maize; inputs

Farmers’ Diaries: Njabulo Mbokane

Maize and soya beans

Njabulo Mbokane, Ermelo, Mpumalanga

I lease two farms: I plant vegetables on one, and 100ha of maize and soya beans on the other. In the past few weeks I have been busy with the contractors on both farms. I use contractors because I do not have my own machines. I work with FarmSol and have been part of its incubation programme, which supports farmers working towards becoming sustainable.

As part of this programme, we join their commercial supply chain and are contracted to supply raw materials for their production. Their agronomists have been advising me on planning, soil tests and procuring inputs. Soil preparation starts this month and we must decide whether or not to rip again. I’d planned to do no-till or minimum till this season.

Last year we deep-ripped, so we may only need to disc and plant. We struggle with gerbils, so for pest control I use a home-made mixture of crushed maize mixed with old cooking oil. I mix this with rat poison and spread it on my fields before and after planting. We are also repairing fences – a challenge when you have livestock.

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