INVASIVE ALIEN SPECIES-Eradicating fountain grass
A popular garden plant, Pennisetum setaceum has escaped cultivation and is today a declared invader throughout South Africa. Mechanical control is currently the only way of removing it.
Reversing the impact of soil degradation on livestock production
Livestock producers, particularly in arid climates, are struggling to remain profitable. Soil degradation and declining stocking rates have been identified as some of the main reasons for this decline. Colin Nott, a regenerative agricultural consultant from Namibia, spoke to Annelie Coleman.
Genetics forged in the Alps help Braunvieh excel in SA
Since its introduction to South Africa 114 years ago, the Braunvieh, with its good walking ability and non-selective grazing habits, has adapted well and can thrive under some of the harshest conditions in the country. Hans Bester and his three daughters run the Witbek Braunvieh stud on Sussiesdeel farm in Vrede, Free State, and spoke to Annelie Coleman about the advantages of this hardy breed.
Solve those crop problems yourself, and save thousands!
Find something wrong with your crop? Go through the planting and fertilising processes step by step on your own to see whether you can determine the cause. There’s a good chance you can, says Bill Kerr.
Stable mango yields: timing is everything
Achieving yield stability over many years is the golden standard in mango farming. But this is easier said than done: success requires a keen understanding of the demands of mango trees and excellent management. Award-winning mango producer Johann du Preez spoke to Lindi Botha about the science of tree manipulation
Drought feed provides handy income
Jan Blignaut of Hertzogville began planting prickly pears to act as a supplement for his cattle during drought. However, he found that the crop provided a steady income stream for fresh and processed fruit.
Dealing with heat stress in cattle
Hot, humid conditions can have a drastic effect on cattle, reducing their feed intake, milk production, and weight gain. They may also be more prone to disease. Some breeds, however, cope better than others.
AGCO launches global study on cover crops
Agronomists employed by agricultural machinery manufacturer AGCO are set to conduct field research trials on regenerative agriculture in four countries, including Zambia. Their goal is to determine the best practices, and thereby optimise soil health and carbon capture.
How To Fight Water Scarcity And Pollution Through Irrigation
A recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on overcoming water challenges in agriculture makes it clear that urgent action is needed to make water use in agriculture more sustainable and equitable. Since irrigated agriculture remains by far the largest user of fresh water, the use of more efficient irrigation systems can go a long way towards mitigating problems such as water scarcity.
Warthogs: Unlikely Allies Of Livestock Farmers
New research has revealed a surprising benefit that warthogs may hold for livestock producers. according to two scientists involved in the study, these animals may act as sentinels for disease transmission in livestock. Byron Latham reports.
INVASIVE ALIEN PLANTS: Queen of the night cactus: Part 3
Last week’s article dealt with the cactus mealybug, one of two biocontrol agents used against queen of the night cactus. This week, the focus shifts to the second agent: the Harrisia cactus stem-boring beetle.
Bovelder: the all-terrain beef cattle breed
The Bovelder is a South African beef cattle breed developed by local commercial producers for optimal fertility and meat production. A hardy, ‘no-nonsense’ breed, it was created specifically for the region’s demanding conditions, say Carel and Willem Cilliers, who run one of the oldest Bovelder herds in South Africa. Annelie Coleman visited the father-and-son team in the Free State to find out more about their breeding goals.
Meet the James Bond of the Beaufort West Stock Theft Unit
In 2020, Sergeant Thabo Moletsane won the Western Cape Stock Theft Committee’s award for Best Member of a Stock Theft Unit for the fourth year in a row. Glenneis Kriel found out more about this remarkable man.
NUTS: Growing cashews: Part 2
For the best results, cashew trees should be propagated using grafting or air layering, and the seedlings grown under 45% shade. It is important, later on, to ensure enough space between the trees.
Is Horse Dewormer A Cure For Covid-19?
Ivermectin that is registered for animal use should not be consumed by humans, warns Dr Mac, as other active ingredients in the product could lead to insecticide poisoning.
