out of livestock auctions

Livestock auctions offer a relatively safe way for farmers to trade their animals, with a fairly low barrier to entry. Cornel Landman and Anton Vos spoke to Glenneis Kriel about factors that producers have to consider when participating in these events, and the administrative processes that need to be adhered to.

Management of important grain diseases

Plant pathology scientists Dr Gert van Coller and Dr Bradley Flett spoke to Pieter Dempsey about some diseases that pose significant threats to South Africa’s maize and wheat production, and how to control them.

Why vaccines are so important for your animals

Many medications are available for treating diseases and other problems, such as worms, in livestock. But by far the most important treatment you can give your animals is vaccinations against the diseases that occur in your area. Shane Brody explains why vaccines are different to other medicines, and why they are so effective.

Family businesses: When parents and children clash

Parent and child can work together on the farm, love each other, state their needs, be heard and learn to negotiate their differences. It starts with respect and compromise, says Trevor Dickinson.

Animal feed: tips for cutting costs and reducing wastage

Feed accounts for 65% to 75% of a poultry or pig farmer’s total input costs. Feed expert Dr Leon Ekermans spoke to Glenneis Kriel about strategies to reduce these costs and prevent wastage.

Dehorning your beef cattle can help boost profits

Removing the horns from your cattle holds a number of advantages. Most importantly, it will prevent the problem of bruised meat.

Why estate planning is essential to minimising family strife

When business-owning parents leave their children equal shares in the operation, a battle can erupt between those who work for the company and those who don’t. There are better ways to fairly distribute wealth to heirs, writes Trevor Dickinson.

The influence of weather on lucerne hay quality

There is still limited research available on the effects of weather on lucerne production in South Africa, This article, written by lucerne specialist Dr Gerrie Scholtz, agricultural economist Walter van Niekerk, and others, was published by the National Lucerne Trust and offers some insight on the matter, based on recent observations.

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