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A word from… Jurie Mentz

June 2022

The recent increase in fuel prices and general increase in most input costs is a matter of great concern for our farmers. Farmers have to absorb these costs without knowing what they will get for their products six or eight months later. These rising costs are putting farmers under severe stress.

If someone can be calm under stress, he is referred to as ‘unflappable’. The American actress, Goldie Hawn, said that the ability to remain calm and focused under stressful situations is central to making positive decisions.

Successful farming is an elimination of risks. The farmer must always try to be ahead of the problem and not react because of it. If he reacts because of a problem, he will always be chasing problems.

In my opinion it is important to consolidate and plant cash crops on your best fields in uncertain times and plant pastures for your livestock on less productive fields. A farmer needs to optimise what he has available. In other words, he needs to optimise his farm and operations. Instead of planting everything, concentrate on achieving better yields. 

The four most important factors that influence crop yields are soil fertility, climate, the availability of water, and diseases. To meet these challenges, we need to think long and hard about our production plan and how we can better our plan. The whole farm plan needs to be good.

We seriously need to think outside the box. We as farmers need to produce more from less if we want to survive. One certain way to improve our available fields is to take regular soil samples, apply lime where needed and correct acidity and other deficiencies. Another way will be to make use of crop rotations as they have proved to be better than monoculture in a conventional or no-till programme. It is a common fact that maize after soybeans will lead to a 1 ton per hectare yield increase.

Publication: June 2022

Section: Pula/Imvula