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How to Enter into Gourmet Garlic Farming

                                              

Gourmet Garlic Farming is a booming business that is continuing to grow and there are many ways to profit from a garlic business. Although the crop can be grown successfully in a wide range of soil types and in almost any climate, it fares best in well-drained soils with a pH of between 6 and 7.5. Soils with high organic matter content are preferred, due to their increased moisture – and – nutrient – holding capacity.

Cultivars

Egyptian White, Egyptian Pink and Giant Garlic have been planted for many generations in South Africa and these cultivars have adapted well to local climates. For a better chance of a good crop, its important to stick to the correct planting time, from February to May. Good quality seeds forms the foundation of a good harvest.

Fertilizing

During its initial growth phase , as the plant emerges and spreads its leaves, the crop might require generous applications of nitrogen. Phosphorous should also be applied for optimal root development, and potassium added for leaf growth and healthy bulb formation.

                                                           

Harvesting

Garlic is ready to be harvested when 30% of the plants on a land have turned brown and started dying down. Harvesting can be carried out manually or mechanically but should be done carefully to prevent damaging the bulbs. After the plants have been pulled from the soil, they are laid out in bunches to dry for up to 3 days and then hung in a cool, well-ventilated place. Once the lobes have dried out, the leaves can be cut off and the garlic is ready to be marketed. A huge advantage of growing garlic is its long shelf life; it can be stored for months at room temperature.

If you want to make money by growing garlic you need to grow what people want to buy. Avoid the standard garlic you’ll find in every supermarket, and grow only gourmet varieties, like Rocambole or Elephant garlic.

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Alpaca Farming – How to start?

                               
Alpaca farming has rapidly becoming one of the most successful and respected farming enterprises in the agriculture sector. Alpacas can provide healthy financial returns, a breeding challenge and a wonderful lifestyle. Alpacas offer an outstanding choice for livestock ownership. Alpacas have a charismatic manner, they do very well on small farms, and they produce a luxury product which is continually increasing in demand.
One of the many reasons why people love alpaca farming is because the camilids fiber are softer, warmer and lighter as compared to wool. Alpacas are also known to come in a wide range of colors which makes it so usable that dyeing is not needed for this product that has 22 shades of color to choose from. Also, alpaca farming in environmental friendly because alpacas do not have a significant impact on the landscape comparing to other animals. The alpacas only has 2 toes and they are very light on their feet.
When starting an alpaca farm, you will need to set up a section of land that will accommodate them. Depending on the farmer and the pack, an acre of land can accommodate from 10 – 15 alpacas comfortably if you are feeding hay and not expecting them to live off pasture. When they live off pastures, the number significantly decreases.
After the land is ready, you need to construct a barn that will act as a shelter for the alpacas. The barn will create a shelter that will keep them cool and away from direct sunlight, which can be uncomfortable for them. It will also keep them dry during the rain. They do not like getting wet, and it can ruin the fleece if it stays moist for a long period of time.
You also need to ensure that you have secured your land with the right fence. Alpacas behave like other animals, whereby they would walk out of the secluded zone if there is nothing to stop them. For that, you need to erect a fence around the land. The fence should be between 4 and a half feet tall. You can either use boards or woven wire, which should be no more than 4 inches apart.
Before starting your alpaca farm, you need to find a local veterinarian that have knowledge of alpacas. Ensure that the vet is close enough, for the sake of checkups, emergencies and other routine shots. When compared with other livestock, alpacas attract very few flies and have very little odor. They’ll typically establish between  two and four dung piles in their enclosure, taking up between 10% and 20% of their entire pasture area. This natural habit makes cleanup and parasite control very easy.

