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March 2017

Avo demand increases P 3

Shadenetting costing P 5

‘n Bielie van ‘n pampoen Bl 11



’n publikasie van FAR NORTH

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March 2017

Managing phytophthora root-rot Europe’s importing retailers are increasingly putting pressure on fruit producers to minimize the use of pesticides on their crops. Dr Elizabeth Dann of the University of Queensland, Australia, explains that an integrated management approach remains the best strategy to reduce avocado growers’ reliance on pesticides. Phytophthora root-rot caused by the soilborne water mould, Phytophthora cinnamomi, is the most prevalent disease for avocados in South Africa with the phosphonate group of pesticides being the most widely and successful preventative treatment. European importing retailers are insisting on phosphonate residue levels of no more than 50mg/ kg and some insisting on less than 20mg/kg. As most of South Africa’s avocado crop is exported to Europe this is an on-going concern. Dr Elizabeth Dunn of the University of Queensland, Australia told SAAGA research symposium held on 15 & 16 February that an integrated management approach remains

the best practice strategy to reduce the reliance on phosphonates. The key elements of this approach include: Careful site selection and preparation, including adequate soil water drainage to reduce the build-up of free soil water. Selection of rootstocks which are tolerant to Phytophthora cinnamomi such as Dusa and Bounty. Planting Phytophthora-free trees sourced from accredited nurseries. Application of mulches and or composts to improve soil structure, encourage root regeneration and stimulate microbial activity to supress Phytophtora. Optimal irrigation management and tree nutrition, including calcium amendment to suppress Phytophthora cinnamomi, and silicon to improve tree health and fruit quality, and judicious use of chemicals, such as phosphonates and metalaxyl, applied correctly and support by root and fruit residue analyses where available.

Efficient use of phosphonates

When using phosphonate the following can ensure that phosphonates are used more efficiently. The main application window for applying phosphonates is autumn/winter to coincide with root flushing. Another window is in summer but there is some debate on whether this second application is really necessary. Australian researchers are currently testing whether the autumn/winter applications might carry through to summer. Phosphonates can be applied by soil drenching, foliar spray, bark painting or tree injection. ‘Research done in Australia showed that applying phosphonate through fertigation or drenching the soil is not an effective way of getting it to the roots,’ says Dunn. Paints or sprays for young trees are quite efIn order to prevent phytophtora root-rot, growers are advised to plant avofective but Dunn warns that foliar spraying is cado trees on well-draining mounds or ridges and make use of mulches. not a suitable method for treating sick trees. ‘Before spraying, check the pH, it should be 7.2,’says Dunn. South Africa is at the forefront of tree trunk injection with Phosethyl-AI (a phosphonate compound which is the active ingredient in certain fungicides) research and When forced to replant in Phytopthora infested soil Dunn recommends the folthis method has proven to be the lowing steps: most effective in preventing and 1. Improve drainage by mounding treating Phytophtora. 2. Incorporate high rates of organic Nitrogen, such as chicken manure, 6 months Dunn had the following tips on prior to planting, as it has to dissipate properly before you can plant new trees how to apply Phosethyl-Al: 3. Drench nursery tress with phosphonate 0.1% before planting Irrigate the night before as it set 4. Apply metalaxyl to soil surface around tree at planting, then again 10-12 the trees up for a nice sap flow. Inweeks later. ject early in the day or later in the 5. Apply gypsum as a calcium source to soil surface 1 month after planting evening when the stomata is open. 6. Stem paint young trees with phosphonate 3 months after planting Inject every hand-span apart. Angle 7. Apply fibrous mulch soon after planting the drill downwards slightly to give

Steps when planting in phytopthora infested soil

Bulletin FAR NORTH


Dr Elizabeth Dunn

In order to reduce the risk of Phytophtora infections, Phytopthora resistant rootstocks such as Bounty or Dusa is recommended. Always buy rootstocks from accredited nurseries.

maximum contact with conducting issue. Dunn warns against using higher doses with fewer injection sites. ‘There is no lateral movement of the phosphonate around the trunk, it goes up and then comes down,’ she says. ‘You can run into problems of not protecting the roots correctly when using less injection sites and have a too high residue levels in the fruit on those particular branches injected with a higher than recommended dose.’ Less expensive formulations are not recommendable according to Dunn. ‘The actual components might not be up to standard and may vary from batch to batch.’ – Alita van der Walt

Contact: Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, University of Queensland, Australia at

