All Posts By

Mark Hawksworth

NO TILL CONFERENCE 2019

By | Conferences and Training | No Comments

Book your place for the annual No-Till Conference  to held on from 3 – 5 September 2019 at the ATKV Drakensville Holliday Resort, Drakensville, Kwa Zulu Natal. The theme for this years conference is The Regeneration of Agriculture Responsibly – by adopting The No-Till CA System. Bill Crabtree from the Australia is this years international guest speaker and will discuss “Why is residue so important?– biologically, chemically and physically”,  ” What are the best crop rotations?” and ” Soil Chemical Fertility Restraints”. This conference provides a comprehensive program, some of the speakers include Prof Charlie Reinhardt discussing  “The controversy around glyphosate – how much based on facts and how much based on perceptions?”;  Dr Philip Theunissen  speaking on “Should soil conservation be on your balance sheet?” and Deon Schroder discussing “Sugarcane farming: Changing a paradigm” I you have an interest in Conservation Agriculture and improving the productivity of your soil, this conference provides and excellent opportunity to meet research scientists and farmers who will share their experiences and learnings on how to successfully reap the benefits of No-Till farming. Motivational speaker Quinton Coetzee will address the delegates on Wednesday evening on “Head, Heart And Guts – Examples from the World”. Take advantage of the Early Bird Registration which lasts until 26 August 2019 to avoid the late registration fee. For more information on the principles and practice of no-till farming and the No-Till club visit: www.notillclub.com Conference Programme: http://www.notillclub.com/images/2019 NO-TILL CONFERENCE PROGRAMME.pdf Registration forms: 2019 Delegates Registration  

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Soil Fertility & Plant Nutrition Symposium 2019

By | Conferences and Training | No Comments

Book your place for the FERTASA  Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition Symposium to held on 21 & 22 August 2019 at the CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria. The symposium theme is “Back to Basics for the Future”. Some of the guest speakers include Prof Jude Odhiambo covering Soil Origin and Variability; Chris Gazey from Australia covering Regenerative Agriculture; Prof Leon van Rensburg covering Physical Soil Properties: Electro Magnetic Induction; Dr Johan van Biljon covering Plant Nutrition: Principles of Fertilization and Pius Floris from Plant Health Cure, Netherlands, covering the Difference Between Soil Biology & Root Biology Full Symposium Programme: http://www.fertasa.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Final-Programme_Day1and-2-2019-Symposium.pdf Individual Registration: https://gallery.mailchimp.com/82ec9305f615ca6c7de03c7d5/files/d45f6fea-f506-4ec5-8e04-6d2a6494c441/INDIVIDUAL_Registration_Form_2019.01.pdf  

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SOIL ACIDITY, LIMING, Ca and Mg NUTRITION WORKSHOP

By | Conferences and Training | No Comments

If you haven’t already done so, book your place for the Soil Acidity, Liming, Ca and Mg Nutrition Workshop to held on 22 May 2019 at the CSIR Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa. Guest speakers include international expert Dr Doug Edmeades, AgKnowledge covering Evaluation of Products for dealing with Soil Acidity and Ca + Mg Nutrition, Dr Neil Miles, Consultant, covering Principles of Soil Acidity, Liming, Ca & Mg Nutrition, Dr Mart Farina, Consultant, covering Soil Acidity & Liming situation in Kwazulu-Natal, DR Koos Bornman and Kobus van Zyl, Omnia, covering Soil Acidity in Sandy Soils of the North West & Free State Provinces, Johan Engelbrect, Omnia covering Soil Acidity & Liming in Mpumalanga and Cobus Burger, SGS, covering Soil Acidity in Eastern Cape, Southern Kwa Zulu Natal & Western Cape. The Workshop will conclude with a full panel discussion of the guest speakers. Registration Form: Workshop-Registration-Form-2018        

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BACK TO THE FUTURE – FERTASA ANNUAL CONGRESS 2019

By | Conferences and Training | No Comments

  Book your place for the FERTASA 59th ANNUAL CONGRESS to held on 11 April 2019 at The Spier,  Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa. Some of the speakers include  Michel Prud’homme, Senior Director Production & International Trade Service from the International Fertilizer Association (IFA) covering Global Fertilizer Trends, Annelize Crosby, Head Land Centre of Excellence, Agri SA covering Land Reform in 2019, Jonathan Mudzunga, Registrar, DAFF covering Proposed South African Fertilizer Legislation and Prof Nick Vink, covering The Obstacles to Employment Growth in South African Agriculture. See the full Congress Programme: Congress-Programme-2019 Register and pay by 31 March to avoid the late registration fee: Final-INDIVIDUAL-Registration-Form-2019

