March/April 2019 R40.00 (VAT and postage included) RSA Subscription fee: See Inside back page
Serving Africa since 1996 – Recipient of the Africa Agriculture Economic Developer Award
• Green Terrace success story • Dry Bean Farmers in Free State • Growing Peas for Profit Proper breeding of a beef bull • •Marketing Farm Products for ROI • Milling your own feed? • •Classing Wool Properly Youth Agripreneurship • Pig farming economics • New: Agricloud app
Vol 23 no 2
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From Nufarmer’s Pen In this issue the question of skills development for the newcomer and youth in agriculture is once more highlighted. We cannot expect somebody that did not grow up on a farm and worked from childhood next to his father or mother day by day, experiencing all the diﬀerent climate changes, soil management, pest and disease management or diﬀerent animal sciences, to become successful overnight. A medical practitioner has a passion for healing people and goes to study even up to six or seven years before practicing or specialising in a field of medicine. Then afterwards he or she only picks up experience with diﬀerent patients and diﬀerent situations. How much more should one that has the aptitude for farming but never picked up experience of farming put in from his life and his pocket to become proficient in agriculture? Fortunately, today there are many institutions willing to assist young people especially, to learn about agriculture in its many facets. Gone
At ﬁrst light
are the days long past that a person obtained land and started with a bag of maize or a few head of cattle and with meagre experience and some assistance from farmers nearby hoped to become successful. Today agriculture takes much more and with global population growth, food becomes more of an issue than ever before. Therefor we take hats oﬀ to tertiary institutions, NGO’s, commercial and financial entities that oﬀers study loans and bursaries or training and mentorships for a new generation of agriculturists to go into farming or related services to ensure future food production stability. Let us not frown upon somebody asking for assistance to farm if he or she has the aptitude for doing so. Many think they are farmers if they can get land – little of these have the aptitude. Motivate youngsters to find out more about the many directions of study and work that agriculture oﬀers them today! Ed. Jeremiah 5-8 “The Lord says: Cursed is the man who put his trust in mortal man and turns his heart away from God. He is like a stunted shrub in the desert, with no hope for the future. But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord his hope and confidence. He is like a tree planted along a riverbank, with its root reaching deep into the water. People often diﬀer about the Bible and would only remark God is a God of love. Indeed so He is, but God also hates sin. As a farmer you love nature. Really? What about the jackal that preys on your sheep, the timid bollworm that destroys your maize crop? Murderers, thieves and other sinners belong in Hell, most people would say. No! Jesus also died on Calvary with two murderers. Only, the one confessed to Jesus and asked for forgiveness and He forgave him before they all died. So all these ‘bad people’ in the world today were already died for and their sins (even to be) paid for by Jesus’ blood. Only, they need to confess their sins and turn away from their evil ways in order to inherit Eternal Life with Jesus and His Father! It is that simple. Bless your farming enterprise and your families! The message is for all of us to be ready and able to speak to people about the Saving Power of Jesus Christ at all times but not to be jealous if under the preaching of someone else he/she accepts Jesus as Saviour. Simple, isn’t it?
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Nufarmer Africa | March/April 2019
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Cover pic: A farmer with his beef breeding bull and heifers – more about this on page 4.
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Relevancy on emphasis Nyadzani J Mulaudzi ARC- Animal production Kaonafatso Ya Dikgomo Scheme
for a proper beef breeding bull
breeding bull must conform to specific consistency in order to uphold anticipated farm production. This applies across all sectors of beef cattle producers, from the seed stock, commercial industry right through to smallholder/ communal sector. Truly so because this form a vital link to achieve business objectives, and ultimately potential to effect an investment returns well marked for business sustainability. Production A mature, fertile bull, almost a three-year and older can service a little over 30 cows during an entire breeding season to ensure a successful conception rate of the female herd, while a young bull can be assigned to 25 females to accomplish the same rate. Failure to accomplish this might adversely compromise an entire annual calving crop, particularly where pregnancy diagnosis is not performed, such that one might consider re-mating some of the empty females. A bull can be carefully selected based on its breeding values and sound functional efficiency to bring about desired results, such as improvement on fertility and weight. A bull that will compliment optimal resource utilisation by enhancing kg/ha/year production in accordance to carrying capacity. It has a genetic potential to correct cowherd milk production through its daughters. A bull can bring relief on dystocia incidences based on its genetic ability to bred birth weight that conform to the cow herd, hence positive impact to possible calving mortality rates. The availability of feed resources and a particular fodder flow plan will determine a suitable frame type for a specific environment. Factors that assist to measure bull fertility and eﬃciency Breeding values are statistical values and assumptions worked out from combinations of consideration such as, animals’ own performance against performance standards within a contemporary group. Other factors might be the historical background based on pedigree information, functional efficiency/visual appraisal, age and also semen quality and quantity. A bull that fail to detect a cow on standing heat must be condemned
and replaced to evade production catastrophe. It is a rewarding exercise for farmers and breeders to understand to what extend do specific characteristics are heritable in order to estimate possible expectations, thus timely decision making. In addition, it is pertinent to be aware about correlations that might arise with regard to particular breeding decisions.
not only help to sustain seasonal breeding but, also a mechanism to enhance libido, which is necessary during mating. In contrary, it is alleged that bullocks tend to develop allegiance relationship, a behaviour of familiarise with each other for a long time such that they do not resume anticipated duty of mating with cows when required during breeding period.
Environmental influence that aﬀect bull’s performance prowess Physical fitness and structural soundness of a bull is affected by several factors, some of which are exposure to and inability to withstand these effects. Injuries, sickness, nutritional status are among the factors that adversely influence a bull’s performance. Care must be in place to encounter such stressful conditions that hinder an animal to perform to its potential. Anarchy is a social phenomenon that exists among bulls, often observed instances of multi sire breeding system. In this case, stronger, infertile or sub-fertile bull might prevent fertile bulls to service cows, thereby results in less conception rate.
Physical appearance As partially pointed out above, visual appraisal is viewed as paramount to all animal enterprises for valid reasons. Just to mention a few, movable and sheen skin is recommended for its ability to shakeoff and repel nuisance parasites and insects. Ability to swing its switch to both sides for the same purpose also complements this factor. It is advisable to rid of animal with suspicion for any traces of knocked-out and knocked-in legs. As well, must always check for outgrown hooves so that necessary remedial action can be performed, normally trimming them as this causes discomfort to animal to add on health hazards.