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March 2017

Demand for avocados still growing Despite the growing global supply of avocados, prices for avocados are still rising. This is an indication that the avocado industry has grown to its full maturity according to Dr André Ernst of Allesbeste boerdery. Dr Ernst was speaking at Allesbeste’s annual Maluma day held on 8 & 9 March at Merensky High School. The total supply of avocados to the EU has grown by 68% over the past 8 years,’ said Ernst. ‘In 2008 the EU imported around 1,2m cartons/week, in 2016 this figure has increased to around 2,5m cartons/week. South Africa exports around 14 million tons of avocados a year and sells around 12 million tons locally according to Ernst. The local market has been developed to such an extend that consumers demand avocados to be available 12 months he said. As the demand for, and price of avocados increase

more farmers are looking to increase their avocado plantings or switch to avocados said Ernst. According to the South African nursery association the amount of Photo by Alita van der Walt

Dr André Ernst (middle) of Allesbeste Boerdery with his sons Ernst (left) and Edrean (right).

land under avocado orchards is increasing by around 500ha/year but Ernst estimates this figure to be closer to 800 ha/year. This trend is pushing up land prices cutting down on the profitability of the avocado industry according to Ernst. “We need to update our data every year to see how we are comparing to other industries and what we can learn from them,” said Ernst. “We need new varieties that is more productive, use less water and become less labour intensive.” Currently the avocado industry is employing 4 350 full time staff and needs one labourer per 3,5 – 5ha of orchard. In order to produce 6t/ha avocado orchards, receiving around 1000 mm/year, need to be irrigated for around 16 weeks per year bringing the water usage of avocados to 261L/kg fruit produced said Ernst. – Alita van der Walt

Maluma soon available all year round Dr André Ernst discussed Allesbeste’s businesses strategy to ensure year-round availability of Maluma avocados at the annual Maluma Farmer’s Day, organised by Allesbeste outside Tzaneen, earlier this month. Allesbeste developed and registered Maluma as a new avocado cultivar in 2004 and owns the plant breeders rights for Maluma in South Africa and various other countries across the world. Maluma is harvested in South

Africa from between mid-March to mid-October. In order for the cultivar to grow its market share globally, it has to be readily available throughout the year according to Ernst. To ensure the year-round availability of Maluma avocados, Allesbeste has been sub-licensing nurseries across the globe in both Southern and Northern Hemispheres. With Israel and Spain introducing commercial plantings of Maluma in 2016, consumers will soon be able to buy Maluma avo-

cados right through the year. Maluma is fully protected in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Marocco, the US and Mexico. According to Ernst, applications have been filed for protection of Maluma in Argentina, Chilli, Peru, Brazil, Columbia and most recently Spain and Israel. Maluma trees are also exported to Mozambique, Tanzania and Taiwan under Allesbeste’s South African license. Allesbeste is also in talks with the Phillipense, according to Ernst. The rate at which Maluma tree plant-

ings are increasing in all these countries is proof of Maluma’s commercial success. “By the end of last year 150 000 Maluma trees have been sold globally,”said Ernst. “Based on Allesbeste’s future orders alone, 500 000 Maluma trees will have been planted by 2020.’” – Alita van der Walt


March 2017



The cost of bread, dairy, eggs and maize after the drought 07 March 2017: The agricultural sector has survived the worst of the drought that gripped South Africa in the past three years. The recent rains have however positioned the sector favourably in parts of the country. Paul Makube, Senior Agricultural Economist at FNB Business takes a look at how the drought and subsequent recovery has impacted four basic breakfast foods, namely; eggs, maize, dairy and bread.

Dairy: This industry has seen pastures improving, thereby reducing the frequency for the need for irrigation which translates to lower electricity costs. In addition, supply outlook for grain crops has improved and the subsequent decline in prices from the second half of 2017 indicates a reduction in food manufacturing cost is eminent. Producer prices are expected to approach the long-term average share of approximately 37% of the retail prices. “We should see stable to firmer demand with new marketing strategies to reach more consumers in the country, the re-

bound in the industry following a devastating drought looks positive”, explains Makube.

Eggs: The egg market is stable and producer prices remain at profitable levels. Prices at consumer level have also remained relatively stable with a steady increase on an average of 6% year on year in January 2017. “We’ve seen a lot of suppliers enter the eggs market which has increased supplies and placed profitability under pressure. Nonetheless, producers do have an option to reduce their stocks by shortening the lifecycles of their layer hens. The improved grain production outlook bodes well for feed prices, as feeding margins improve towards mid-year” adds Makube.

