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Choose the right hydroponics system for your operation

There are a number of farming systems available to producers that involve the growing of plants in water. Magda du Toit looks at the fundamentals of these methods, as well as their advantages and drawbacks.

Tips for making your farm dung beetle-friendly

The beneficial role of insects in agriculture should not be underestimated, and this is equally true of dung beetles. As these fascinating recycling experts go about their daily business of breaking up and distributing dung in nature, they also offer a variety of benefits to the agriculture sector.

Using chickens, pigs and sheep to save your soil

JP de Villiers has not used any herbicides on his farm for the past three seasons. He spoke to Glenneis Kriel about his use of sheep, pigs and chickens to overcome soil health problems in his orchards and vineyards.

Putting crop rotation into perspective

When developing a crop rotation programme, one must take into consideration the various pests and diseases that may infect different crops in order to avoid disastrous results, says Bill Kerr.

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.

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.

Know your armyworm species

Effective control of armyworm begins with being able to differentiate between the various species. South African crop farmers need to learn and apply this skill, Dr Annemie Erasmus of the Agricultural Research Council’s Grain Crops Institute told Annelie Coleman.

Ginger: a challenging crop, but well worth the effort

Cultivating ginger is costly on all fronts: time, labour and water. But managed correctly, the crop adds good cash flow to a farming business. Jaco Lubbe of Sabie Valley Ginger in Mpumalanga spoke to Lindi Botha about getting this demanding rhizome to pay off.

Bean pests & soil diseases

One pest that every bean farmer knows is the African bollworm. This tends to appear sporadically, rather than building up its population gradually.
House/stable flies

Insects: know your friends from your foes

Hannelene Badenhorst, a PhD candidate in entomology at the University of the Free State, explains the value of differentiating beneficial insects and other arthropods from harmful ones before resorting to blanket chemical control.
Soil samples

Fertilisation: basic principles that every farmer should know

Achieving optimal yields is greatly dependent on providing crops with the right nutrition at the right time. Understanding the role of fertilisers and ensuring the correct application can make the difference between profit and loss.
pumpkin fly maggot damage

Watch out for these common vegetable pests

Pests are an ongoing threat to vegetables, and need to be controlled effectively and timeously to prevent damage to the crop.