Banner Efficient Farming in the Groen Karoo

Efficient Farming in the Groen Karoo

Groen Karoo Besproeiing recently hosted a farmer’s day at Profcon Resort in Graaff- Reinet. This was the first event of its kind in nine years.

According to Herman Loubser, owner of Groen Karoo Besproeiing, the purpose of the day was to discuss everything that affects the type of farming practised in the region. “The focus is on everything from planning to production, specifically in our context.”

With this in mind, the programme included presentations on ground water management, irrigation filtration, subsurface drip irrigation, fine seed planters, soil management and fertilization, as well as cover crops and grazing.

Netafim South Africa was the main sponsor of the day, and also used the opportunity to share valuable knowledge. From his decades of experience, Chris Malan, agronomist at Netafim SA, shared thoughts around the production of lucerne with subsurface drip irrigation (SDI). “A lot of research has been done by Netafim and other role players over the years, and today we have SDI as a tool for efficient lucerne production in suitable areas.”

“The correct measurement and management of ground water are extremely important. As farming community, we must understand our role in managing this resource,” said Nevil Paxton, hydrogeologist at Pivotal Farming groundwater consultancy. He emphasises the importance of determining the true potential of a borehole and planning accordingly. “Farmers must ensure that the correct methods of testing are used to ensure that all calculations can be done with the correct data.” Paxton discussed the relevant testing methods for borehole capacity and confirmed that only a Sustainable Yield Test will reflect the true capacity of a borehole. “The Sustainable Yield Test considers the change of water levels over time and is measured at specific intervals. Contrary to the other tests, recovery readings form a critical part of this yield test.”

Byron La Trobe, Technical Advisor for Netafim SA in the Eastern Cape, Southern Cape and Free State, shared valuable information about drip irrigation and filtration solutions available to farmers through Netafim dealers. He reminded farmers that doing a proper water analysis before planning an irrigation system is crucial to success. “From the water analysis we can determine the total suspended solids (TSS) and consider all other variables in order to determine the correct filtration type and capacity.” He took the opportunity to emphasise the value of disc filtration in irrigation systems. “Although media filters are the best method of filtration, disc filters will remain supreme filtration method in the industry as it is the safest and most efficiency method,” he said.

Watch his presentation here:

Throughout the presentations, there were interactive discussion and Loubser often took the opportunity to remind the attendees that every farming enterprise is unique and that it is important to involve the necessary experts in the planning process as well as the later management of a production unit.

Adriaan Jacobs of Eden Equip shifted the focus to having the right implements for the job at hand. “When planting, the quality of the planting action, putting the seed into the soil, is crucial to the success of the entire operation. The goal is to place the correct number of seeds at the right place in a favourable environment.”

The farmer’s day was preceded with field visits to lucerne production units under subsurface irrigation. Netafim Team members and several farmers visited these farms while Herman Loubser and Chris Malan shared valuable expertise.

Check out photographs from the field visits and farmer’s day.