                

TO START AND RUN A SUCCESSFUL AND SUSTAINABLE ALPACA FARMING OPERATION YOU NEED TO START WITH A PROFESSIONAL AND CONVINCING FARMING BUSINESS PLAN – CALL US NOW FOR ASSISTANCE AT: ((27) 84 583 3143 OR EMAIL US AT: money@global.co.za

 

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How to set up a sustainable greenhouse farming operation

                                  

Greenhouse farming is an emerging trend in agriculture that has many benefits, including higher yields and reduced environmental impact. It is a type of agriculture that uses artificial light to simulate direct sunlight and help plants grow faster. This technique can be used in various climates, including South Africa, where it has been increasingly adopted due to the regions hot, dry conditions.
One of the main benefits of greenhouse farming is that it allows farmers to grow crops year round, even if it is winter outside. This means that they can get a wider variety of crops than they would be able to get if they only had access to seasonal climates. It also means they don’t have to worry about harsh weather conditions affecting their plants.
Greenhouse farming enable farmers to control the environment inside the greenhouse, which leads to greater production efficiency and higher yields. In addition, greenhouse farming manure can be used as fertilizer on land outside the greenhouse, reducing pollution and improving soil health.
There are some essential things that you will need to get started with greenhouse farming: Land, a Greenhouse Building, and the necessary equipment. You can find land for greenhouse farming in many places throughout the country, but the best locations will likely be in areas with good rainfall and warm temperatures. If you starting a small farm, you may not need a large greenhouse. A smaller one will work well for growing vegetables, herbs, fruit trees, and flowers. However, you must invest in a good – quality greenhouse to grow larger crops such as fruits and vegetables.
Greenhouse farming is a popular method of agriculture in South Africa because it allows farmers to cultivate crops indoors during winter when temperatures outside are below freezing. A wide variety of crops can be grown in greenhouses including – tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, watermelons, peppers, egg plant, beans, peas, lilies, roses, and squash to name a few.

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Coconut Oil Production

                                     

Coconuts , or cocos nucifera, are part of the palm tree family. Coconut trees come in 13 different varieties and can live anywhere from ten to hundred years, depending on type and growing condition. Coconuts grow from the seed. If you leave a coconut outside in shady conditions long enough it will begin to sprout a leaf from its hard shell in about 6 to 8 months.
Coconuts should be planted approximately ten to thirty feet apart depending on which type of tree you have. Dwarf coconuts are shorter and have thicker bases than other coconuts that grow tall and thin. Coconuts are in season all year long and grow in groups of 5 to 12 fruits each. A new group begins to grow every month. So, a bunch of coconuts mature once every month, with a coconut palm producing about 100 – 120 coconuts a year.
Coconut oil is an edible oil which is extracted from the copra. It provides the primary source of fat in the diet of millions of people. Important coconut manufacturing plant machines you will need to start a coconut oil manufacturing business include (but not limited to):
* Boiler.
* Copra Cutter.
* Copra Dyer.
* Cooker / Kettle.
* Copra Oil Expeller Machines.
* Crude Coconut Oil Storage Tanks.
* Oil Filter Press Machines.
* Bucket Elevator.
* Filtered Oil Storage Tanks.

                            

 

Coconut Oil is an edible oil derived from the wick, meat, and milk of the coconut palm fruit.
HOW IS COCONUT OIL MADE???
1. Boiling Method – This is the most recognized method of making coconut oil. It involves using heat to separate the oil from the coconut meat.
2. Cold Press Method – This method uses no heat, so it retains most of the nutrients found in the coconut oil.
3. Wet Milling Method – Refrigeration – This method extracts the oil from fresh coconut meat without drying or heating it.

                                                                       

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How to Start a Integrating Farming System?

                        

A Integrated Farming System (I.F.S.) is a combination of many systems. The main aim is to increase farmers income by using natural resources on a sustainability basis which can be obtained by integrating crop husbandry with allied enterprises.
Advantages:
* Productivity.
* Profitability.
* Sustainability.
* Saving Energy.
* Employment all year round.
* Adapter of new technology.
* Recycling of waste.
An integrating farming system (IFS) is one that looks at the whole farm as a system and how different components work together to enhance ecosystem functions of the land at local and possibly landscape levels. The use of IFS will impart knowledge on land and water resources management and agriculture. It could also provide employment, particularly for young graduates, as an IFS system requires paid workers to run it properly.
IFS is a multi – disciplinary whole farm approach and very effective in solving the problems of small and marginal farmers. The approach aims at increasing income and employment from small – holding by integrating various farm enterprises and recycling crop residues and by – products within the farm itself.
Types of IFS:
* Crop – Livestock – Farming.
* Crop – Livestock – Fishery Farming System.
* Crop – Livestock – Poultry – Fishery Farming System.
* Crop – Poultry – Fishery – Mushroom Farming System.
* Crop – Fishery – Duckery – Farming System.
* Crop – Livestock – Fishery – Vermicomposting Farming System.
Sustainable development is the only way to promote rational utilization of resources and environmental protection without affecting economic growth. IFS hold a special position because in this system nothing is wasted; the by – product of one system becomes the input for others.. IFS is a promising approach for increasing overall productivity and profitability through recycling the farm by – products and efficient utilization of available resources.