Resting The practice of allowing breeding bulls to rest does
A well pigmentation around exposed organs It is pertinent in strongest term to sternly keep out reproductive organ deviations such as hypoplastic, chriptochid and sheath/ length. Though not related to fertility, pigmentation on exposed parts of an animal such as eyelids is highly recommended to evade certain complications. Over- and under-shot jaw must be timely identified and culled as these pose serious feeding complications. A hypoplastic testicle & lack of pigmentation, often a left testicle is small or missing A proper breeding bull should be well masculine, its head and shoulder must bring out distinction between a bull and female animal, proportioned body confirmation to outline its capacity for beefy hindquarters. Such characteristics often passed onto its progeny.
A hypoplastic testicle & lack of pigmentation, often a left testicle is small or missing
A well pigmentation around exposed organs
Lack of pigmentation around exposed organs
Nufarmer Africa | March/April 2019
FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE
Note: People cannot get sick from Foot-and-mouth disease
Why is it important? Farmers lose money because sick animals lose weight, do not grow and produce less milk. Young calves may die. Large amounts of money is used to control the disease, such as building and maintaining fences and testing animals for the disease. Countries that do not have the disease will not buy animals, meat or meat products from South Africa when the disease spreads through the country. Source: DAFF Directorate: Animal Health Policy, Norms and Standards Division
here does foot-and-mouth disease occur? In South Africa, buffalo in the Kruger National Park have the disease but show no signs. Sometimes cattle on farms around the Kruger National Park can get the disease from buffalo that escape from the Park. To stop the disease from spreading, the area around Kruger is fenced off to separate these cattle from the rest of the country. This area is called the Protection Zone. All cattle in this area are inspected and some are vaccinated (by the government) to protect the animals and prevent spreading. Foot-and-mouth disease Is a serious disease that spreads easily. It is caused by a virus. The virus is found in all body fluids such as saliva, urine, faeces, milk and in the air that is breathed out by all diseased animals. Animals get this disease when eating or breathing in the virus from these body fluids. People can also spread the virus by dirty/contaminated clothing, shoes, hands and car tyres. Animals that can get sick are mainly cattle, but pigs, goats, sheep and other cloven-hooved animals, including wildlife, can also get the disease.
What are the signs? Blisters and sores in the mouth (gums, lips and tongue), are raw and painful, making it difficult for the animal to eat and often causes drooling. Blisters and sores between the toes and where the hooves join the skin, can cause the animals to limp and not want to walk around. Sometimes they may lose their claws or hooves.
What to do when animals get the disease: • If you see any signs of Foot-and-mouth Disease in your cattle, immediately contact your Animal • Health Technician or State Veterinarian. If the disease is present, your animals (and animal • products) will not be allowed to move to other areas without a movement permit from the • Provincial Veterinary Office. • The government may decide to vaccinate the healthy cattle when there is disease in the area. For further information contact your nearest animal health technician or state/private veterinarian.
BECOME AWARE OF BRUCELLOSIS
For further information, contact your nearest animal health technician or State/private Veterinarian.
Figure 2: Picture of branding brucellosis positive cattle.
ovine brucellosis, caused by Brucella abortus, is reported across all nine provinces of South Africa, especially in the central and Highveld regions. Bovine brucellosis mainly causes abortions in cattle and can infect most other mammals, including humans. Brucellosis may occur in persons who are exposed to infected animals, particularly through aborted and normal foetal material of infected cows and through the consumption of unpasteurised milk. Symptoms in infected persons include fever-like symptoms, night sweats, fever, extreme tiredness, depression, aches in bones and joints, especially the lower back, hip or knee joints. All female cattle between the ages of 4-8 months have to be vaccinated against brucellosis with a registered product to help protect the national cattle
Nufarmer Africa | March/April 2019
herd. Vaccination helps to decrease shedding of Brucella bacteria from infected animals. This helps to limit the spread of brucellosis within a herd and decreases the infection pressure. Always use vaccines according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Contact your private veterinarian or state veterinary services for more information. Vaccination is one of the important tools used to control and prevent brucellosis. Vaccination of all female calves between 4-8 months is required. Do not vaccinate male cattle. Know your status! Test your cattle herd for brucellosis. Only buy cattle from recently tested, brucellosis negative herds and ask for proof. Don’t share grazing with untested cattle and ensure that your fences are intact. If you have brucellosis in your herd, follow the advice of your State Veterinarian to get rid of the infection as quickly as possible (branding, separation, vaccination and slaughter). Delays in action against the disease will increase losses and prolong quarantine. Source: DAFF Animal Health and Animal Health Division.
Brucellosis Symptoms in infected persons (foto van elmboog, knie, heup, ens)
Figure 1: Picture of aborted fetus Vaccinations: brucellosis disease
DOES IT PAY TO MILL YOUR own feed?
The short answer is: “When you save enough to have a payback on the equipment and operating costs and have money left in your pocket considering risks and opportunities.”
n this article we shall attempt to put this answer in perspective. Feed can be mixed with a spade provided the correct ingredients are all milled and a proper, scientifically designed ration is mixed.