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Eragrostis for Soil Health and Dry Matter Production

By | CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE, Nitrogen, Soil Health | No Comments

In recent years late spring rains and prevailing drought conditions have put many livestock farmers under severe pressure, especially those who have relied on post-harvest crop residues in combination with natural grassland (veld) to carry their stock. Reductions in maize planting and additional losses in dry matter from veld due to drought conditions have resulted significant deficits in fodder flows. In the light of the above, consideration should be given to the establishment of permanent pastures on marginal lands.  This would serve several purposes, including the conservation of the top soil by ensuring permanent ground cover, and also provide a source of early grazing in spring with the additional potential to harvest several cuts of hay during the summer months to ensure a fodder bank for winter. Eragrostis curvula( E. curvula) also known as “Weeping Love Grass” and “Oulandsgras” was one of four grass species that was selected as a result of the international recognition of the importance of grassland productivity and soil conservation, and is one of the most important pasture grasses in South Africa. E. curvula is easy to establish and generally persists longer than many other species. It has been used with great success for grazing, hay production, a lay pasture after pototo and tobacco production and has played an important role in the prevention of soil erosion by stabilisation of road verges and disturbed soil. There are numerous cultivars available in the market some of which include Ermelo, Agpal, Umgeni, PUK E3, PUK E436 and American Leafy. E. curvula is a tufted subtopical grass with an extensive root system which helps build soil structure. It will survive in areas receiving 400 -1000 mm of rainfall per year and can tolerate soil acid saturations in excess of 70%. It typically grows from September through to March as seen in Graph 1: A well managed pasture may yield four cuts per season if the prevailing conditions are condusive to growth while in drier areas one or two cuts may be achieved. E. curvula yield is a function of rainfall, temperature and nitrogen application and may vary due to geographic location ranging from an excess of 12 tons /ha in the northern areas of the Eastern Cape, Midlands and Northern Kwa Zulu Natal and the cooler areas in eastern Mpumalanga, 6-8 tons/ha in the Free State, 8-10 tons/ha in Gauteng and tapering to 4-6 tons/ha in the western regions of the country. Dry matter yields in excess of 14 tons per ha are attainable with a good fertilization program; even with erratic rainfall, reasonable dry matter and protein yields are attainable, as shown in Graphs 2 – 4 below: Application of N determines dry matter production and improves palatability; additionally, adequate potassium (K) is essential to ensure high yields are maintained. E. curvula is an efficient forager of K, it is important to carry out regular soil tests to ensure that soil K-levels are not ‘mined’ in high production pastures which will result in significant losses in production.  Furthermore, when planning N applications take into…

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USING COVER CROPS TO IMPROVE THE SOIL HEALTH ON YOUR FARM

By | Conferences and Training | No Comments

Book your place for the annual No-Till Conference  to held on from 4 – 6 September 2018 at the ATKV Drakensville Holliday Resort, Drakensville, Kwa Zulu Natal. The theme for this years conference is Managing Adversity with Diversity with Emerging Cover Crop Strategies by Making Cover Crops Pay. Steve Groff from the USA is this years international guest speaker and will conduct an in depth Cover Crop and Soil Fertility workshop discussing “Tips for Making Cover Crops Work in Dryland Areas”,  ” Taking Cover Crops to the Next Level” and “Bringing Animals Back to the Land”. This conference provides a comprehensive program, some of the speakers include soil scientist Guy Thibaud covering “Restoration of previously degraded soils is a key factor in the transition to No-Till”  Simon Hodgson on “using cover crops and plants to advance biological control of insects” and Dr Colin Forbes on “Moving to No-Till on a mixed farming operation” I you have an interest in Conservation Agriculture and improving the productivity of your soil, this conference provides and excellent opportunity to meet research scientists and farmers who will share their experiences and learnings on how to successfully reap the benefits of No-Till farming. Motivational speaker Quinton Coetzee will address the delegates on Wednesday evening on “THRIVING IN TOUGH TIMES – Lessons from the Wild”. Take advantage of the Early Bird Registration which lasts until 24 August 2018 to avoid the late registration fee. For more information on the principles and practice of no-till farming and the No-Till club visit: www.notillclub.com 2018 NO-TILL CONFERENCE PROGRAMME   2018 BEWARINGSLANDBOUKONFERENSIE PROGRAM 2018 Delegates Registration Form 2018 Contact Numbers For Accommodation

