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Cotton: the ideal crop for reducing carbon emissions and poverty

The Better Cotton Initiative is driving sustainability among cotton farmers worldwide to ensure they can continue operating while simultaneously meeting environmental objectives. Lena Staafgard, COO of Better Cotton, and Hennie Bruwer, CEO of Cotton South Africa, spoke to Lindi Botha about the effectiveness of this international initiative at farm-level in this country.

Why small-scale beef cattle farmers struggle to improve their animals

While genomic selection is a mainstay of commercial cattle breeding, the accurate record-keeping and data analysis it requires are often unaffordable for, or inaccessible to, smallholder and communal farmers. This study by researchers from across the globe looks at the challenges these producers face with improving their herds via this method.

Assessing veld condition

Taking a good look at every camp on your farm will reveal if your veld management system is on the right track, writes Roelof Bezuidenhout.

The smart-irrigation tech companies to watch in 2022

Investment in smart-irrigation companies has been on the increase over the past few years, and this trend shows no signs of abating. Janine Ryan and Glenneis Kriel look at some of the companies in the industry, both local and international, that are likely to make headlines in the near future.

The value of pollinators for seed production

In a study to provide a global estimate of the importance of pollinators for plants in natural ecosystems, researchers from Stellenbosch University, led by Dr James Rodger, a postdoctoral fellow in mathematical sciences, found that, without pollinators, one-third of flowering plant species wouldn’t produce seeds at all.

The reality of twins in beef cattle

While the incidence of twins in beef cattle is very low, there is the possibility that it could improve the rate of their reproduction, says the Agricultural Research Council.

The scandal of food wastage: prepare for regulatory pressure

In South Africa, about 30% of local agricultural production is wasted every year, which is equivalent to an estimated R60 billion, or around 2% of GDP. In a country where 30% of households are at risk of hunger, 31% experience hunger and 13 million children live in poverty, this waste is unsustainable and needs to change, says James Brand, a senior associate in ENSafrica’s Natural Resources and Environment department.

Fire: the greatest threat to your farming operation

Firefighting is not complicated, but managing the process, which includes prevention, training, communication, maintaining equipment and more, is another story. It requires minute attention to detail, says Peter Hughes.

Getting to the root of declining pecan yields

The yields of mature pecan nut orchards are failing to reach optimal levels, and concerned producers have been searching high and low to find answers, investigating everything from foliar applications to soil management. The latest indications are that the solution seems to lie in the trees’ roots.

Contaminants threatening the health of soil and water

The fouling of fresh water supplies with pollutants emanating from primary agriculture has become a serious issue in South Africa. In this article, the Agricultural Research Council discusses the origins and impact of so-called contaminants of emerging concern.

Papaya diseases and viruses

Diseases and viruses of papayas include damping off, powdery mildew, black spot and root rot. All can be treated or prevented.

The layperson’s guide to ley farming

Over the past few years, monocropping has largely given way to the crop rotation system, and ley farming has gained popularity in grain-producing areas such as KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, the Free State and North West, where many farmers also produce livestock. Prof Chris Dannhauser spoke to Susan Marais about how the rotating of grain crops with planted pastures can be a highly useful practice.

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