Nico Thuynsma grows a wide variety of fynbos on a 21ha farm in Cullinan, Gauteng. His business, Madibri, is spread out over four properties, each with its own microclimate suited to different cultivars.
When he started in 1997, the entire enterprise was centred on the production of cut flowers, but today this makes up only 30% of the business.
His main focus now is on the cultivation of fynbos, which he sells to other farmers and nurseries. The decision to switch from cut flower production to a nursery operation was motivated by the regular damage his flowers suffered from black frost. This problem and the risk of hail made the nursery operation and production of plants, rather than flowers, a better option in the long run. Moreover, he says, proteas are slow growers. “If you lose your cut flowers to frost, it could mean you have your next crop only in two years’ time.”
The production of plants, in contrast, takes six to 12 months, and is done under cover to protect the young plants from frost and hail. This means a more stable cash flow.
The cut flowers that he does still produce are mostly rare cultivars such as natural hybrids. In total, Thuynsma produces around 37 varieties of protea, eight varieties of Leucospermum (pincushion), 14 of Leucadendron (conebush) and 29 of Erica (heath). He holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Pretoria, which he puts to good use, as he regularly consults with prospective and existing farmers, and presents workshops on fynbos cultivation.
PRODUCTION AND HARVESTING
Thuynsma grows about 5ha to proteas, which comprise 10 000 king, 3 000 Liebencherry, and 3 000 Susara proteas. “We’re not able to plant much more than 5ha due to water constraints,” he says.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Hunger in Africa: problems and solutions
Since well before COVID-19, several major drivers have knocked the world off track in its efforts to end hunger by 2030. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ latest report on food security highlights the need for deeper reflection on how to better address the causes of food insecurity.
Understanding and treating PPID
Pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, sometimes called Cushing’s syndrome, is a common hormonal disease in older horses, says Dr Mac.
Growing onions: Part 6
As with direct seeding, there are advantages and disadvantages to the transplanting of onion seedlings.
‘It's time for NWGA to focus on grassroots level'
Billy van Zyl, new chairperson of the National Wool Growers’ Association, spoke to Susan Marais about his plan to focus on farmers at grassroots level, the challenges facing South Africa’s wool growers, and how the association is helping communal farmers enter the market.
Innovate to survive in the SA wine industry
For many businesses, COVID-19 brought with it tragedy, but for family-owned winery Van Loveren, it has served as a catalyst for change. Susan Marais spoke to managing director Phillip Retief about the way in which the pandemic inspired innovation in their business.
Putting a breeding plan in place for successful cattle production
One of the basic principles of successful livestock farming is the implementation of a seasonal breeding strategy. Prof Frikkie Neser of the University of the Free State spoke to Wouter Kriel about putting a breeding season plan in place, and how to ensure that bulls are healthy and able to perform optimally.
How to control kweekgras in croplands
Couch grass, commonly known as kweekgras, can rapidly take over a land, leading to serious crop losses. Here’s how to beat this weed.
A winning combination of yellow hybrids
Grant Pringle, product agronomist at Pannar Seed, says choosing the right cultivar is one of the most important decisions a farmer makes every year. That is why Pannar provides farmers with a variety of high-performing hybrid platforms to choose from.
From automation to no driver!
Michael and Philipp Horsch from agricultural technology and machinery company Horsch discuss how they are working on developments from task automation to autonomous driving systems.
A symbol of the Cape's early railways
A ganger’s cottage near Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape is a reminder of the Cape Colony’s railroads built from her port cities to the Griqualand West diamond fields during the 1870s and 1880s
How we know
TOBIN HART is a humanistic transpersonal psychologist, professor in the University of West Georgia’s Humanistic, Transpersonal and Critical Psychology program, and co-founder of the ChildSpirit Institute. In the final part of this series, in which he is interviewed by VICTOR KANNAN, Director of the Heartfulness Institute USA, Tobin speaks about the intersection of western psychology and spirituality, in particular the importance of presence, imagination, wisdom, love, compassion, purity, and overcoming spiritual bypassing.
One of my closest friends in my hometown had a love marriage, which many considered to be a rebellious act against our small society.
DR. RICHARD DAVIDSON is a prolific and well-known neuroscientist, speaker, meditator and author. In March 2021, Richie was interviewed by THANGAM VENKATESAN, professor of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin and ANAGHA MATAPURKAR, Ph.D. MBA, about his life’s journey and latest initiatives to bring well-being to humanity.
Contentment - THE ART OF REMOVING AND CREATING HABITS
DAAJI continues his series on refining habits, in the light of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga and current scientific and yogic principles and practices. Last month, he explored the first Niyama of purity, shaucha. This month he shares his insights on that pivotal human quality – contentment, which is known in Yoga as santosh.
Communication: Bridging the Gap
In this 3-part series, LIZ KINGSNORTH introduces the basic principles of Heartful Communication, and how it can guide our understanding of our personal feelings and the feelings of others, ultimately leading to a more consistent state of harmony. In part 1, she focuses on the importance of the quality of our communication.
If You Disagree, You Are Not Listening
DR. ICHAK ADIZES explores the art of diffusing a disagreement, especially when the other party claims that you have not understood them because you are not listening. He uses the technique of mirroring to ensure better understanding and communication.
Our Shared Humanity
“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” —Pema Chödrön
The Pandemic of the Separate Self
DAN SIEGEL is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and executive director of the Mindsight Institute. In part 2 of his interview with UDAY KUMAR, he speaks about intraconnectedness, alloparenting, presence, connection, open awareness, and love.
THE CAB RIDE
I sat in the cab on my way to the airport as the driver zoomed over Delhi’s wide roads. The sun was rising over the horizon as a new day dawned – quite literally, as election day approached the city of Delhi.
Turn It Around
AMRUTA PATEL is a student at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She has been studying Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication and Heartful Communication for the last several months.