Make a plan to apply top dresser fertiliser

This week crop farmer Michris Janse van Rensburg from South Africa shows African farmers how he made a plan to take the back-breaking labour out of top dressing fertiliser while getting the measurement right at the same time.

Michris designed a hand-held fertiliser applicator for small-scale commercial farmers calibrated to deliver 2.5 g or 5 g depending on crop requirement.

The backpack holds 7 kg which is enough to do 1 400 applications of 5 g each.

Although the fertiliser applicator has been designed for top dressing, it can also be used for basal fertiliser application.

“The farmer usually makes a hole with a stick when he wants to apply basal fertiliser. He then measures the fert into the hole with a coke bottle top,” says Michris. “Now the fertiliser can just be dropped into the hole with the applicator.”

This farmer fertilises his cabbages by hand. He has a digging stick to make the holes, but then he has to bend and place the fertiliser hand measuring every dose, probably from a bottle top.

The applicator comes with three spare discs made from durable plastic. “Let’s say the farmer needs to apply 5.5 g of fertiliser, he can modify a spare disc so that he gets the quantity he needs.”

Michris is a self-confessed addicted planter and doesn’t like to see empty spaces in a land. He grows maize, soya, cow pea and anything else he can think of that will do well in his area. When he is not planting, fertilising or harvesting, he is teaching his young son Jedri how to farm or thinking of how to help other farmers.

Enquiries: Michris Janse van Rensburg – +27 73 454 4111 or

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