Bread: According to statistics issued by the Agbiz, South Africa’s total bread production grew by 12% year-on-year (y/y) in December 2016 to a total of 182 million loaves. The growth came from brown bread, it moved up from 82 million

loaves in January to 90 million loaves. In fact, from October to December 2016, brown bread production was consistently higher than white bread. Prices of loaves of white and brown bread (700g) increased by 14% and 13% y/y at R13.60 and R12.28 respectively. The price of a loaf of white bread however slowed in January 2017, finishing up 11% y/y while that of brown bread was up 13% y/y.

Maize: The price of the staple food, white maize, has for the first time in 2017 fallen below R2 000 per ton currently trading at R1 917/ ton, an advantage for food inflation which has remained sticky at double digit levels of 11.8% y/y in January 2017. The latest production estimates indicates a harvest of 13.9 million tons of total maize with the white variety up by almost 144% y/y at 8.3 million tons. “While this is the first production estimate and is likely to change as the season progresses, our view is that it is likely to improve given the good production conditions. However, the excessive moisture if rains persist coupled with early frost for some areas may result in a

slight downward revision to the current crop estimate in the months ahead” cautions Makube. “The continued fall in maize prices on a year-on-year basis is expected to begin to filter through into the feed prices. Maize is a major input cost component, and a reduction in prices effectively means we will see feed prices begin to slowly stabilise. Agriculture is not out of the woods yet, but it is on its way out of the red and back into the positive”, concludes Makube.

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March 2017

Shadenetting for avo’s, worth the cost? A three year study to investigate and quantify the advantages of growing avocados under shadenetting was recently concluded by Westfalia. Wilna Stones of Westfalia Technological Services reported on their findings at SAAGA’s research symposium. Sunburn and wind damage are the two biggest factors leading to losses in the avocado industry. According to an industry loss factor analysis conducted in 2014, sunburn leads to 27% and wind damage 28% of all losses. Westfalia Technological Services, based in Tzaneen, started with a study to determine the effect of shade netting on minimizing these losses and improve the quality of the fruit, in the same year these results became known. Two shadenet structures were erected over existing orchards in the warm, dry subtropical area of Mooketsi, Limpopo and another in the cool subtropical area of

Wilna Stones of Westfalia Technological Services

Karkloof, Kwazulu-Natal. At Mooketsi, a 4 year old 1 ha orchard, planted to ‘Mendez #1’ (Carmen-Has) on Dusa with two different spacings, 3x3m and 6x3m, was covered with 20% white shade net and green sides. At Karkloof, the 1,6ha orchard, planted to ‘3-29-5’ (Gem) on Dusa, was covered with 20% clear shade net and sides.The trees were spaced 7 x 4m apart. Microclimate and various horticultural aspects were compared inside and outside the shade netting structures over a period of three years. The researchers found that yields under shadenets were on average 3.8 ton/ha higher and volume packed

to class 1 were on average 26% higher over the three year period. Consequently the income of yields under shadenets were between R26 000/ha and R8 000/ha above that of openfield. (See table for more details). According to Stone it is difficult to determine the time it will take to recoup initial and annual net costs. The benefit and potential income advantage of shadenets for the protection of fruit during adverse weather conditions, such as hail, were not taken into account during this study. — Alita van der Walt

Total Revenue: Shadenet vs Openfield Shadenet Open field Year 2014 2015 2016 2014 2015 Total Yield (kg/ha) 16 500 14 720 35 000 14 200 9 190 Sum of ave R / kg R 15 R 15 R 25 R 15 R 15 R Total Revenue R 247 005 R 215 501 R 875 000 R 212 574 R 134 542 R Ave product costs/ ha R 35 344 R 37 600 R 40 000 R 35 344 R 37 600 R Extra Costs - Shadenets R 7 500 R 15 000 R 7 500 R - R - R Total Revenue R 204 161 R 162 901 R 827 500 R 177 230 R 96 942 R

2016 31 000 25 770 040 40 000 730 040


March 2017



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March 2017

Let the machines till the soil

Hannes Brits

You could spend your days tilling the soil, wiping bucket loads of hard work off your forehead while the relentless bushveld sun hints that there must be a better, more economical and energy efficient way. You could risk employing teams of “piece jobbers” to dig that foundation in your stead, or increase your farm labour force at harvest or pruning time. Or, you could save yourself the hassle and pick up the phone. One call to the guys at Laeveld Trekkers will open your business, farming operation or timber plant to a world of expert advice, superior machinery and a marked increase in your production output. If it has wheels, a diesel tank, blades, buckets or claws, Laeveld Trekkers will have it available and ready to do the work you need done, in half the time it should be.

