Trends in animal husbandry innovations
The Innovation Committee of EuroTier, the biennial Germany-hosted dairy, pork and poultry technologies exhibition, recently announced the gold and silver medal winners of the event’s hotly contested Innovation Awards competition. Prof Matthias Schick, the head of the Innovations Commission of DLG (the Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft, or German Agricultural Society), highlights the trends that he and his colleagues noticed among the candidates they evaluated in 2020.
SA's century-old black wattle tannin industy
Although only a niche industry in South Africa, tannin extraction from black wattle bark for commercial applications has been practised here for over 100 years. The country’s largest tannin extraction business, NTE Company, celebrated its centenary last year, and Lloyd Phillips visited the plant to learn more about the complex processes of extracting tannin and manufacturing products from this versatile material.
Paying farmers for predation losses is not the magic bullet for conservation
As long as humans have practised agriculture, they have experienced conflict with wildlife. This rivalry leads not only to the loss of livestock to predation, but also the killing of wild animals in retaliation for the threat to livelihoods. An international group of scientists questions whether financial compensation can solve this issue.
Parasite management: the key to farming Boer goats in the Lowveld
André and Brenda Swanepoel started farming Boer goats as a part-time activity on their smallholding in Mpumalanga. In no time at all, they found themselves running a thriving commercial operation, thanks to an almost insatiable local demand for goat meat. Lindi Botha reports on the enterprise and its future.
Rewriting the rules on apple rootstock longevity
The use of Geneva rootstock CG 778, in combination with regenerative farming techniques to ensure healthy soil, has the potential to revolutionise apple production in South Africa, according to Elgin grower Ian Cunningham. He spoke to Glenneis Kriel about his techniques.
INVASIVE ALIEN SPECIES - Queen of the night: Part 1
With no natural enemies in Southern Africa, this cactus can invade the veld with impunity. The law requires that it be controlled in gardens and on farms.
Building up soil's organic content
In my previous article (see FW, 15 & 22 January 2021), I dealt with the chemical and organic fertilisers that need to be worked into the soil.
An All-new, High-Powered Tractor From McCormick
The adoption of digital technology has been a key force behind farm equipment development in recent years. McCormick’s new X7.624 tractor exemplifies this trend, offering farmers and contractors a highly capable machine with a host of advanced features, writes Stehan Cloete.
The Day That De Aar Turned Into A Circus
The annual arrival of the circus in De Aar was greeted with great excitement. Graham Jooste shares one such visit recorded by the late Hennie Liebenberg, who lived in the small Northern Cape town.
Online Training Gives Wings To Developing Poultry Farmers
The COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns in South Africa have profoundly disrupted education and training of all types in the country, and agriculture is no exception. The KwaZulu-Natal Poultry Institute is adapting to the new normal to ensure that aspirant and existing poultry farmers, as well as their employees, continue to receive top-class training in all aspects of poultry production. Lloyd Phillips reports.
These salads are a celebration of summer, and are perfect to have on their own or as a side. They are also easy to make and super affordable. Bon appétit!
North West farmers extend helping hand to hungry communities
Prompted by their own hardship during a decade of drought, farmers in the Schweizer-Reneke area have recognised the urgent need to help unemployed and hungry families in the local communities. Lindi Botha spoke to Jozeph du Plessis about the farmers’ project to distribute maize meal to the needy.
Backgrounding Beef Animals For Higher Profit
Most South African beef producers sell their weaners straight to feedlots for finishing. Chéri-Lynn Steyn, a master’s student in agricultural economics, explains how backgrounding these animals can increase the income of commercial beef farms and even of the feedlots themselves.
Economic Outlook 2021: Now Is The Time To Build Reserves
After a particularly tough year for its economy, South Africa faces many challenges in 2021. Reduced spending power, credit downgrades, and a second wave of COVID-19 could put a damper on agricultural profits this year, and farmers will need to consider their marketing plans carefully. Lindi Botha shares advice from two of the country’s leading economists.
Good Summer Rain Forecast For SA
Weather experts have predicted above-average precipitation for South Africa’s summer rainfall areas in 2020/2021. Meteorologist Johan van den Berg explained the weather cycles and La Niña/El Niño phenomena behind the forecast to Jeandré van der Walt.