This would make the capital cost to be recovered only that of a hammer mill and it would really only be about the ingredient cost and labour. If capacity becomes higher, it becomes worthwhile to invest in feed milling equipment and so does the stakes to ensure the animals get a properly mixed ration. So, let us look at the ingredient cost first. In a poultry and swine ration for instance, the two main ingredients in most of sub-Saharan Africa are maize and soy beans with around 50- 65% maize and 15 - 35% soy beans and some wheaten / maize bran. Soy bean meal may be defatted or full fat. The soy bean meal also needs to be cooked either through extrusion or roasting or may be bought in as “low fat /
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defatted / soy bean oil cake meal” or “full fat soy bean meal”. Maize requires milling. All other ingredients would be bought in, already in powdered form such as feed lime, urea (in the case of ruminants) and wheat bran for instance. Prices paid for these main commodities are normally SAFEX related and can be purchased at most Co-ops throughout the country. The smaller quantities purchased may attract a slightly higher price than that of the major feed mills and while those large buyers may have a strategic buying program to minimise prices, so can the farmer if well informed, buy his required tons on the futures market and get delivery from the Co-op in accordance with anticipation of market trends. The price of feed from feed mills is far less elastic than that of starch for human consumption, which has strong political undertones. In other words, feed companies can increase their prices without it making headlines and in most cases will not lose customers either as large customers are often tied into a feed company in several ways. Small ingredients being the vitamin /mineral premixes can include lime, MCP, Methionine, Lysine in ready to add packing. Again these are world commodities and prices may vary somewhat but not much if proper shopping is done. Three month’s rations can easily be delivered or collected at relatively low cost, considering that a ton of such a premix, would be sufficient for some 239 tons of poultry feed or sufficient feed for 66,000 broilers over a 38 day cycle. Considering an average retail price of R5.75 per kg. for poultry feed through the cycle ( 4th quarter of 2017 SAPA statistics small/ commercial farmer) and raw material price in that same period of around R3,25 per kg., at least R2.52 is spent throughout the distribution chain or some 43%. Based on the same
Nufarmer Africa | March/April 2019
Nufarmer Africa 239 tons of feed in the previous paragraph, this would amount to some R602,280 in gross profit, of which the following needs to be considered and deducted before a decision can be made: Capital cost on a 1 ton per hour Hippo mini feed mill from ABC Hansen with pelleting and one 30 ton silo completely installed at site including electrical switchgear: R650,000 excl VAT. Instalment cost over 60 months for the said plant at 11.5% interest: R14,295 per month or R18,107 over a 38-day cycle. Possible additional delivery charges on soy beans and maize: 239 ton/30 loads x R40/km x 50km = R15,920. Electricity at 60Kwh x R2/Kwh (high rate) x 239 hours = R28,680 per 38-day cycle. Labour at 3 additional persons at farm labour rate = R18,375 per 38 day cycle Rent in farm shed: 100 sq meter @ R20/sq/month = R2,533 per 38 day cycle Maintenance and repair – approximate 20% per cycle of instalment cost = R3,620.
tons feed per month on one shift / 22 days. Savings would amount to some R215,000 per month. If you are interested in mixing your own feed, ABC Hansen can furnish you with scientifically designed and registered rations. Should you manufacture feed to resell, you need to register your own rations – we can assist with this process. Is there any reason not to contact ABC Hansen today at www.abchansenafrica.co.za or info@ abchansenafrica.co.za or call 012 803 0036.
Total cost of milling operation per cycle of 38 days: R87,235 Saving of R562,765 or 40% off the feed bill. This is the difference of being competitive or not. Actually about surviving or not. Hippo Mill’s Mini Feed Milling plants starts at 500kg per hour - sufficient to produce around 100
Save big on your feed cost. Payback in less than one year. Training and expert nutritionist formulations supplied. Complete Mini Feed Mills 500kg/hour with pelleter starting at less than R250,000 ex VAT.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 012 8030036 Nufarmer Africa | March/April 2019
Facilitating transformation in agriculture I
n the Harry Gwala District Municipality of KwaZuluNatal, Harry Gwala Agri (PTY) LTD, a non-profit organisation was founded by commercial farmers in an attempt to formalise and drive the sharing of skills, the imparting of valuable experience and where possible, the providing of financial support for their neighbouring smaller-scale farmers. Now 18 months after inception, the initiative supports several projects in the district which tackle food security, provide much-needed mentorship, drive internship programmes and source sponsorship for aspiring farmers. The fundamental principal of Harry Gwala Agri is not that of handouts but rather to act as a facilitator for providing aspiring, local farmers with skills development and to support the unique demands of existing projects in the district, by sharing of commercial farmers’ knowledge, networks, experiences and access to finances in order to alleviate the crippling poverty in the district. “As commercial farmers, we can no longer live as islands of prosperity amidst a sea of poverty. We can no longer farm alongside others who are unable to do the same because of past injustices. We need to take action,” says founder chairperson of Harry Gwala Agri, John Bredin. The “end” goal of Harry Gwala Agri is for farmers to become self-sufficient by the imparting of skills resources from more experienced commercial farmers explains Project Manager Dylan Weyer. “For many years in the district, local farmers have been involved in projects assisting their small-scale neighbours but these were often unsustainable as commercial farmers are very busy and the demand from so many small-scale farmers very high; Harry Gwala Agri is a formalisation of all of these projects under one umbrella, spreading the resources of knowledge, information and expertise to include more commercial farmers and invested sponsors who all want to be a part of the solution,” says Weyer. As such the focus of Harry Gwala Agri is to initiate and support household-level food security projects, to strengthen agricultural-related education by
establishing and assisting student internship programmes, and to partner with commercial farmers, including beneficiaries of the land reform process, through the establishment of mentorship relationships and the garnering of support from the business sector. Current projects supported by the organisation include an internship in-service training programme for agricultural students at Esayidi College in Umzimkulu, placed by Harry Gwala Agri on local farms in the surrounding district with a monthly stipend sourced from sponsors.
Another project, which began as a Highflats farmer assisting an employee to grow vegetables on her garden plot in Mazabekweni, a neighbouring community, has grown to include over 50 households with the same approach of sharing knowledge and expertise spreading to neighbouring communities and has seen the birth of a similar project in Umzimkulu. Mentorship is a vital component of the Harry Gwala Agri focus and one such project is the Celokuhle Timber Dairy Farm Trust in Swartberg which under >>> to page 14
Nufarmer Africa | March/April 2019
How to obtain consistant broiler quality through the right formulated feed During the Broiler Breeder Workshop held in 2018 interesting information was shared by international guest speaker, Dr Leonardo Linares on Trace Mineral Nutrition in Broiler Breeders.
r Leonardo Linares said eggs contain macro and micro minerals at different concentrations in the yolk and albumin. The hatching egg consumes minerals from the yolk during incubation. During the last days of incubation, yolk mineral levels are low, and accordingly consumption of those minerals by the pre-hatch chick is low. Embryo mortalities are highly correlated to vitamin and mineral deficiencies during different stages of incubation. A 1 cm of chick length advantage at day of hatch can result in 264 grams more bodyweight, with 45 grams more breast meat yield at 38 days of age, hence the importance of yolk absorption. Egg shell colour influences hatchability; pale eggs have a lower hatchability. Availa minerals improve shell membrane, quality and darkens the colour. Availa Fe fed to broiler breeders improves breeder hatchability and fertility as well as broiler weight.