 

                                                        

 

WANT TO START OR EXPAND A IFS FARMING OPERATION ? – YOU WILL NEED A PROFESSIONAL AND WELL – STRUCTURED FARMING BUSINESS PLAN AND CASH FLOW PROJECTIONS – CONTACT US NOW FOR PROFESSIONAL HELP AT = (27) 84 583 3143 OR EMAIL: money@global.co.za

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SUCCESSFUL OLIVE FARMING

                                             

Commercial Olive Farming is a very easy but highly profitable business. The main purpose of commercial olive farming is the production of olive oil for the market.
Selecting a very good and suitable land for your olive farming project is vital. Olive plants can be cultivated in a wide range of soil types but usually require deep rich and well-drained loamy or clay loam soils for maximum production. Soil pH range between 6 and 7.5 is considered ideal for growth and maximum yields.
A warm climate to subtropical conditions are required for commercial olive farming. The optimum temperature range for good production is between 15°C and 20°C.
There are more than hundreds of olive cultivars available throughout the world. All these cultivars differ in size, color, shape, growth characteristics and also the qualities of the oil. Olive trees are highly sensitive to water stagnation and should be delayed in heavy rainy areas. Planting distance should be approximately 8 meter for fertile deep soils with adequate irrigation facilities. You could accommodate about 150 tress per hectare land.
Pruning
In the case of fruit bearing trees, pruning should be carried out immediately after harvesting. Doing this will encourage new growth of the trees. Removing dead and injured branches should also be done on a regular basis.
Inter cropping
You can cultivate any crop or vegetable like tomatoes, onions, or chili as an inter crop. This will give you some extra income during the first few years before the trees starts commercial production of olives.
Harvesting
Timely harvesting of olives is very important, because harvesting immature olives will decrease both quality and quantity of the olive oil.Hand picking is the most common and most desirable method of olive harvesting. However, this is an expensive and slow process, so you can also go for the mechanical method as it impacts the oil quality. The right time to harvest olives is when oil with a pleasant aroma and good quality is obtained without much bitterness.

                                                                

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Successful Lime/Lemon Farming

                                                  

Lemons are a popular fruit due to its list of health benefits and usefulness in the kitchen. This hardy citrus fruit is usually not consumed in the natural form, but can be used in juices, sauces, sweet and savory dishes and other beverages. Lemon farming is a lucrative agribusiness that only a small number of farmers has tapped. They have high demand both in the local and export markets.
With more emphasis on value addition and on increasing number of juice makers, lemon farmers have a myriad of opportunities. They are an essential source of Vitamin C, are highly nutritious, and have a wide range of health benefits. Commercial lime farming is a very easy and profitable farming business, and many people around the world are already doing this type of business.
Site Selection
Lime plants can grow in all types of soils. But light soils having a good drainage system are most suitable for commercial lime farming. The pH range of the soil should be between 5.5 and 7.5. The lime plants can also grow in slightly alkaline and acidic soils. Preparing the soil perfectly before planting is very important. Plough, cross plough and level the land properly. Add as much organic contents as you can while preparing the soil.
Planting
Planting of a lime plant is generally done at the afternoon when sunlight is reduced. Water the plants immediately after planting. Keep 4.5 x 4.5 meter spacing between the plants. Dig pits of size 60 x 60 x 60 cm for planting seedlings. Apply 10kg of farmyard manure and 500g of single super phosphate to the pits while planting.

