Tread lightly, farm smartly
Among the machinery on display at Fieragricola 2020 in Verona, Italy, were stand-out examples of the latest tractor and implement technology aimed at helping farmers achieve higher productivity, while also farming more sustainably.
The artist who brought South Africa's countryside to life
The Swartland of the Western Cape has produced many famous personalities, perhaps none more so than artist Maggie Laubser. Graham Jooste writes about her life and her remarkable technique.
Feeding pigs for health and profit
A major challenge facing pig farmers today is herd health, with African swine fever in particular having devastated herds worldwide. Researchers are striving to improve the safety of feed, one of the ways in which this disease is spread, while optimising the uptake of nutrients. Nutrition scientists Prof Barry Bradford and Dr Gerardo Morantes spoke to Lindi Botha.
THE EFFECTS OF DIPLODIA EAR ROT ON MAIZE
Diplodia ear rot is a notable maize disease in South Africa. Apart from causing severe damage to the crop, it can also produce a potentially fatal mycotoxicosis in cattle and sheep. It is therefore crucial that a maize producer be able to identify the disease, says Dr Belinda Janse van Rensburg, plant pathologist at the Agricultural Research Council’s Grain Crops Institute.
Curbing maize header losses
Farmers should guard against losing sight of efficiency when increasing productivity. In one US study, up to 60% of all maize losses during harvest were shown to be caused by the maize header. Stehan Cloete introduces a new product that promises to curb these losses.
Building trust for 78 years: Meadow Feeds' proven strategy for livestock production success
Since 1942, animal feeds manufacturer Meadow Feeds has grown to become a trusted name in Southern African agriculture. As a long-time client, pig producer Steve Caldecott can confirm that a key contributor to the company’s ongoing success is the strong and enduring relationships that Meadow Feeds management and employees have built with their customers.
Improving Beef Yield Through Crossbreeding
David Rakgase of Rakgase Farms in Limpopo makes use of crossbreeding to improve carcass weight. He explained to Siyanda Sishuba how animal nutrition is managed on the farm in order for the cattle to maintain good condition throughout the year.
Birdwatching On Your Farm: A Lucrative Way To Generate Income
Avitourism, or birdwatching, has the potential to provide farmers with an additional source of revenue, write Dr Adam Viljoen and Christelle van Zyl, researchers at North-West University’s Tourism Research in Economic Environs and Society.
What Covid-19 Has Taught Us About Food Security
The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the importance of agriculture in South Africa and across the continent because of the sector’s capacity to support economic growth, create and sustain jobs, and boost exports, writes Roux Wildenboer, head of agriculture at Absa Corporate and Investment Banking.
Optimising in-calf cow nutrition before winter
A commercial beef producer’s primary income is derived from animals produced and sold. For this reason, it’s crucial to keep breeding female animals in optimal condition at all times. Mike Rennie, a KwaZulu-Natal beef cattle farmer, spoke to Lloyd Phillips about his multi-pronged strategy.
Optimal nutrient application
In this article, Stehan Cloete writes about the importance of broadcast spreader technology to improve application efficiency.
Optimal liming is key to preventing soil acidification
As much as 30% of South Africa’s agricultural soil resource is deemed to be acidifying, mostly due to inefficient or incorrect liming practices. This is according to a recent presentation by Dr Pieter Haumann, CEO of the Fertilizer Association of Southern Africa. Sabrina Dean reports.
NATURE FRIENDLY FARMING REDUCES COSTS FOR POTATO FARMER
Managing plant health and strict water monitoring have paved the way to success for AL 3 Boerdery in Dendron, Limpopo. CT van der Merwe spoke to Lindi Botha about the production practices that keep his farming business profitable.
Controlling Viruses In Lettuce
In South Africa, two viruses are a particular threat to lettuce: tomato spotted wilt (TSWV) and lettuce mosaic virus (LMV). Both can be highly destructive and spread quickly via vectors such as sucking insects and thrips.