The only thing they don’t supply… are sleepless nights. LVT specialises in forestry winches, loaders and trailer supplies and stock a large variety JCB construction vehicles in Mpumalanga. Their plant hire division provides comprehensive soil preparation services to companies and farmers in the Lowveld. Pay a visit to their website at and browse through their extensive catalogues of agriculture, construction, forestry and plant hiring equipment from the world’s top brands. As the agents for New Holland, JCB, Igland, Facma, Florida and Marinelli you are sure to find the right machine for any

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job no matter the size or intensity. Tinus Malan and Hannes Brits at Laeveld Trekkers in Letsitele are ready and waiting for your call. Come speak to them for sales and parts advice, or just to find out how you can minimize your risk while still completing your project on time.

LVT (Laeveld Trekkers / Lowveld Tractors) truly is your one stop industrial shop. Suppliers of the biggest brands in Agriculture, Construction and Forestry, their expertise in these industries affords them the upper hand in supplying the most reliable and reputable products and machinery. You can trust that their machines are of the best quality, as they only make use of the best brand suppliers that are internationally recognized. So, put down that pick or hoe and find the closest branch to you. LVT also operate in Rocky Drift just outside Nelspruit, Hoedspruit in Limpopo and Hectorspruit, close to Malelane. Laeveld Trekkers – tilling your soil, tilling your future. - Joe Dreyer


March 2017




Ulrich Vosloo en Henry Hoek (VITAS)

Natania Botha (GOSCOR Group)

ele) son Letsit

ey Fergu

ss (Mass

an Ga Nandus v

Gert Olivier en Deon van der Linde

Merensky se skoolsaal sit volgepak in afwagting vir die groot Maluma-veiling

da Ng um (GOS bela en J ea COR Grou n Botha p)

Danna Ve

nter en E

lsie Dege


Heinrich Muller

Michael Esmeraldo, Hein van Graan en Paul van der Berg

Jackie Eland, Chantel Alcock, Stienie Labuschagne, Precious Kobela en Melba Ramokgona.





Bulletin FAR NORTH

March 2017



Bulletin FAR NORTH


Make every drop count with ultra-low flow drip irrigation With the recent drought still fresh in the minds of Limpopo’s farmers, optimal irrigation practices were put in the spotlight at the recent Maluma day held on the outskirts of Tzaneen. Michael Esmeraldo, an agronomist at Netafim, explained that drip irrigation has come a long way over the past 20 years with less clogging of dripper-heads, lower delivery rates and better compensation for water pressure on slopes. ‘The biggest problem we had with drip irrigation in the past was the leaching of water and fertilizer past the root zone as it was difficult to irrigate accurately with the high delivery rate drippers,’ said Esmeraldo. These days the delivery rate of drippers

has been brought down to 1.6 to 2.3L/hour and a flow rate of 5 to 14m/ha/h. The latest generation of drip irrigation technology is an ultra-low flow drip irrigation system using 1L or less water per hour with a flow rate of 2.5 to 3.5m/ha/h. ‘Ultra low-flow drip irrigation lets farmers save on labour costs as irrigation shifts are longer and irrigation is more accurate than with regular drippers,’ said Esmeraldo. ‘Ultra-low flow drip irrigation allows you to irrigate larger areas at a time and improves the soil-water-air relationship.’ But ultra-low flow drip irrigation is not without its disadvantages. According to Esmeraldo the flow path is much smaller and maintenance becomes more important with

ultra-low flow than with regular drip irrigation. Continuous application of Peroxide to the water is a must in order to prevent clogging. The system also requires regular flushing. Farmers must decide which drip irrigation option suits their needs and circumstances the best, said Esmeraldo. ‘Both will work, it’s just a question of which will work best for you.’ – Alita van der Walt