Nufarmer Africa | March/April 2019
Broiler FCR is improved with added Fe fed to Breeders. Egg Se concentration can be influenced with dietary Se source and levels; increased egg Se levels improves oxidation status, epithelial tissue integrity, egg quality, reproduction, immune function and feathering. Availa Cr maintains performance in heat stress situations. Recommended Availa mineral levels for broiler breeders contains: • 40 ppm Zn AA + 40 to 70 ppm from Inorganic source • 40 ppm Mn AA + 60
to 80 ppm from Inorganic source • 7 ppm Cu AA + 7 to 10 ppm from Inorganic source • 40 ppm Fe AA as Total replacement • 0.2 ppm Se AA + 0.2 ppm from Inorganic source • 0.6 ppm Cr AA as Total. It is in the interest of the broiler producer to, make sure the feed he uses for his birds is made up by the correct formula to obtain good quality, consistently in every broiler house. Source: Chemunique
Youth Agripreneurship the missing dot to smallholder agricultural development One of South Africa’s huge macroeconomic challenges is high youth unemployment currently sitting at 52.40% (StatSA, Q1:2018), which in the long-run might cause unrests, increased crime and other social problems amongst communities throughout the country.
orld Bank (2018) report indicated that, the unemployed especially the youth tend to lack necessary financial resources and mobility for a job search or ability to relocate, as jobs could be located far. It undoubtable that there is an urgent need to create viable economic opportunities to engage youth and then later let them take charge. The high rate of youth unemployment is not the only challenge they face. Age can trigger societal stereotypes that try to make youth a liability rather than an asset, in many societies older people perceive young people as lazy and playful. In some instances, younger generation is also viewed, as the lost generation just because they are doing things in an unconventional way. Due to these and other reasons, hierarchical structures inside communities prevent youth from ownership of assets or inclusion in decision-making processes. Some of these challenges lead to poor youth participation in the agricultural sector and the current stakeholders are aging which is a threat to sustainability of the existing programmes and food supply. Some of the reasons for poor participation of youth in agriculture is lack of exposure to opportunities in the sector, lack of access to
arable land, lack of access to funding and industry information and statistics. However, the message dissemination packages in encouraging youth participation in agriculture could also be a hindering factor. However, to some extent youth is guilty as they are not being proactive and do not show interest in agricultural activities. Young people are an integral part of any country. They present an asset and a future for the country. In South Africa, they represent about 35.7%% of the population (StatSA, 2018). It is time young people increase participation in mainstream sectors such as agriculture. Undoubtably the 1940s generation who are the most talked about by politicians these days the likes of Steve Biko and Thomas Sankara, etc - were active and achieved a lot in their youth days. Thus, increased participation of youth and exposure to opportunities that exists in the agricultural sector will result in development and sustainability of the sector. Young people have energy and are technology savvy, willing to take risks and in recent years, they have acquired different skills through formal and informal training in agriculture. Due to the country’s political history, young blacks are raised by a generation that believed in seeking employment rather than creating employment themselves. They also regarded agriculture as a risky and a slow income generator and this requires a total mindset shift. A larger number of unemployed youth lack exposure to business opportunities that exist in the sector. Some of these youth went through internships in different institutions, but they perceive it to be a preparation for employment. Doing things, the traditional way in the struggling economy will not better young people’s lives. Youth need to be prepared to also start their own agricultural businesses through the value chain, which will present an opportunity (such as sustainability, ICT etc.) much needed by the sector, as it is facing a
number of challenges (i.e. climate change, disease outbreak) that need new innovative solutions. A large number of scholars have highlighted the importance of entrepreneurial competency development among youth as a solution, which this article supports and emphasizes for agricultural graduates. A handful of young agriculture graduates have been considering Agripreneurship, if they do it as a last resort, it mostly leads to failure. This is because they are not motivated sufficiently and the agriculture business keep on changing every day and it needs commitment. Youth agripreneurship has the potential for innovative solutions in order to transform agriculture and commercialize smallholder farmers. What makes promoting youth Agripreneurs a good idea is because an entrepreneurial mindset contributes to a company’s competitive advantage and is necessary for creating wealth. Even in uncertain environments, entrepreneurs can identify >>> to page 14
Nufarmer Africa | March/April 2019
DB O N A
Nufarmer Africa | January/February 2019
REGENERATIVE FARMING MADE SIMPLE
WHY THE NEED TO REGENERATE & RESTORE DEPLETED SOILS? • Loss of soil fertility causes low crop yields, high input costs and failed farms. • Use farming methods to recapture environmental health. • Harsh farming methods have created dead and lifeless soils as natures processes were neglected and replaced with synthetic quick fixes such as water-soluble salt-based fertilizers and using toxic poisons for pest and disease control. BACK TO BASICS: HEALTHY SOILS GROW HEALTHY PLANTS, THAT RESIST PEST AND DISEASE & SICK SOILS GROW SICK PLANTS THAT HAVE TO BE SPRAYED WITH COSTLY CHEMICALS FOR RESCUE Thus, use the following time-tested organic methods to build optimum soil quality: MULCH • Prevents water loss and soil erosion, • Suppresses weeds • Keeps soil temperatures constant. USE THESE AS MULCH: • Leaf mould made from your produce off-cuts, trees and garden leaves. • Use mulch of straw, animal bedding, pruning, bark or exotic trees wood chips, pebbles or stones, or nut shells. • On large scale farming use live mulch such as, green manures, groundcovers, legumes. WHY USE COMPOST? • It is essential in the organic farm. • It retains moisture, • Builds good soil structure, • Aerates soil, and • Feeds earthworms and microbial soil life. This beneficial soil life returns the favour by protecting plants from disease-causing pathogens, tilling the soil and converting compost to humus and minerals to plant food. • All these processes are vital for healthy crop growth.
SOURCES OF COMPOST: Convert trimmings from packhouse, garden and household waste into compost. Top up with quality compost from commercial supplier of reputable quality. For depleted soils regenerate soil fertility by sprinkling 250ml per square meter of Fertilis Earthworm Castings and tilling into the soil. This is made from pasture fed dairy manure, cleaned and converted to rich humus by special earthworms. FERTILIZE production areas regularly with a natural balanced fertilizer which replenishes all the nutrients required to grow healthy crops. If we expect crops to flower and produce in abundance, we need to give them the food to do so. In most areas of South Africa, soils are naturally low or deficient in nutrients to ensure long term healthy growth. Allcropswillbenefitfromagoodorganicfertilizer added to up nutrient status of soils. Theorganicfarmerknowsthatundernourished plants are vulnerable to attack by pests and disease. Talborne Organics, Vita Certified Organic Fertilizer Range are the natural alternatives for organic and ecological growers and farmers. PEST & DISEASE CONTROL Do not spray toxic chemicals on food as residues of poisons in foods are causing serious diseases in humans such as cancer, autism and allergies. Do not spray poisons as they disrupt the insects and soil food chain which sustains life on the farm. Proven organic alternative’s to poisons such as Biogrow can assist to control insect outbreaks without disrupting the ecosystem. USE WATER WISELY Water is a scarce and precious natural resource, and all life depends on a constant supply of pure clean water. Sadly, we have treated our water sources with contempt as raw sewerage and industrial waste is discharged into rivers and overuse of synthetic fertilizers leach salts and excess nutrients into underground water, rivers and dams. Our water sources are sick with pollution and contamination.
