The winter season has peaked, slowing down some farming activities in many farming regions. But farmers in the warmer, frost-free regions of the country, such as Limpopo, are taking advantage of the short window period that gives them a competitive advantage over other regions to grow and supply the market with fresh produce.
Mosidi Morule, Ramatlabama, North West
We recently had our very first harvest of potatoes. This was a trial we completed with the Agricultural Research Council funded by the North West Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in an effort to help emerging farmers like us enter mainstream potato production.
We started the project by receiving theoretical training at the Kgora Farmers Training Centre outside Mahikeng. We learnt various aspects of potato production and completed a number of modules (read more about this on page 15). We also learned the different characteristics of potato varieties,
classifying varieties, as well as their various uses. The classes covered growing potatoes in different environmental conditions, choosing sites for planting, the importance of soil preparations, crop rotation, planting time, methods, and spacing.
I planted my first crop here on the farm in Ramatlabama on 22 January 2022. Although the season had a bumpy start with lots of rain and several mechanical problems, the crop turned out okay with a yield of 33t/ha, which was more than three times what we were expecting.
I’m now preparing for my second crop, which I should be planting in September.
We are preparing another 2.5 ha and we’re making plans to install an irrigation system. Fortunately, we have boreholes on the farm. Unlike the last crop, I will use irrigation as opposed to dry land production.
One of the golden rules for potato planting is rotation. I cannot repeat my planting in the same area that I planted in the past season. The land must rest at least another four years before I plant potatoes on it again. I’ll continuously be developing pieces of land until I can come back to the same areas.