March 2017

Bulletin FAR NORTH

March 2017


Sakata se nuwe generasie grysskil pampoene

— Dit is iets besonders In die markplek is daar ‘n duidelike voorkeur vir grysskilpampoene. Hierdie voorkeur kom van die verbruiker wat hou van die verbeterde smaak en tekstuur terwyl die produsent die voordeel geniet van ‘n hoër opbrengs wat kenmerkend is van Sakata se pampoenvariëteite. Sakata se nuwe generasie grysskilpampoene is Nelson, ’n unieke bostipe met die kwaliteit en houvermoë en Sampson, die ranktipe met ongelooflike opbrengs en kwaliteit. Sampson verkry voorkeur vanaf uitvoerders en verwerkers weens sy voorkoms en kwaliteit. Sampson beskik oor intermediêre siekteweerstand teen “Zucchini yellow mosaic virus”, “Watermelon mosaic virus” en “Papaya ringspot virus”. Sampson is besonders groeikragtig, wat hoër opbrengste en groter vrugte, wat vir tot ses maande gestoor kan word, tot gevolg het. Hierdie eienskappe maak Sampson by uitstek geskik vir verbouing in die na-jaar (koeler seisoen) wanneer die grootste virusdruk voorkom. Gewigsklas: 5 tot 7 kg.

Sampson – eenvormige vrugte met ‘n uitstekende houvermoë Nelson is ’n bostipe grysskilpampoen afkomstig uit dieselfde stal as Sampson, wat aan hierdie variëteit ‘n uitstekende vrugkwaliteit gee. Die kwaliteit van die vrug word bepaal deur die aantal blare op die rank tussen die vrugte. Energie wat in die blare deur die proses van fotosintese opgebou word, word na die vrug getranslokeer waar dit in die vorm van stysel gestoor word. Gewoonlik het bostipes minder blare per vrug. Minder energie is dus beskikbaar en vir hierdie rede beskik die vrugte nie oor dieselfde kwaliteit nie. Nelson is egter die nuutste ontwikkeling in die bostipes waar die teler daarin geslaag het om die blaaroppervlakte te vergroot - die gevolg is beter kwaliteit en stoorvermoë. Produsente verkies oor die algemeen bostipes weens die hoër plantestand en gevolglike hoër opbrengste. Gewigsklas: 4 tot 6 kg. Genetiese eienskappe wat die kwaliteit van grysskilpampoene bepaal Die Skil. Pampoene bly ‘n lewende entiteit nadat dit gepluk is en die proses van transpirasie deur die skil gaan steeds voort nadat die vrugte gepluk is. Indien die skil oor ’n swak waslagie beskik verloor die vrug sy vog in ‘n relatiewe kort periode deur die stoma en word die raklewe en kwaliteit van die vrug hierdeur benadeel. Sampson en Nelson is geneties so saamgestel dat die skil oor ‘n sterk waslaag beskik en hierdie variëteite kan, onder die regte omstandighede, tot 6 maande gestoor word. Dit is veral produsente wat opberg vir beter markpryse, verwerkers van pampoenprodukte en uitvoerders wat hierdie eienskap benut. Die kwaliteit van die vrug word ook bepaal deur die aantal blare op die rank tussen die vrugte. Energie wat in die blare deur die proses van fotosintese opgebou word, word na die vrug getranslokeer waar dit in die vorm van stysel gestoor word. Bostipes het minder blare per vrug, minder energie is beskikbaar en vir hierdie rede beskik die vrugte nie oor dieselfde kwaliteit nie. Nelson is die nuutste ontwikkeling in die bostipes waar die teler daarin geslaag het om die blaaroppervlakte te vergroot - die gevolg is beter kwaliteit en

stoorvermoë. Kontak gerus vir Leon Labuschagne by sel: 083 585 1181, hy kan u van meer inligting verskaf oor hierdie grysskilvariëteite, en beskik oor die tegniese kennis om u in staat te stel om die beste opbrengs en kwaliteit uit u oes te verkry.

AFWYSENDE KLOUSULE: Hierdie inligting is op ons waarnemings en/of inligting vanaf ander bronne gebaseer. Aangesien gewasprestasie van die interaksie tussen die genetiese potensiaal van die saad, die fisiologiese eienskappe daarvan en die omgewing, bestuurspraktyke ingesluit, afhang, gee ons geen waarborg uitdruklik of deur implikasie, vir die prestasie van gewasse relatief tot die inligting gegee, nog aanvaar ons enige aanspreeklikheid vir enige verlies, direk of as gevolg daarvan, wat tewyte aan enige oorsaak ookal mag ontstaan. Lees eers asseblief Sakata Seed Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd se verkoopsvoorwaardes voordat saad bestel word.

Nelson – semi-bostipe pampoen met uitstekende interne kwaliteit


March 2017



SAMPSON Uitstekende raklewe Sterk groeikragtige plante Eenvormige vrugte met klein saadholte Uitstaande opbrengspotensiaal Sakata grysskilpampoen variĂŤteite:



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