We need to change our own and societies’ approach to water which should be viewed as a finite resource and a blessing. Make conscious changes in the way you use water. South Africa is a land of low rainfall and scarce water resources. Plan your farming and choose crops accordingly. Indigenous crops are better adapted to SA’s conditions, and many of the worlds’ best loved plants such as rooibos, geranium, buchu, Proteas and bulbs originate in SA. Food for Health Ecological growers and farmers should strive to become as self-sustainable as they possibly can. Our modern-day quest for health has proven healthy food as the base of good health. Not only does food supply us with essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals to build strong bodies, but other components from fresh produce such as enzymes, antioxidants, essential fatty acids and fiber are preserving our health. Freshly picked fruits, vege-tables and herbs are known to contain vastly more of these beneficial properties, and nothing compares to the flavor of homegrown. Produce grown organically on your own farm, plot or garden gives you the assurance that your family’s food is safe and not contaminated by toxins often used in commercial growing. Garden Centres stock the Healthy Living Herb range of interesting vegetable and herb seedlings, fruit trees and berries, and a wide range of seeds, organic composts, fertilizers and sprays for great food garden successes and at a fraction of the price of bought produce. Ecological farming and growing is a family affair as life skills such as caring, responsibility, self reliance and reward are taught in a natural environment. Environmental awareness and the wonders and love of nature are observed and respected on your own farm or garden.
Imagine your impact on the greater good of mankind! Source: Talborne Organics
Nufarmer Africa | March/April 2019
Economic Considerations for Pig Farming
In this new series on pig farming for new and existing pork producers, we are looking at the basics of the sector and what it takes to become a successful pork producer.
large enough area must be available for erecting the necessary pig and other buildings. It is also important to have land available where manure can be stacked in windrows to dry. Before venturing into pig farming you should accurately determine the money needed to buy and erect fixed and movable assets. Profit and loss account of a pig farmer Essential fixed assets • Land • Room or shed where feed can be mixed and stored. Equipment can be stored in the same room • Housing for the farmer and his workers, if appropriate • Pig housing as set out in chapter on housing • Water facilities, including pump, pipes, taps, drinking nipples, reservoir and boreholes (if necessary) • Self-feeders • Feed scale • Security fence and entrance gate • Truck • Roads Important movable assets • Truck for transporting pigs and feed • Ten or 20
pregnant gilts between the ages of 10 and 12 months • Two or three young boars between the ages of eight and 12 months • Additional feed requirements It is important to note that pigs are only sold 11 months after the first pigs were introduced onto the farm. You must therefore have enough money to buy the necessary feed for the pigs until an income can be generated from selling them. Young sows, bought when six weeks pregnant (8 to 12 months old), should produce two litters of 10 piglets each during their first 11 months on the farm. To feed the sow and the pigs she produces will require about 4,5 tons of feed for the 11 months until the first pigs are sold. Boars eat about 2 kg of feed per day and therefore 660 kg of feed is required to feed a boar during the first 11 months. Production cost Feed cost Feed is always the biggest cost factor on a pig farm and amounts to between 60 and 80 % of the total production cost. Everything possible must therefore be done to keep feed cost as low as possible. It is important to: • use well-balanced feed mixtures that are mixed for specific pig groups on the farm (for example creep feed for piglets and a growth mixture for growers) • prevent feed wastage • save on feed cost by mixing your own feed • buy feed ingredients at the lowest possible price • farm with good-quality pigs that have the ability to produce pig meat with a low fat content and can therefore utilise their feed efficiently.
A saving of as little as R10 on a ton of mixed feed will save R3 on the production cost of a 90-kg pig. The production cost can be further reduced by R30 if 10 % is saved on the quantity of feed fed to produce a 90-kg pig. Other costs These include: • Labour • Transport • Fuel • Veterinary costs • Medication • Washing detergents • Slaughter fees • Repairs and maintenance • Replacement animals Feed requirements It is important to know how much feed is required for your pigs. Feed is the biggest cost factor on the farm (60 to 80 %) and therefore the most expensive cost item. The total quantity of feed that must be fed to the different pig groups must be known if a profit is to be made. On a well-run pig farm with good-quality pigs kept under good farming conditions the following guidelines can indicate to the farmer whether the performance of his pigs is adequate. Sows • During the dry and pregnant period2 kg/day for 285 days 570 kg • During lactation8 kg/day for 56 days 448 kg Boars 2 kg/day for 365 days 730 kg >>> to page 15
Nufarmer Africa | March/April 2019
Nufarmer Africa <<< Youth agripreneurship from page 10 and exploit new opportunities that allow them to impart meaning to ambiguous and fragmented situations (Averrez and Barney, 2002). Entrepreneurs are able to achieve the economic goal with the operationally feasability by taking calculated risks to seize an opportunity or meet an unsatisfied need in hope of establishing a sustainable business. The development of youth Agripreneurs in the country may function as a driving force in the social and economic stability. Studies have shown that Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) are inherently more risk takers than big business; they are great sources of innovation, creating new markets and creating employment. The National Development Plan also projected that by 2030 SMMEs would be able to contribute 90% of all new jobs. Potential Approach The first process that needs to be addressed for youth is to expose them to opportunities that
exist in the agricultural sector, opportunities such as logistic, value chain management, training of farmers, marketing agents, external managers, agro-processors, ICT development, pricing experts, business and innovation managers. These elements of the agribusiness are missing in transforming the sector and successfully commercializing smallholder farmers. Incorporating youth in the decision-making process within the value chain could help them initiate enterprises and participate in the sector. Youth entrepreneurship can be made easier by enabling environments that have multi stakeholders facilitating Agripreneurship awareness, access to resources and development of skills. Entrepreneurialminded youth may provide success and facilitate strategical use of agricultural sector resources. They will bring new ideas and creativity, be risk takers, continue learning, allow change, adopt technology, and be agents for commercialization of smallholder farmers.