                                                     

Fertilizing
The lime plants are heavy feeders. They require both organic and chemical fertilizers for better growth and maximum production. Apply well decomposed cow dung at the rate of 5 to 20kg per tree when the age of the plant is between 1 and 3 years. Apply Urea at the rate of 100 – 300 grams per tree.
Yield
Yield is generally low during the initial years. You can expect between 50 and 60 fruits per tree in their 2 – 3 years. Production increase as the plants age and you can expect good production from their 8th years of age. Average production is around 700 fruits per tree after stabilization.

                                                                

WANT TO START A SUCCESSFUL LIME/LEMON FRUIT FARMING OPERATION? YOU WILL NEED A PROFESSIONAL AND WELL – STRUCTURED FARMING BUSINESS PLAN. CONTACT US NOW FOR PROFESSIONAL HELP AT: (27) 84 583 3143 or email: money@global.co.za

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mustard Oil Production

                                                                 

Mustard oil is an oil type extracted from mustard seeds. Mustard oil is dominantly used in the food and beverage industry, and pharmaceuticals.. The market for mustard oil has shown significant growth in the global market. The replacement of sunflower and other oils with mustard oils accounts for this growth.
Mustard seeds are available mainly in 3 variants, such as black, brown and white mustard. The processing method of mustard oil also depends on its application. Crude extraction of mustard oil is mainly used for food and beverage uses. The second method, distillation extraction of mustard oil, is used in the application of pharmaceuticals and therapies. The wide applications of mustard oil, mainly in medicine and food  processing, have hiked the growth chart of mustard oil in the global market.

                                                                                   

Food with edible mustard oil is becoming more popular. The replacement of sunflower oil with mustard oil has increased the demand for the mustard oil food market. The strong taste and composure of mustard oil elevate the taste of dishes, improvising the demand for mustard oil over other oils.
Mustard oil benefits:
  • May block microbial growth.
  • May promote skin and health care.
  • May alleviate pain.
  • May slow cancer cell growth.
  • May support heart health.
  • Reduces inflammation.
  • May help treat cold symptoms.
Mustard oil comes from the seeds of the mustard plant. This spicy oil is popular in Indian and Nepalese cooking. Some people use the oil for hair care.

WANT TO START YOUR OWN MUSTARD SEED OIL MANUFACTURING PLANT? START THE RIGHT WAY BY DEVELOPING A BUSINESS PLAN. NEED HELP WITH THIS? CONTACT US NOW FOR PROFESSIONAL HELP AT: (27)84 583 3143 OR money@global.co.za

                                                                

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Groundnut Oil Processing

                                                        

Groundnut oil, also known as peanut oil, is a mild tasting vegetable oil expressed from groundnut kernels. Groundnut oil is widely used in cooking, including frying, basting, and the manufacturing of margarine’s  and  shortenings.
Groundnut oil production is a financially profitable venture with huge export potential. You can start and run a groundnut oil processing operation on a small  and medium scale basis according to the desired output and project cost.
Selecting the right location for your factory operation is an important aspect. Major required utilities are water and electricity. Also, the easy availability of transport and labor is important. The basic machines and equipment required are as follows:
  • Pre – cleaner for cleaning the oil seeds.
  • Cans and trays for handling oil seeds.
  • Solar dryer.
  • Oil Extractor Machine.
  • Mechanical Oil Expeller.
  • Filter Press.
  • Oil filling machine.
  • Steel drums for storing edible oil.
  • Bottle filling machine.
  • Bottle capping cum sealing machine.
                                                                 
 The principal raw material required for the production of groundnut oil is groundnut seed. The seed will give approximately 44 – 50% oil and 50 – 55% meal. Other required raw materials include caustic soda, bleaching earth and packaging consumables. Edible oil technology is divided into two groups. These are mechanical pressing and solvent extraction. For oil-seeds with high oil content such as groundnuts, you will need to apply first mechanical pressing.
Groundnut oil is cherished by consumers for its unique flavor and abundance of the powerful antioxidant tocopherol (vitamin E). It has a high smoke point of 229°C making it ideal for frying purposes. Pure groundnut oil can be refined to enhance its taste, smell, color, and oxidative stability by de-gumming, neutralization, bleaching’s and deodorization. 

