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Farmer's Weekly

Farmer's Weekly 06 November 2020

Farmer’s Weekly is an agricultural magazine based in South Africa, targeting the whole of Southern Africa. The magazine is committed to advancing the interests of the region’s farmers and its agricultural industry by serving as a mouthpiece for the industry and by keeping its readers informed of the latest developments in the agricultural sector.

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South Africa
Caxton Magazines
50 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
is another food price crisis looming?

The usual rules simply did not apply this year, and this has also been true for supply and demand trends for food. So far in 2020, we saw a short-lived but dramatic drop in demand for potatoes, when restaurants, caterers and fast-food chains had to close up shop for a period, thus vastly reducing the amount of potato chips that needed to be made. At the same time, there was a fast and furious jump in demand for pineapples when South Africans, deprived of access to alcoholic beverages, developed an interest in home-brewed fruit beers. These strange trends are also reflected in the see-sawing of world food prices over the past six months. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), global commodity food prices fell for…

5 min.
a second ‘evolutionary jolt’ for african cattle breeds

“African cattle breeds are astonishingly diverse, and often quite beautiful. They range from the dark-red Ankole of southern Uganda, with their enormous, heat-dissipating horns, to the Boran, which thrive in the dusty plains of northern Kenya, to Ethiopia’s sturdy Mursi cattle, with their prominent shoulder humps and hanging dewlaps. The Kuri that graze on the grasses of Lake Chad are adept swimmers, the Red Fulani can trudge vast distances along the margins of the Sahara, and the famously disease-resistant Sheko inhabit tsetse fly-infested forests of south-west Ethiopia. All billion or so cattle today descend from the ancient aurochs, an extinct species of wild cattle that once inhabited large swathes of Eurasia. These cattle were domesticated on at least two distinct occasions approximately 10 000 years ago during the Neolithic era: once in South…

1 min.
farmer’s diary

CONFERENCES, WORKSHOPS & EXPOS 6 TO 7 NOVEMBER Environmental Waste and Landfill Management, Emperors Palace, Johannesburg.Email admin@maphosam.co.za. 26 TO 27 NOVEMBER Emerging Farmers and Agro-processing Conference, Protea Hotel Fire and Ice, Menlyn, Pretoria. Email Lindokuhle Nxumalo at lindo@empiretraining.co.za. COURSES & TRAINING 2 TO 6 NOVEMBER Introductory Course in Pig Production, Agricultural Research Council Irene Campus, Pretoria. Email Mpho Makhanya at makhanyam@arc.agric.za, or phone her on 012 672 9153. 2 TO 6 NOVEMBER Sheep and Goat Farming Management, George. Visit rltsafrica.com/product/ nutrition-management-4. 9 TO 13 NOVEMBER Introductory Course in Small-stock Management, Agricultural Research Council Irene Campus, Pretoria. Email Mpho Makhanya at makhanyam@arc.agric.za, or phone her on 012 672 9153. 16 TO 20 NOVEMBER Beef Cattle Production, Groenkloof, Pretoria. Email Agri Skills Transfer at admin@agriskills.net, or phone 012 460 9585. 23 TO 27 NOVEMBER Hydroponics, Buhle Farmers’ Training Academy, Delmas.Email info@buhle.org.za. ONLINE EVENTS & COURSES 3 NOVEMBER TO 5…

3 min.
growing asparagus the right way

42 YEARS AGO According to grower Chippy Brand, the initial costs of growing asparagus successfully could be high, but once the asparagus lands had been contoured and fertilised, expenses dropped considerably, with a corresponding rise in net return. The asparagus would then yield for upwards of 20 years. Brand, of the farm Grace, which is 4km south of the Potchefstroom road, has harvested his first green asparagus from 4ha. From this, he expects a crop of about 7,5t, which should yield a return of more than R7 000 [about R233 000]. His costs will, however, about halve this figure. Eventually, he plans to extend his nursery and asparagus fields and, with the costs of establishing the asparagus behind him, hopes that in five to six years to achieve a target of…

1 min.
a torchbearer for transformation

The passing of Dr Vuyo Mahlati, president of the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa [FW, 30 October], has robbed the transformation movement of a vital vein. A torchbearer of great class, she served the nation on many fronts as a womanist, a corporate leader, an academic, a mentor, a global thought leader and guardian of the cause, a policy sage and a midwife of hope. She was a valued stakeholder of the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) in the implementation of its mandate to grow black economic participation across the country. As an institution, the NEF drew inspiration from her seminal work as it pursued the progressive imperative of unlocking value chains for mainstreaming rural entrepreneurs into global markets, a topic that was at the heart of Mahlati’s doctoral thesis. Her wisdom…

1 min.
a precision agriculture solution

SupPlant, the leading precision agriculture hardware-software solution, has launched a mobile app that allows farmers to control their water budget, be notified about extreme weather conditions on their lands, and monitor their crops from wherever they are. SupPlant’s technology assists farmers in increasing crop yields and reducing water usage. With this system, farmers will be able to monitor and track their plants’ needs from everywhere. SupPlant uses agronomic algorithms, sensors, artificial intelligence and cloud-based technology in order to achieve more resilient crops while saving on resources and increasing yields. With the new SupPlant DSS app, each farmer will be able to access information on each of his/her plots, displays of the past and future irrigation plans, hyper-local current and forecasted climatic data specific to each plot, agronomic insights, growth patterns of trunks…