Land Reform 2021: Beware Of Fake News
Land reform in South Africa is mired in policy uncertainty and government neglect. At the same time, it is a political football, kicked around shamelessly by some leaders to serve short-term political goals. Glenneis Kriel spoke to three experts in the field to obtain clarity on this crucially important topic.
Managing calf health for maximum long-term productivity
Prevention is better than cure, and this mindset is especially applicable when it comes to preparing calves for their productive adult lives. Dr Schabort Froneman, technical manager for ruminants at Zoetis, provides some pointers on how to raise healthy calves that can become healthy adult animals.
The stories that got us through a tough year
Farmer’s Weekly editor, Denene Erasmus, looks back at some of the top stories of 2020 that not only inspired her, but also served as an example to all South Africans of the remarkable resilience and determination shown by the farming sector during this most unusual year.
SA Harvest: fighting hunger and food waste one meal at a time
Small beginnings can lay the foundation of great success. This holds true for SA Harvest, a food rescue and distribution organisation. Ali Conn, regional manager at SA Harvest, spoke to Jeandré van der Walt about the organisation’s journey over the past year and its future plans.
Diversifying with a new variety pays off for pumpkin producer
The demand for convenient meals and easy-to-prepare vegetables is opening up marketing opportunities for the Hokkaido pumpkin, a newcomer to South Africa. Small, and with an edible peel, the variety holds much promise for expanding cucurbit cultivation. Lindi Botha spoke to Francois Steyn about farming the Hokkaido.
Citrusdal's hidden treasure
Petersfield cottages, near Citrusdal in the ‘golden valley’ of the Olifants River, offer a farm stay with privacy, stunning views, and utter peace. Brian Berkman reviews a remarkable getaway spot.
Alcohol-free beer is a perfect alternative to fizzy drinks, and is increasing in popularity amongst professional riders around the world, says Dr Mac.
A farm that brings hope
A group of subsistence farmers in the Western Cape have put their differences aside and come together to realise their individual dreams of owning a farm. Glenneis Kriel reports on the launch of Thembelitsha Farming.
A Boer Family In Captivity
Maggie Jooste was just 14 years old when she, her mother and five of her siblings were transported to a concentration camp during the Anglo Boer War (1899 to 1902). Her remarkable memoir of this period, written 60 years later but kept in the family, was recently published by her descendants, who include historian Graham Jooste, our regular contributor to this column.
Boerseep: A Labour Of Love Inspired By Ouma
Making boerseep takes hours, and the combination of ingredients and timing are crucial to the process. After years of searching for a traditional recipe, Esmarelda van der Walt of Bothaville has become an expert at making this pure, all-purpose, biodegradable soap.
Agriculture: The Silver Lining Of A Difficult Year
Leaders in organised agriculture all agree that the past year has been particularly tough. They concur, however, that the outlook for the sector in 2021 is positive, although a number of challenges will need to be overcome.
Improving heat stress management in beef cattle
Anette Theunissen, an animal scientist based at the Vaalharts Research Station, explains the results of a study conducted by researchers at the Agricultural Research Council’s Animal Production Institute, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, to evaluate the use of a temperature-humidity index as a measuring tool for heat stress in beef cattle.
More on earthworms
In last week’s article (FW, 4 December), I looked at the three types of earthworm (epigeic, endogeic and anecic), and their differences and similarities. This week, I’ll explore in more detail the benefits that earthworms provide.
Why the DA views farm murders as hate crimes
During a recent elective conference, the official opposition party in South Africa, the Democratic Alliance (DA), adopted a policy resolution to have farm attacks and murders declared hate crimes and priority crimes. DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard spoke to Annelie Coleman about the party’s decision.
SA farming's dust pollution problem
Frank Eckardt, associate professor of Environmental and Geographic Science at the University of Cape Town, writes that new research has shown persistent emission of dust from the western Free State. Unlike natural dust emission, these dust clouds, which are the result of soil loss, could influence air quality and threaten future food security. One solution would be to consider land-use changes to suppress dust.