These set of individuals will relieve a huge burden from the government, as they won’t be bringing temporary solutions. Young people are the future leaders and still want to create wealth therefore when profitable opportunities are presented to them they will embrace and work hard. However, like any other initiative, it will be important to deal with the participants’ mindset and make them understand the nature of agribusiness and erase the microwave tendencies (quick fix solutions). Successful youth Agripreneurship can be achieved when organizations who are already shaping young people in becoming better researchers through programmes such as internship expand its strategy by providing training, which will include entrepreneurial competency development. This would have to be done through partnership with other stakeholders who are experts in entrepreneurship, financing services and land affairs while the ARC only train youth on what they are experts on.
farmer who approached Harry Gwala Agri for assistance. The organisation sourced sponsorship from agri-businesses to cover the costs of the scheme and paired the farmer with a neighbouring farmer to provide mentorship. “Mentorship is important and we hope in time more and more commercial farmers see the value in what we are trying to do. Building relationships between these farmers, aspiring farmers, with people in government and other key agricultural role players, and then facilitating these relationships in order to improve the lives of those in agriculture, is at the heart of Harry Gwala Agri,” said Weyer. CEO of the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union,
Kwanalu, Sandy La Marque commended the organisation for its proactive approach and positive attitude in taking national priorities such as education and food security and turning the tide of the local economy through tangible actions. “The fact that commercial farmers have without question been willing to go far and beyond the extra mile without hesitation shows the commitment to playing a key role in land reform and agrarian transformation. What is needed is partners who are willing to commit their resources – financial and other to ensure that transformation can grow and be replicated throughout the province,” said La Marque.
<<< Facilitating tranformation from page 8 the mentorship of a local farmer is currently milking over 80 cows, has 239 head of cattle, grows timber and through the support of the Agribusiness Development Agency has seen the development of a new dairy and a pivot irrigation system. Another successful mentorship project involves a dairy milking 150 cows on a 120-hectare farm in Donnybrook where a 10-year-old mentorship between an aspiring farmer and a neighbouring commercial farmer is proof that with support, the sharing of knowledge and expertise, commercial farmers are vital in the land reform process. Another project involves the implementation of an irrigation scheme for a Hlutankungu vegetable
Small-holder cotton farmer training Smallholder cotton farmers listen to a training oﬃcer on site.
ack of knowledge and expertise among smallholder cotton farmers are major constraints that impede growth in the emerging cotton farming sector. Cotton requires significantly more management input and specialist skills than most other field crops traditionally grown by small-holders.
In response, Cotton SA has established a formal training program for small-holder cotton farmers. The training program was successfully launched at the Lowveld College of Agriculture at Nelspruit in 2001. To increase training capacity, training facilities were also established in all the small-holder farmer cotton
production regions elsewhere in South Africa. The formal skills development program meets various unit standards at NQF level 1. It is organised in four five-day modules, synchronised with the normal crop production cycle and presented over a 12-month period. The subjects covered in the four modules are: Introduction, soil preparation and planting Plant protection, pests, diseases and weeds Pre-harvest crop preparation, harvesting and grading Financial management The courses cover both theory and practice. Around 60% of the course content has practical application. Course content is taught by experts from across the cotton industry who share their knowledge with the groups in training. By the end of the 2016/17 training season, 1121 small-holder farmers have attended the courses. CottonSA is an accredited training institution. The courses receive primary funding from the AGRISETA as well as contributions from industry and local government. Source: Sustainable Cotton Cluster – a programme by Cotton SA
Nufarmer Africa | March/April 2019
Bringing Sustainability into Farming Sustainability in agriculture is imperative for food security. The strategic goals of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) include the generating of knowledge and technologies for the conservation and utilization of natural resources, and the dissemination of such knowledge and technologies to the benefit of farmers.
outh Africa is one of six African countries participating in the InnovAfrica (Innovations in Technology, Institutional and Extension Approaches towards Sustainable Agriculture and Enhanced Food and Nutritional Security in Africa) project, funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 framework. The aim of the 4-year InnovAfrica project is to assist small-scale farmers in climate change adaptation through implementation of sustainable agricultural intensification systems. The ARC, as the implementing agent in South Africa, selected five villages at QwaQwa and one village at Harrismith in the Maluti-A-Phofung municipality of the Free State Province to participate in the project. Field trials are being conducted to validate and upscale the maize-legume cropping system and to improve maize and legume varieties. To increase yields, training is provided on the importance of analyzing soil samples prior to planting and to prepare the soil properly. The results of soil tests and the targeted yields are demonstrated to make the correct choice and application of fertilizers. Farmers are encouraged to monitor the field trials to identify any pests and disease infestations that need to be eradicated before they can cause permanent damage to crops, resulting in a decline in yields. Herbicides and pesticides are applied at
planting to suppress weeds and to curb the effect of cutworms, respectively. Manual rainfall stations were installed at the study sites and the farmers educated on the importance of keeping rainfall records. They were also trained on how to measure rainfall using a rain gauge. The ARC team and government extension officers disseminate innovative skills and knowledge to involve farmers through workshops and training
events. Platforms like this are helpful in encouraging upcoming farmers and creating a community network of farmers who assist each other and are accountable to one another. Through projects such as InnovAfrica, sustainability can be achieved in South African agriculture.
Piglets About 80 g/day for 28 days (1,5-7 kg for 0-28 days of age) 2 kg
Feed required per pig marketed in one year (kg) Suppositions: Each sow weans 20 marketable pigs per year Each boar serves 15 sows per year
Weaners About 800 g/day for 42 days (7-25 kg for 28-70 days of age) 34 kg
Sow (1 000 kg/20 piglets): 50 Boar (730 kg/20 piglets/15 sows/boar): 2,4 Piglet: 2 Weaner: 34 Porker: 64 Finisher: 130 Total 280 These figures are approximate estimates and can vary between 270 kg or less and above 300 kg. Feed costs are in excess of R1 000/t of feed or more than R1/kg. Every 1 kg of feed saved on a marketable pig therefore extends the profit margin for the farmer by R1. The importance of keeping the quantity of feed required to rear market pigs as low as possible
cannot be overemphasised. Cost structure changes on a daily basis. No attempt is therefore made to attach monetary values to the economic aspects discussed here. Readers interested in costs are advised to consult the South African Pork Producersâ€™ Organisation. SAPPO
ARC-Soil, Climate and Water
<<< Economic considerations from page 13
Porkers About 1,6 kg/day for 40 days (25-50 kg for 70-110 days of age) 64 kg Finisher pigs About 2,6 kg/day for 50 days (50-90 g for 110-160 days of age) 130 kg
Nufarmer Africa | March/April 2019
Nufarmer Africa While crop monitoring might be a tedious task, it is an activity that can assist in maximizing yield.