TO START OR EXPAND ANY GROUNDNUT OIL PRODUCTION PLANT SUCCESSFULLY YOU WILL NEED A PROFESSIONAL AND WELL STRUCTURED BUSINESS PLAN. CONTACT US NOW FOR PROFESSIONAL HELP AT: (27) 84 583 3143 OR email: money@global.co.za 

                                                                                                   

 

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Farming with Appaloosa Horses

                                         

The ” Appaloosa” horse is a beautiful full – sized North America horse breed and its distinctive features are its leopard – complex spotted coat and oftentimes striped hooves. The Appaloosa has several traits which taken together are unique to the horse breed. These include mottled skin, striped hooves, white sclera around the eyes, and of course the distinctive appaloosa coat patterns. The appaloosa comes in a variety of color patterns, including snow- capped blanket, leopard, blanket with spots, varnish roan and snowflake.
The Appaloosa remains a versatile horse. It is used in working cattle and rodeo competitions, pleasure rides, long – distance trail riding, racing and a variety of other Western and English riding sports and activities. Additionally, the appaloosa breed is often featured in movies and television because of its unusual markings.
Appaloosas require a standard horse diet of fresh grass, quality hay, grains, and some fruits and vegetables, as occasional treats. They may also need some vitamin and mineral supplementation, especially if they cannot graze freely in pasture. The amount of food they need depends on their size, and activity level.
The Appaloosa breed is spreading its wings all over Africa and studs have been founded across the South African borders and even into the African region and they can only bode well for the future of the appaloosa breed in Africa.

                                                

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How to start organic coriander farming?

                                            

Coriander grows easily and quickly throughout South Africa as a summer annual. The coriander plant is an erect annual herb in the Apiaceae family. Coriander is also known as “Cilantro” and it is an annual herb that has been grown and eaten all around the world for a very long time. It has a wonderful tangy flavor and is the perfect herb plant for adding some zing to your cooking.
Coriander Uses
The fresh leaves and dried seeds of coriander are the parts most commonly used in cooking. But all parts of the coriander plant are edible and the roots are an important element of Thai cooking. Coriander is actually used in cuisines throughout the world.
Advantages of Coriander Farming:
  • Commercial production of coriander is very easy and simple. Even beginners can start this type of farming business without much efforts.
  • Large scale coriander farming is a very profitable business, and it is an excellent way of generating good profits.
  • Coriander plants grow rapidly and they are very strong and hardy. You will get back your invested money within a short period of time.
  • Both demand and value of coriander are good in the market. You will be able to make good profits from this business.
  • Commercial coriander production is highly profitable. So, it can be a great employment source for the unemployed.
  • Coriander is very nutritious and good for your health.
Site Selection
Coriander plants can be grown in almost all types of soil. But plants grow well in well drained and loamy soil. Ideal pH range of the soil should be between 8 and 10.
Variety
There are many local and hybrid varieties of coriander available to choose from. You can choose any variety depending upon it’s growing ability and availability in your specific area.
Planting
Optimum time for sowing coriander seeds for vegetable purposes is the first week of October. When you want to grow coriander seeds for seeds purposes, complete your sowing in the last week of October yo the first week of November. Keep 30cm spacing between row to row and 15cm spacing between plant to plant. Sowing depth should not more than 3cm.
Harvesting
You can start harvesting coriander when the crop attain 20 – 25cm height. 3- 4 cuttings can be taken. If you grow coriander for seed purposes, then it will be ready for harvesting in April month.

                              

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Vertical Farming Operations

                                                      

Vertical Farming is the practice of growing crops in vertically stacked layers. It often incorporates controlled – environment agriculture which aims to optimize plant growth, and soil less farming techniques.

There are 4 critical areas in understanding how vertical farming works:

1. Physical Layout.

2. Lightning.

3. Growing Medium and

4. Sustainability features

Physical Layout – The primary goal of vertical farming is producing more foods per square meter. To accomplish this goal, crops are cultivated in stacked layers in a tower life structure.

