The evaluation of management options for Paterson's curse' (Echium plantagineum L.) suppression and control. Department of Agriculture,Western Cape. (Project start date 2016).

Problem identification

Echium plantagineum L. Paterson’s curse (Afr. pers-echium; bloudisseldoring) originates from Eurasia and is mainly a problem in the coastal provinces of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal, although it also occurs in parts of the Free State and Mpumalanga. It is a winter annual plant with rough, hairy, leaves. It is a problem because it competes with cultivated crops and pastures and can be a problem in areas of natural vegetation. The plant is also poisonous and an irritant. It is a deep tap-rooted plant that grows up to 1m high, with stems covered with coarse, white hairs with a rosette like bulbous base. It forms funnel-shaped flowers, usually purple but also blue or pink.  Paterson's curse occurs mainly in degraded pastures, on roadsides and in disturbed sites within warm temperate areas with Mediterranean-type winter rainfall climates. It does not grow well on alkaline or lime-rich soils. It is a prolific producer of seeds with more than 5000 seeds per plant per year. These seeds can germinate under a wide range of temperatures and can survive up to 10 years in the soil....

Complete project note. 

 

Farmer Innovation Programme for Conservation Agriculture. Grain South Africa.

In Grain SA’s annual report and strategic plan Conservation Agriculture (CA) is highlighted as one of the main focus areas. In that respect, it was decided to develop a comprehensive strategy that will serve as a framework for accessing and managing funding (and projects) over the short, medium and long term.

Traditional and conventional soil cultivation systems, with intensive and continuous soil tillage, will generally lead to soil degradation and loss of crop productivity. This situation has led to excessively high soil degradation rates in South Africa. If we have to offer farmers a chance to survive on the farm and if sustainable and economically viable agriculture is to be achieved, then the paradigms of agriculture production and management must be changed and new farming practices must be implemented.

Full Document.

Guideline Production of Small Grains In
The Winter Rainfall Area. Agricultural Research Council 2015. 

With the changes experienced in the weather as well as the increasing competitiveness of wheat’s competitors, maize and soybeans for hectares in the summer rainfall areas, wheat production has reached its lowest number of hectares planted since before 1960.

The most significant decline (83%) in hectares occurred in the Free State, which resulted in a 50% drop in production. Production in the irrigation and winter wheat areas were also down, but only marginally. Fortunately, this was slightly negated by a significant increase in wheat’s productivity, in that the South African average yield has risen from 2,5t/ha in 2001 to more than 3, 5 t/ha in 2014.

Also important to note is that, especially during the past couple of years, Small Grains Institute's recommended cultivars have shown their significant yield potential in specifically the winter rain fall and irrigation areas by realising record harvests.

As we speak, the South African wheat industry are in discussions to develop a turn-around strategy to replace the current 52% of consumption imports with local production. This we can only realise if we improve the profitability of wheat production in all relevant production areas. The latter necessitates positive involvement from the total value chain, which is inclusive of the producer, grain handler, baker, miller, buyer and most importantly Government itself.

The 2015 Wheat Production Guideline is a small but significant step towards this goal, namely to improve the profitability of wheat country wide. The financial support of the ARC and the Winter Cereal Trust is acknowledged.

Dr J le Roux

General Manager ARC - Field Crops Division

Full text PDF.



Gross margin analyses of crop rotation data sets from the Riversdale site for 2007 to 2011. Strauss, J.A  2012.

This report summarises income and expenditure data, and provides a basic economic analyses to the Gross Margin level, for each crop sequence being tested in the crop rotation trial located on the farm Uitkyk in the Riversdale “vlaktes” for the period 2007 to 2011.

The aim of the research at this site is to determine the effects of selected long-rotation crop/pasture production systems on crop yields and the economy of pasture/crop rotation systems in the Southern Cape. It must be noted that, due to practical constraints, the trial design allowed for the comparison of only five crop-sequences (each replicated 3 times) following five years of lucerne pasture. 

Full report

Gross margin analyses of crop rotation data sets from Swellendam site for 2007 to 2011. Langehoven, W; Strauss, J.A 2012.

This report summarises income and expenditure data, and provides a basic economic analyses to the Gross Margin level, for each crop sequence being tested in the crop rotation trial located on the farm Uitkyk in the Riversdale “vlaktes” for the period 2007 to 2011.

The aim of the research at this site is to determine the effects of selected long-rotation crop/pasture production systems on crop yields and the economy of pasture/crop rotation systems in the Southern Cape. It must be noted that, due to practical constraints, the trial design allowed for the comparison of only five crop-sequences (each replicated 3 times) following five years of lucerne pasture. 

Full report. 

 

Screening of South African wheat cultivars for resistance to Fusarium head blight. Department of Agriculture, Western Cape. 

Problem identification

Fusarium head blight (FHB) of wheat, also known as scab, has affected crop production in many countries for more than a century. All available data indicate that scab epidemics are becoming more frequent, more severe, and more widespread, also under irrigated fields in South Africa. Control of FHB requires an integrated approach, involving the use of tolerant cultivars (Hollins et al., 2003; Anderson, 2007) in combination with field management practices like crop rotation (Pirgozliev et al., 2003; Edwards, 2004) and fungicide use (Mesterházy et al., 2003; Zhang et al., 2009). Although appropriate field management practices form an integral part in managing FHB, farmers’ dependency on rotation crops which can also host F. graminearum (Broders et al. 2007), can result in an increase in FHB in the subsequent wheat crop (McMullen et al., 1997). Fungicides can be effective in FHB control, but inadequate levels of control are often obtained. Furthermore, there is evidence that under certain conditions, the use of some fungicides may lead to an increase in the amount of mycotoxins produced (Mesterházy et al., 2003; Zhang et al., 2009). However, the correct use of fungicides in combination with the use of more resistant cultivars have been shown to be more effective than either practice alone (Willyerd et al. 2012)...

Complete project note. 

 

South African Breweries: Water Stewardship in the Hops Industry.

Foreword (Vincent Maphal Executive Director of Corporate Affairs ans Transformation)

Water is a sustainable development priority for The South African Breweries Limited (SAB). Water risk is particularly important to company’s operations in some parts of South Africa which is a semi-arid and water scarce country. Brewing beer is a waterintensive process and ensuring ongoing water supplies is critical to the survival of SAB as a business, as well as to the communities in which the company operates. The way in which this scarce resource is managed is therefore very important...

Institutions: SAB, WWF & GIZ

Full PDF document.

 

Weed suppression with smother crops in small grain cropping systems of the Western Cape. Department of Agriculture, Western Cape 2012.

Project Summary

The aim of this research project will be to study the interactions of two smother crops on weeds, using mustard and oats, on the population of natural weed infestations. In addition, the effects of smother crops on pests and diseases will also be studied. The major goal of this research will be to provide grain producers with scientific information on how to grow smother crops in an integrated weed management system, reducing herbicides, fungicides and insecticides use and consequently contribute to sustainable agriculture.

Complete project note.