Reducing Heatwave Damage
Farmer's Weekly|February 1, 2019
Reducing Heatwave Damage

The Highveld recently experienced a number of heatwaves with higher humidity than usual. These had a severe effect on crops.

Bill Kerr

The conditions experienced were, to some extent, similar to a normal Mpumulanga Lowveld summer, when few vegetables can be grown due to the heat.

We also had unusually strong wind for this time of the year. This accelerated the evaporation of soil moisture, making it difficult to keep up with irrigation.

Certain vegetable crops, such as broccoli and cauliflower, are highly sensitive to such conditions. Some 40 years ago, a farmer would never have attempted to grow these in summer, and they would often fail even in a ‘normal’ year. Since then, plant breeding has developed varieties that can be successfully grown in summer.

Despite this progress, these crops are still vulnerable to excessive heat, and if you want to grow them successfully, you have to adapt your irrigation practices accordingly.

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February 1, 2019