At the Forefront of Crop Monitoring I
t is important to be at the forefront of crop monitoring in order to produce a high-quality crop. It is essential to commence monitoring immediately after the seeds begin to germinate and to continue as often as possible during all subsequent growth stages of the crop. 1A walk through the field enables one to spot any problems such as pest and disease infestations. These can then be corrected before they cause permanent damage to the crop, resulting in a decline in yield. What to look out for when monitoring? Different insects and diseases can severely affect maize and dry beans during crop establishment and subsequent early growth, causing crop damage and reducing yield. The most common pests and diseases in the eastern Free State Province are: Rust – First appears as small yellow or white slightly raised spots on the upper and/or lower surfaces of leaves. Those spots enlarge and raise further to form reddish-brown or rust-coloured pustules. Maize stalk borer – The most serious insect pest of maize in South Africa which has caused enormous crop losses. Cut worms – These cuts and kill the germinating seedlings at the ground level.
Moles and locusts – Other pests/animals that often disrupt the growth of maize. What could go wrong? Nitrogen deficiency – Causes reduced growth and general yellowing of the leaves. Solution: Apply nitrogen fertilizer either through top-dressing or sprinkler irrigation. Phosphorus deficiency – Causes stunting of the plant with small dark green or purple leaves during early growth. Solution: Apply phosphate fertilizer either through top-dressing or sprinkler irrigation. Waterlogging – This can cause crops to wilt. Solution: Dig a farm drainage ditch. Hail damage – The amount of crop damage caused by a hailstorm will depend on the intensity, size of hail stones and duration, as well as the plant type and stage of development. Solution: Use indigenous knowledge? Although major events such as hail or flooding cannot easily be prevented, one can still spray pesticides to control pests or diseases. What to spray and when to spray? A pre-emergence insecticide such as Diazinon, in combination with Pyrethroids such as Allethrin,
Permethrin or Cypermethrin, should be sprayed on the soil during planting of both maize and dry beans to prevent cut worms. Maize should be sprayed against stalk borer after 8 weeks from emergence using a post-emergence insecticide. Dry beans should be sprayed against bollworm and rust after 4-6 weeks from emergence using a post-emergence insecticide such as sulphur, copper and Kung Fu. These insecticides should only be applied in dry weather when no rain is forecast until at least 4 hours after spraying. It is important to note that the pesticides recommended here are referred to by their chemical name. At an agricultural dealer, products based on these chemicals will be sold under different trade names in different formulations made by different manufacturers. The instructions on the pesticide container must be followed carefully to avoid damaging crops and prevent potential harm to people’s health and the environment. Also, it is important to use clean water for the dilution of the insecticide since muddy water reduces the effectiveness of the active ingredient. For more information please contact: Dr. Mokhele Moeletsi Research Team Manager: Agrometeorology ARC-Soil, Climate and Water
Waterlogging Phosphorus deficiency Crop monitoring
Maize stalkborer damage Mole and locust damage
Nufarmer Africa | March/April 2019
Lambing management systems explained Semi-intensive systems Drifting system Ewes are mostly kept in camps smaller than in the extensive system and pregnant ewes are daily moved to another camp, while those with lambs stay behind. Should a four-camp system be used, the newly born lambs and their mothers remain alone together for three days, during which time bonding takes place. On the fourth day, they are moved to a large lamb flock and the pregnant ewes then moved back to Camp no 1. Pregnant ewes rotate between camps until the end of lambing. If possible, ewes with single lambs should be separated from those with twins. This system is very practical and controllable. It can definitely contribute to the lowering of lamb mortalities provided the concentration of ewes with lambs per given unit area is not too high. Small-flock or small-camp system In this system, smaller lamb camps are used and the ewes and lambs remain in there until lambing is over. The small camps must be easily accessible and preferably not be more than 5 to 10 hectares in size. In the Bredasdorp area, farmers successfully make use of camps of 1 to 1,5 hectare. Electric fencing can be most useful. There must preferably not be more than 25 to 30 ewes per camp in the case of twins, and 40 to 50 ewes in the case of single births, with
a maximum of 10 to 18 ewes per hectare. Where ewes are not scanned it is recommended that ± 35 pregnant ewes be put in a small camp. Farmers profess that lamb theft increases with this system if ewes are put in lamb camps according to lambing date. This is possible where marking material (margarine-ochre mixture) is smeared on the chest of the ram and the colour is changed weekly. It is consequently recommended that ewes be divided into the lamb camps as they arrive. This system has a lower labour input with limited lamb mortalities. It is important that ewes in both semi-intensive systems (drift and small flock systems) be moved at least 14 days before lambing to the lamb camps so that they can adapt to the grazing and can become accustomed to people. Both these methods have the advantage of ease of supervision and therefore feeding as well as problems of pregnancy and lactation amongst ewes can be well monitored.
lambs. Although this system is labour intensive, lamb mortalities are limited (should be less than 10 percent). It is not yet sure if this system in all its aspects is economically viable. Source: Flock Management Programme
The intensive system With this system, the ewes, after they have lambed, are individually penned in pens of approximately 1,4 x 1,4 m with a height of 1,09 m to protect them against the elements (cold, wind, rain and heat). Pregnant ewes are kept in camps near to the pens. The ewes are left alone with their lambs for at least two to six hours before they are put into lamb pens. The system makes it easier to identify ewes and their
“World Soil day” at ARC-ISCW A farmer in a donga caused by soil erosion – precious land that is gone forever. Prevent soil erosion early on your land – do not overgraze.
