Farmers’ Diaries: Rudzani Sadiki

June is mid-winter with 21 June being the shortest day and longest night of the year in the southern hemisphere. Summer crops like maize, soya beans, sunflower and sorghum are harvested in winter and June can be a busy month for crop farmers. It’s maintenance and catch-up time for livestock farmers who have planned for their herds and flocks to calve or lamb in late winter or early spring.

Rudzani Sadiki, Dwaalboom, Limpopo

It’s harvest time now. Most of the crop was planted in December, with the last of it planted in February. Sunflowers must have a moisture content of at least 9% before we can start harvesting. We use a special device to determine the moisture.

We’ve used contractors to harvest the crop ever since we started planting sunflowers but this year we are harvesting with machines I recently purchased. I’ve bought the Franco Fabril sunflower harvester header, which is one of the best on the market, to use on the Case 5130 combine harvester, which I also bought this year.

We planted 975ha to Roundup Ready® cultivars Pannar 7102 and Pannar 7160 at a plant population of 25 000 plants per hectare. We have another few weeks to go before harvesting is over. After that we will remove the stalks with a stalk shredder.

The cattle will utilise the crop residue until we start planting again. Land prep starts in October after the first rain with an initial tillage to kill the weeds.

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