Award-Winning Dairy, Pork And Poultry Technology
In 2020, experts evaluated 80 entries into the Innovation awards of euroTier, the biennial dairy, pork and poultry technologies exhibition hosted by the German agricultural Society. The society’s Innovations Committee awarded only one gold and seven silver medals, and the winners were announced at an online press conference late last year. The corresponding euroTier and energyDecentral exhibition will take place digitally from 9 to 12 February 2021. To attend, register at eurotier.com/en. Lloyd Phillips reports.
Aligning Banana Production With Nature
High labour costs have put banana production in South Africa under increasing pressure. but a more immediate and serious threat comes in the form of the deadly Panama disease. Arno Cilliers of Mpumalanga is tackling the problem by focusing on soil health, thereby improving yield and sustainability. Lindi Botha reports.
Health And Safety Do's And Don'ts For Farmers
Navigating your way through the numerous rules and regulations of workplace health and safety can seem a daunting prospect, but labour consultants are there to guide you. Jeandré van der Walt spoke to a number of experts in the occupational health and safety industry about the key aspects of farmworker safety.
Agritech For Better Farm Surveillance
The use of surveillance technologies can enhance a farm’s safety and buy time to prevent, or take defensive measures against, an imminent theft or home invasion. Glenneis Kriel highlights some available systems.
Consumer Trends In 2021 And Beyond
Every year, Euromonitor International identifies the emerging and fast-moving consumer trends that are expected to gain traction in the year ahead. These trends provide valuable insight into changing consumer values, and indicate how consumer behaviour is shifting and disrupting businesses in many sectors across the world.
The basics of managing reproduction in sheep
Profitability in sheep farming depends primarily on the productivity of the breeding ewes. In this article, Dr Louis du Pisani, an independent agricultural consultant, discusses the key factors that determine the reproduction and productivity rate of a flock of sheep, and how to exploit these to the full.
Pork prices promising, but feed prices remain high
The pork industry experienced slower growth in 2020 following three years of strong annual growth.
South Africa's first gold mine
A short distance south of Polokwane in Limpopo stands an impressive stone chimney stack, all that remains of a commercial gold mine. But it is the date of its construction that is the real surprise, writes Mike Burgess.
Red meat demand remains strong as people are forced to stay, and cook, at home
Red meat producers are moving toward a herd rebuilding phase, and with the current strong demand for red meat, despite higher retail prices, farmers are receiving higher farm-gate prices.
SA astronomy has a rich history and a promising future
Ian Glass, associate research astronomer at the South African Astronomical Observatory, writes about the pioneering work that has been done over the past few decades by astronomers in South Africa.
Careful management pays off for litchi grower
While many litchi producers in Hazyview, Mpumalanga, have chosen to exit the industry, Pieter Luus continues to run a successful operation. He explains to Lindi Botha what it takes to stay in the game, and how he balances the pros and cons of growing this challenging crop.
Attention to detail drives Gauteng dairy to award-winning success
Strict recording of, and selection for, commercially important traits lie behind the success of Billy Hall’s award-winning, Gauteng-based dairy operation. Farm manager Shaun Spence, who runs the operation, spoke to Pieter Dempsey about the practicalities of running an efficient and profitable dairy.
Alcohol Ban's Widespread Effects
The ban on the sale of alcohol could cost thousands of jobs and billions of rand. As a result, various industry role players are calling on government to end the ban with immediate effect. Jeandré van der Walt and Siyanda Sishuba report.
How Satellite Data Can Boost Agriculture
The use of Earth observation has brought about dramatic improvements in agricultural practices and access to water. A new report published by the World Economic Forum details how Earth observations are fundamental to harnessing the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to support agricultural productivity growth across Africa.
Pet-Friendly Glamping And Hiking Near Broederstroom
B’sorah Luxury Tented Camp, located between the Hartbeespoort Dam and the Magaliesberg, offers a scenic and relaxing weekend break less than an hour from Gauteng for hiking and mountain biking enthusiasts, nature lovers and birders. Riaan Hattingh reports.