Understanding the environment goes a long way in protecting crops

Sinelizwi Fakade, a young aspiring farmer in the Eastern Cape is a real go-getter. When Angie Khumalo, presenter of Mzansi Wethu’s show, African Farming, visited his farm, she was impressed by his passion for agriculture, and how he not only farms for his own benefit but works hard to uplift the youth and to help them find their way in the agricultural sector.

Fakade does his own research before planting crops, which impresses Dr Kulani Machaba, Regulatory Leader at Pioneer. Fakade also mentioned that he learns a lot form his seed company.

“They help me a great deal, and I appreciate their advice.”

Khumalo wanted to know from Dr Machaba what a farmer should do to make sure that the seeds he plants produce optimal yields in accordance with their genetic potential.

“Before a farmer decides on buying seeds, he or she has to do a lot of research,” he said.

“The first step would be to check for diseases and pests in your environment, so that you can order seeds that are pre-treated with the right kind of pesticides. This will go a long way in controlling these pests. Also, one should have a very good spraying programme and good agronomic practices to support these crops in reaching their genetic potential.”

There are a variety of spray programmes available for genetically modified and normal crops that can be applied prior to planting, at planting and after planting. Spray procedures should support the farming system chosen by a farmer. There are, for instance, differences in the spraying procedure for a no-till system or a conventional crop production system. That is why it is crucial to consult an herbicide supplier or agent before undertaking any programme.

It is important to timeously control a potentially bad infection either prior to plant or after planting, to prevent major economic losses.

Doing research beforehand will go a long way in helping a farmer develop an effective weed-control programme. It is important to be well informed on the particular types of weeds that grow before and after planting, so that the experts can give the correct advice in order to find a workable solution.
Understanding one’s environment will help to manage these challenges more effectively. Know what the climate changes are all through the year.

Once an environment is well understood, one can consider buying local seeds that are more adaptable to the environment. The best seeds for a farm will be varieties that have adapted to such an environment. Using an adaptable variety increases a crop’s resistance to changes in the environment. This will result in a high yield with reduced expenses.

For information: phone Pioneer, 012 683 5700; send an email, info.rsa@pioneer.com; visit www.pioneer.com/za

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