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A WORD FROM… Johan Kriel

June 2023

Another interesting planting season has again kept the whole grain industry on its toes. The rains came early and continued for a long time. 

Soil preparation was challenging, and tractors and oxen alike had their work cut out for them in the muddy conditions. Opposite conditions were experienced during December and January with a severe heatwave that also caused a scare. 

With that said, our programme always teaches that farmers need to prepare their lands early, keep them clean from weeds, focus on reserving soil moisture as far as possible and to always stay within the optimal planting window. 

Well, this season had other plans in mind and showed us just how challenging farming can be as well as the importance of being adaptable. Even the largest commercial farmers indicated that this was one of the longest and most difficult planting seasons that they have ever experienced. Luckily crops are resilient, and most of the crops recovered very well.

Here is something to think about: Knowledge, experience and innovative thinking = adaptability, irrespective of scale. A farmer needs to be adaptable to change to be able to survive in unforeseen circumstances. 

To acquire these traits as a farmer it is imperative that you build your knowledge base through training, the gathering of information, critical thinking and forging solid partnerships. 

I am almost certain that many of you felt helpless when you could not get into your lands to plant or to do weed control. It is important to know that everyone was in the same boat and felt exactly the same. Always remember that if you do not have immediate neighbours who are innovative and resilient, there are always people such as Grain SA, input suppliers, representatives and agribusinesses who work with many farmers in your area and who can advise you on what the best thing is to do in your circumstances.

Stay strong and we wish you an abundant harvest!

– Johan Kriel is the regional development manager for the western Free State region. 

Publication: June 2023

Section: Pula/Imvula