New Predator Insects May Help Fight Major Maize Pests
Two newly identified parasitoids promise major benefits as biological control solutions for maize pests in Africa and Europe. Researchers Paul-André Calatayud, senior research scientist at the French Research Institute for Development, and Sevgan Subramanian, principal scientist and insect pathologist at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, wrote about their recent discovery.
Urgent fixes needed for global food systems
In this article, Stuart Gillespie, senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute, writes that the coronavirus disease pandemic presents a huge challenge for food systems, as well as exposing the inequitable way in which these systems operate.
Know The Law Before You Hunt
Biltong hunting, popular in South Africa for centuries, is no longer the free-for-all activity of its early years, but a strictly regulated practice. Hunters and landowners need to familiarise themselves with the legislation, Prof Peet van der Merwe of North-West University told Annelie Coleman.
Is The World Ready For Gene Editing Of Humans?
While gene editing has the potential to reduce human suffering, irresponsible use could be devastating, according to Dr Jamie Metzl, futurist and author. Glenneis Kriel reports.
The Role Of Farmers During The Covid-19 Crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic had brought new appreciation for the pivotal role that South Africa’s agriculture sector plays in the provision of healthy, sufficient and affordable food, according to Derek Mathews, chairperson of Grain SA. He spoke to Annelie Coleman.
When performance fails to live up to breeding values
Discrepancies between estimated breeding values and livestock performance have led some farmers to doubt the accuracy of these values. They are, in fact, excellent indicators, but animals may not be able to reach their genetic potential.
Rebuilding a livestock enterprise after a drought
In this article, Dr Louis du Pisani, national manager for production advice and development at the National Wool Growers’ Association, explains how to carry out post-drought recovery and reconstruction of a livestock enterprise to achieve optimal, lasting results.
Mildew: a major threat to lettuce
In general, the most common lettuce disease that growers have to contend with is downy mildew.
Breeding a resistant and resilient Sussex stud herd
John Viedge of the Lehana’s Pass Sussex Stud has been breeding cattle that survive in some of the harshest redwater disease areas in South Africa. Wayne Southwood spoke to him about how he manages animal health, breeding and selection in his resilient Sussex stud.
Moving From ‘Cheap' To Premium Beef
Wagyu South Africa is investing heavily in research and technology to ensure that South African beef can enter the lucrative, high-value beef export markets.
Your Horse And Lockdown
The national lockdown poses a problem for horses and riders. As a result, the South African Equestrian Federation is in negotiation with relevant stakeholders, says Dr Mac.
John Deere Joins The Fight Against Covid-19
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of John Deere engineers have expanded their search for innovation from making farmers more productive to keeping employees safe. Denene Erasmus reports.
Latest Technology Improves Macadamia Quality Output
Achieving the near impossible, Dian Pretorius reduced unsound kernel recovery in his macadamia crop from 6% to 1,7% over just one season, adding R1,7 million to his profit in the process. He spoke to Lindi Botha about the technology that helped him achieve this improvement.
How Agricultural Economics Keeps Up With The Times
The evolution of agricultural production and value chains requires that agricultural economics adapts quickly to remain relevent and helpful. Prof Theo Kleynhans, head of Stellenbosch University’s Department of Agricultural Economics, spoke to Lloyd Phillips.
Why Kenya Has Banned The Slaughter Of Donkeys
Kenya legalised the trade in donkey meat and hides in 2012. But according to Monicah Maichomo, director of the Veterinary Sciences Research Institute at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation, the country has subsequently decided to ban the commercial slaughter of donkeys. This was after a report published in 2019 warned that the rise of donkey abattoirs in Kenya could wipe out the entire population of these animals in the country by 2023.
The future of pig genetics
Pork producers can look forward to even greater production efficiency, thanks to improved genetics. Jurgens Reynders of DanBred Africa spoke to Glennis Kriel about these gains.