Farming Sector Under Siege By Criminals
The COVID-19 pandemic and resultant national lockdown in South Africa have produced a plethora of negative socio-economic consequences. Amongst these is a wave of crime against the country’s farmers. Lloyd Phillips reports on this phenomenon and on how government’s consistent failures have made a difficult problem significantly worse.
NAMPO VIRTUAL: The show goes online
Nampo Harvest Day has become a staple on the South African agricultural calendar. And while COVID-19 means that the physical event cannot continue, the show goes on.
A well-balanced horse and rider will move rhythmically at all paces in all disciplines, says Dr Mac.
Crop Sprayers, Big And Small
Even though most major agricultural shows have been cancelled for 2020, equipment manufacturers are forging ahead, bringing farmers improved machinery and technology solutions. Denene Erasmus looks at some of the latest releases in crop spraying technology, from large, self-propelled sprayers to small, backpack models.
Getting More Crop Per Drop!
South Africa’s water scarcity and the necessity to import well over one million tons of wheat annually mean that the country’s winter wheat growers increasingly have to optimise their water-use efficiencies. KwaZulu-Natal farmer Egon Zunckel spoke to Lloyd Phillips about his family’s own efforts to achieve higher wheat yield from less water.
Record-Breaking Bull Sale As Richter Simbras Goes Virtual
Simbra stud farmer Chris Richter set a new record price and averaged R95 000 per bull on offer during his 15th production sale in July. He spoke to Sabrina Dean about how the stud will go forward in the age of digital marketing after the success of its inaugural online auction.
Auctions Go High-Tech
Digital technologies are revolutionising auctions, resulting in better exposure for sellers and a broader purchasing base for buyers. Glenneis Kriel reports.
‘Give Us What You Promised' – Black Farmer To Government
Land reform in South Africa has, by and large, been labelled a failure. After 26 years and billions of rand spent on farms and inputs, successes are still few and far between. Solly Letsoalo, a farmer in Limpopo, spoke to Lindi Botha about his experiences over a 13-year period as a land reform beneficiary.
Second-Quarter Agri Expansion Could Be Somewhat Milder
South Africa’s agriculture sector had a solid start to the year, with first-quarter gross value-added figures growing 27,8% quarter-on-quarter (q/q) on a seasonally adjusted and annualised basis.
Lack Of Transformation Bedevils Agriculture
In this first instalment of a new monthly column, agricultural economist Dr Sifiso Ntombela discusses the lack of transformation in South Africa’s farming sector.
SA Sugar's Master Plan: Not As Sweet As It Seems
The much-vaunted, but yet to be signed, South African Sugar Cane Value Chain Master Plan is aimed at getting the country’s long-ailing sugar industry out of its financial difficulties. But as admirable as its goals are, the plan has overlooked a number of critical socio-environmental sustainability aspects, according to Boudewijn Goossens, Bonsucro’s regional director for Africa.
Widespread relief as ban on tobacco sales is lifted
South African tobacco producers, who have suffered greatly since the ban on tobacco products was announced in March, have expressed relief about the lifting of the ban. Annelie Coleman reports.
What SA farmers can learn from Kenya's smallholders
Prof Cyril Nhlanhla Mbatha, director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at Rhodes University, writes that by embracing digital solutions, like those used by farmers in Kenya, South African small-scale farmers can achieve greater market access and be better prepared to weather disruptions.
Sowing the seeds for the future
The South African National Seed Organisation is determined to build capacity in the seed industry to ensure that its members acquire the best talent to take the industry forward.
LAND REFORM: lack of government support at the root of community's struggles
The Mswati Communal Property Association (CPA) in Mpumalanga was one of the earliest beneficiaries of the new South African government’s land reform programme. More than 20 years later, the community is still struggling to get the crucial support from the state that would enable them to grow their farming businesses, says CPA committee member Maria Magagula. She and her daughter, Sanet, spoke to Siyanda Sishuba.
Technological advances are making it easier to weigh livestock and use this information to influence herd management decisions. Glenneis Kriel spoke to a number of experts about the advantages of weighing livestock regularly.
A revered modern saint
Elizabeth Paul was an Anglican preacher and healer whose ministry in the Eastern Cape drew large numbers of people. Today, 56 years after her death and seven years after she was canonised, pilgrims still visit her prayer room in Tsolo in the hope of blessing and healing, writes Mike Burgess.
Bread - Nutella & Chocolate Babka
Babka is a sweet Jewish bread that originated in Eastern Europe. While traditional babka calls for a cinnamon and jam filling, this version, submitted by Janine Ryan, uses the chocolate and hazelnut spread Nutella, and chocolate chips.
Know The Needs Of Seedlings
Different species of seedlings face different hazards and have differing needs; it is wise to take note of these so as to be prepared.
Identifying Non-Host Sweet Potato Cultivars To Combat Nematodes
The root-knot nematode can cause major financial losses for sweet potato farmers if not managed effectively. Dr Kgabo Pofu and Dr Sunette Laurie of the Agricultural Research Council’s Vegetable and Ornamental Plants Institute, and Prof Phatu Mashela of the Green Technologies Research Centre, University of Limpopo, report on trials of nematode-resistant sweet potato cultivars.
Farmer Development Based On Solid Plans
In 2019, professional services company Optimal Agricultural Business Systems (OABS) launched its Integrated Farmer Development Programme to facilitate sustainable transformation in agriculture. Daan Louw, chairperson of OABS, spoke to Glenneis Kriel about the programme.
SWITCH TO REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE
Regenerative agriculture is well researched and documented, but what actually happens on farm level might differ from results achieved during controlled trials. Stehan Cloete provides advice on how to address these challenges and introduce regenerative practices while remaining profitable.
Performance recording in small stock
It takes discipline and effort to record flock parameters, but the data is invaluable in the long run.
‘To profit from pigs, aim for efficiency and quality'
Award-winning piggery owner Khulile Mahlalela says that to maximise profits, a farmer must get the pigs market-ready as rapidly as possible, and produce a low-fat carcass with tender meat. Siyanda Sishuba reports.
Beware of pathogens and pests
As seedlings are the start of the new crop, you need to take every precaution to ensure the plants remain free of pests and diseases. These will not only compromise the seedlings but cause an outbreak after transplanting.
Healthy Yields Start With Healthy Soil And Roots
Biodiverse, nutrient-rich soil is the basis of consistently good harvests. Madumbi, a South African distributor of proven bioproducts, helps farmers build up and maintain optimal soil conditions.
Keeping Records Of Your Animals
Louis Steyl, CEO of the Bonsmara Cattle Breeders’ Society of South Africa, explains the basics of record-keeping, and offers a guideline on how farmers can implement record-keeping processes on their farms.
Mycorrhiza: The Symbiotic Relationship In Soil That Promotes Plant Health
Healthy soil is essential for profitable and sustainable crop production. And a key component of healthy soil is mycorrhizae, root-colonising fungi that send out filaments into the soil to increase plant nutrient uptake. Regenerative agriculture experts Gary Farr and Lindy Anderson explained this amazing symbiotic system to Lloyd Phillips.
The Quest For Healthy Farming Systems
Changing to a healthier production system may pose new challenges, but is worthwhile in the long run. Glenneis Kriel spoke to a number of influencers and pioneers about making the switch.
Finding A Niche Market For Flavoured Cheeses
Kasselshoop, a small cheese factory near Stilbaai in the Western Cape, is a success story that started with a family’s compassion towards fellow farmers in the area. Co-owner Liesel Kasselman spoke to Jeandré van der Walt about the cheese-making venture.