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FACTORS DETERMINING THE EFFICACY OF AGRICULTURAL LIME

By | LIME & LIMING PRODUCTS | One Comment

South Africa has an abundance of agricultural lime sources distributed throughout the country which should enable farmers to source lime as economically as possible. Lime is classified as a Group 2 fertilizer and regulated by The Fertilizer, Farm Feeds and Agricultural Remedies Act of 1947 (Act 36 of 1947). Dolomitic and calcitic lime sources are used to ameliorate soil acidity, Al3+ and Mn2+ toxicities, raise soil pH and manage calcium and magnesium levels in the soil. The sources of lime may be of both natural and industrial origin and vary significantly in their chemical and physical properties which in turn will determine the efficacy the product being used. Factors affecting efficacy of lime In the article, Soil Acidity and its Management in Crop and Pasture Production; Miles and Farina indicate that the effectiveness of various liming materials varies widely, with the following factors being of particular importance: Chemical purity ─ the presence or otherwise of non-reactive materials such as sand and clay greatly affects the neutralizing value of the lime (importantly, the colour of the liming material is not a reliable indicator of its quality!). Chemical composition ─ the nature of the calcium and magnesium compounds present. Fineness ─ the finer the lime particles, the faster will be their reaction in the soil. Lime particles larger than 0.84 mm in diameter (about the size of a match head) are of little value. Very coarse liming materials are completely ineffective. Hardness ─ the solubility, and hence neutralizing value, of lime depends on whether it is derived from hard crystalline material or from softer relatively unconsolidated material. Where uncertainty exists as to the quality of a particular liming material, they advise that a sample should be submitted for analysis. The rate of chemical reaction When lime is applied to the soil it reacts with the acidic components of the soil, H+, Al3+ and Mn2+ , the rate of chemical reaction is determined by temperature, surface area for reaction, relative concentration of the reactants and the presence of soil moisture. Four factors determine the efficiency of lime: Rate of application Purity (CCE) Particle size distribution Degree of incorporation into soil Chemical purity – Calcium Carbonate Equivalent (CCE) The chemical composition of lime varies according to its geological or industrial origin. The term calcium carbonate equivalent (CCE) is a measure used to distinguish the neutralizing capacity of a lime source relative to the mass of pure calcium carbonate required to neutralize hydrochloric acid (HCl). The CCE of pure calcium carbonate is rated as 100%, pure magnesium carbonate has a lower molecular mass and as such less magnesium carbonate is required to neutralize the equivalent amount of HCl, the CCE of magnesium carbonate is 119%. The CCE of lime will vary according to the calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) content as well as other impurities such as sand and clay; large variances in CCE may exist between different sources of lime. The minimum CCE of lime in terms of Act 36 is 70%. Fineness –…

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Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition Symposium

By | Conferences and Training | No Comments

Book your place for the FERTASA  Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition Symposium to held on 21 August 2018 at the CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria. The symposium theme is “Effective Stewardship of Fertilizer in Practice”. Guest speakers include Prof Patrick Brown from the University of California, covering Foliar Fertilization; Prof Patrick du Jardin from Gembloux Agri-Bio Tech – Univesity of Liege covering Bio Stimulants to Enhance Nutrient use Efficiency in Crop Plants; Prof Joanna Dames from Rhodes University covering  Mycorrhiza – Born to be friends; Dr George Ebert covering Controlled Efficiency; Dr Johan Habig covering Soil Health Quantification; Dr Bridgitta Steyn covering Stewardship of the microbial ecosystem of agricultural soil and Dr Arrie van Vuuren covering Effective Placement of Fertilizer. Register by 29 June to take advantage of the Early Bird Registration Fee. Final Programme – 2018 Symposium INDIVIDUAL Registration Form 2018 GROUP Registration Form 2018

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