workshop to celebrate the annual World Soil Day was held on 5 December 2018 at the ARC-Soil, Climate and Water campus in Arcadia. The ARC supported the World Soil Day initiative by partnering with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) to host presentations and discussions under the theme “Be the Solution to Soil Pollution”. World Soil Day is an initiative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and is promoted annually worldwide in conjunction with the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS). Soil condition is facing a challenge that, if not urgently addressed, will lead to serious threats to our country. This requires a series of scientific interventions and the ARC is recognised internationally as being one of science institutions at the forefront of educating communities about the challenge the world is facing. In the agricultural sector, soil plays an integral role in providing food to animals and human beings alike. It is one of the most
Nufarmer Africa | March/April 2019
important and precious natural resources, and cannot be replaced. However, soil remains one of the most neglected and abused of those resources. The level of soil erosion and other forms of degradation is reaching alarming rates. This is a major concern for the agricultural sector as one of its cornerstones is under pressure. To produce good quality food, one needs good quality soil. However, the agricultural sector finds itself competing with sectors such as mining and housing for soil and its benefits. Unfortunately, the agricultural community constantly finds itself on the receiving end of this dilemma as it has the responsibility to feed and sustain humanity. Without good quality soil, human beings will not be able to survive in the long term. Another challenge that agriculture is facing is the use of industrial mechanisation to work the soil, which can cause soil compaction and lead to the land becoming unmanageable. Under natural conditions, soil is capable of
supporting all ecosystems on earth. As soon as human activities take place, however, factors such as over-population, incorrect agricultural practices and uncontrolled mining activities start to degrade good healthy soils. Aspects such as the degradation of soils by outside polluting substances, erosion by wind or water, or other factors such as salinity, acidification and compaction all pose significant threats to South African soils. The ARC recognises the importance of soil in the agricultural space and is on a mission to encourage and teach farmers and food producers, commercial and smallholder alike, to take better care of this most important resource (along with water) in the sector. The ARC is currently running a campaign to encourage farmers to start practising climate-smart agriculture strategies and tactics nationwide under the leadership of soil scientist, Dr Garry Paterson from its Soil, Climate and Water research campus in Pretoria.
LOOKING AT THE Economy of Dairy farming A
s with any business, large or small, a business plan and budget must be in place and carefully considered with all possible parties involved – especially the farmer’s bank. A budget is the financial tool a farmer uses to plan his future income (i.e. money paid to you) and expenses (i.e. money paid by you). The main aim of the dairy farmer is to make maximum profit. Profit is the balance when your expenses are deducted from your income. The budget enables the farmer to take timely actions when either his income drop or his expenditures get too high. Before we discuss the expected income and expenses of the dairy farmer in more detail, a few aspects regarding a budget should be clarified. The usefulness of a budget depends largely on its correctness and realism. One can fairly accurately estimate the inputs and the costs involved in a dairy enterprise. When are the inputs necessary? The inputs refer to the expenses that have to be incurred. The following is an example of one such expense. If you have 50 cows that have to be inseminated once a year and the cost of one dose of semen is R20(figures are used to explain only and are not current prices or values), it is easy to estimate that you will have to spend R1 000 on semen. Your budget should, however, also be realistic. This means that you will have to keep in mind that a number of cows will have to be inseminated twice before they
become pregnant. It would be realistic to estimate this number on ten out of the 50, which means that you will have to spend R100 more on semen and the estimate would rise to R1 100. It is far more difficult to estimate your expected income. If you have 50 cows which on average produce 20 litres of milk per day, your expected yield is 1 000 litres per day. If you budget realistically, you will have to consider the facts that you might be forced to cull one or more cows, that the production of others might decrease, due to mastitis or other illness, etc. It is therefore more realistic to estimate your daily yield at an average of 15 litres per cow per day. Normally, one would use averages when determining expected yields and production prices. You should, however, be extremely careful not to depend too much on averages. Climatic conditions in South Africa are not always predictable and could have a big influence on, for instance, the production cost of crops. You should therefore always take a certain degree of risk into account and preferably be a bit pessimistic when estimating production costs. Although there are various types of budgets, the only one to be discussed is the so-called cash-flow budget. This type of budget is used to forecast the cash flow (i.e. money that is available) of your farm. The following is indicated by a cash-flow budget: • When and how much cash income is generated? • When and how much cash expenditures are incurred? • When cash surpluses or shortfalls occur.
• • •
When and how much credit should be obtained? What the credit is needed for? The time and number of repayments.
The cash-flow budget therefore forms a sound basis for financing and exercising financial control of the cash position of the farming activities, based on a comparison between the actual and planned cash inflow and outflow. What are the advantages of a cash-flow budget? A number of advantages have already been mentioned. The following could be added: It provides a guideline for farming expenses. The farmer knows how much money is generated by the business and how much is spent and on what. It helps to provide for large unforeseen expenses. You will know in advance what money has to be spent on costly items, such as a new milking machine. It helps to prevent impulsive purchases by the farmer. Buy only those items that were budgeted for. It helps the farmer to make decisions on credit requirements and repayment conditions. If an expensive item cannot be paid for in cash, you will know in advance to make arrangements for credit and also know when to make repayments. Bank managers often require such information as contained in the cash-flow budget before granting a loan. By: Willem Steenkamp
Nufarmer Africa | March/April 2019
AGRICLOUD APP TO ASSIST MAIZE FARMERS
his year’s abnormally hot weather conditions are challenging for planting summer crops, with negative impacts on the change of standard planting dates and eventually on crop yields. Adopt climate-smart agriculture principles and make use of the AgriCloud App to determine the best planting dates for your farm. WEATHER AND CLIMATE INFORMATION The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) - Soil, Climate and Water focuses on the use of weather and climate information and monitoring for the forecasting and prediction of the weather elements that have direct relevance to agricultural planning and the protection of crop, forest and livestock resources. The Agro-Climate Network & Databank is maintained and safeguarded in the national interest. Conservation Agriculture (CA) is one of the climate-smart agricultural approaches that is recommended to mitigate the effects of climate change. It aims to achieve sustainable and profitable agriculture and is based on optimizing yields, profits and livelihoods. The three main principles of CA are: Minimal mechanical soil disturbance • Diversified cropping, including cover crops • Permanent organic soil cover – mulching WHAT IS AGRICLOUD? AgriCloud is an App for android phones and available from Google Play Store. Users of feature phones can also access the App via a USSD service (dial *134*8383#). Some of the unique features of the App include: Dynamic new information on a daily basis • Availability in 9 official languages • Location specific • Collects weather observations using crowd sourcing AgriCloud guides maize farmers to select optimal planting dates for their specific farm locations across southern Africa. The information is based on rainfall patterns received over the previous 10 days and forecast rainfall for the next 10 days. The App also advises on weather conditions conducive for good spraying (against pests and diseases) periods for the next 3 days, thereby contributing towards increased crop protection and production. Visit the Google Play Store to download the AgriCloud App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.r4africa.agricloud&hl=en (Please use Google Chrome to open above link) ARC-Soil, Climate and Water Mr. Obed Phahlane, Rain for Africa Team Member; Tel: 083 534 7735 or e-mail: email@example.com
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Nufarmer Africa | March/April 2019
UNDERCOVER FARMING CONFERENCE 2019
SAVE THE DATE 9 - 10 OCTOBER 2019 WESTERN CAPE Contact Suzanne 082 832 1604
More info: www.undercoverfarmingexpo.co.za