A word from … Johan Kriel
At the time of writing this message, it was planting time in the country’s summer grain region. However, planters were in storage because it was too wet to plant with our area drenched in the rain that has been falling almost daily. Crops already in the ground are drowning. This has made me aware of how easily circumstances can change. The Covid-19 pandemic and unrest in July 2021 also showed us how vulnerable we really are.
Producers will have to dig deep, think innovatively and plan for the future. Here are a few guidelines:
- Know what type of farming operation you want. You cannot plant maize on a sheep farm in the Karoo.
- Know the potential of your lands. With the rising input costs, you can no longer take a chance on low potential land.
- Moisture conservation is critical if you want to plant successfully.
- Modern tillage practices work. Removing compaction layers is essential to unlock your soil's full potential.
- Cultivar selection and planting dates are important to get your harvest started on time.
- Upgrading tractors and implements is vital to get the job done on time.
- You will have to contribute part of your production capital yourself as it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain full production loans. Expenditures must therefore be strictly monitored.
- Arrange your grain marketing on time and make sure you know the market.
- Chemical weed and pest control must be handled with great care so that you can deliver a safe, healthy product to the consumer.
- Extend a helping hand to a neighbour or co-producer to support him through a difficult time – or help a beginner farmer to get started.
- You are responsible for the safety of your family, workers, land, grazing and animals.
Farming, producing food and seeing something grow out of nothing remains one of the most valuable, most satisfying occupations on earth. Do not waste the opportunity you have been given.
Publication: March 2022