It’s February, and the country has enjoyed great summer rains after almost a decade of dry summers. But while it is a blessing, much rain also presents farmers with unique challenges. African Farming went to find out what our farmers are busy with during this wet month.
GRAINS AND OILSEEDS – Sinelizwi Fakade, Ugie, Eastern Cape
In February we are completing our spray programme for our young maize crop – mainly chemicals to stimulate growth and pesticides for the young maize crop. Some of the early soya bean varieties have already formed pods. Harvest will start in late March or early April.
The maize will tassle this month, so we must finish our spraying programme. With the soya beans going into pod fill and the maize tassling, care must be taken to control pests and diseases – we’ve already picked up some bollworm.
After the recent rains we’re also spraying the maize for grey leaf spot and rust – these can reduce yield by 0.5t/ha. We’re already applying for the next crop financing, which must be in by April, and drawing up next season’s budgets. Once financing is approved, we’ll order inputs by July. We also plan to upgrade our storage facilities and construct a new dam.