Lightning – A perfect combination of natural and artificial lights is used to maintain the perfect light level in the room. Technologies such as rotating beds are used to improve lightning efficiency.

Growing Medium – Instead of soil, aeroponic, aquaponic, or hydroponic growing mediums are used. Peat moss or coconut husks and similar non – soil mediums are very common in vertical farming.

Sustainability – The vertical farming method uses various sustainability features to offset the energy cost of farming. In fact, vertical farming uses 95% less water.

Types of Vertical Farms

1. Vertical farms in buildings – Abandoned buildings are repurposed for vertical farming, but it’s not necessary that such buildings be used often. Depending on the requirements new buildings are also used to construct vertical farms.

2. Shipping Container Vertical Farms – Old or recycled shipping containers are equipped with LED lightning, vertically stacked farms, climate controls and monitoring sensors. Such types of farms can save space and get a higher yield in the process.

3. Underground Vertical Farms – Also known as “Deep Farms”, these types of vertical farms are built in underground tunnels, abandoned mine shafts or any subterranean environment. Such Farms can produce 7 to 9 times more food than a conventional farm.

                                                      

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Successful Lettuce Farming

                                                                                   

Lactuca sativa, commonly known as lettuce, is a member of the Asterateae family, grown as a leaf vegetable. The origins of lettuce can be traced to the Mediterranean basin from where it spread to the rest of the world. It has been cultivated as a food source for thousands of years and is popular as a salad ingredient all over the world.

Lettuce is grouped into four classes namely:

1. Crisphead or Iceberg Lettuce

This type is widely grown in the country and it is characterized by firm heads and crisp, curly leaves. The outer leaves are dark green, while the inner ones are pale and lack chlorophyll.

2. Butterhead Lettuce

The butterhead lettuce forms a head that is somehow similar to that of cabbage in shape and has soft, waxy, flexible leaves. It is sensitive to hot weather.

3. Loose – leaf Lettuce

This group does not form heads and is characterized by soft leaves. It grows well both in the open field and under protection and can be shipped over long distances.The cos lettuce has a loose head with narrow soft leaves.  The outer leaves are dark green, coarse and have heavy ribs while the inner is lighter.

Soil Requirements

The plant grows well on a wide variety of soils ranging from light sand to heavy clay, whoever, best results are obtained on fertile loam’s that are rich in organic matter. A pH between 5.5 and 7 is optimum. Lettuce should be grown on soils with a high water – holding capacity and proper drainage for good root growth and plant performance.

                                               

Planting

Lettuce is regularly sown directly in the field to a depth of 10 – 15mm. The seedlings are later thinned out to the desired spacing and they are sometimes used for transplanting. Seedlings for transplanting may also be raised in seed – trays or seedbeds and transplanted about five weeks after sowing.

Irrigation

Lettuce has a shallow root system and as such requires frequent but lighter irrigation’s. The roots penetrate the soil to a depth of only 300mm. Water should be applied throughout the growing period and reduced when the heads become full. A water shortage tends to promote bolting.

Harvesting

Lettuce is harvested by hand by cutting off the plant just above the soil surface to keep most of the outer leaves around the head. Harvesting should be done very early in the morning because lettuce wilts rapidly.

                                                                    

 

 

IF YOU WANT TO START SUCCESSFULLY YOU NEED TO START WITH A PROFESSIONAL AND WELL STRUCTURED FARMING BUSINESS PLAN – CONTACT US NOW At (27) 84 583 3143 or money@global.co.za

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sustainable Timber Farming

                                                                           

” Commercial Forestry” is much like any other farming practice. The crops are considered a renewable resource, used to make sawn timber, pulp, paper, poles, mining timber , matches, charcoal and cellulose – based  products. Specific species of trees are planted, harvested and replanted in sustainable rotation. This ensures that there are trees at various stages of growth and maturity, ready to harvest for generations to come.

Forestry is more than the science of planting, managing and caring for timber plantations. It’s also about looking after the landscape which timber share with other animal and plant species as well as the people and communities that the Foresting and Forest Products Industries touches.

LOGGING

Logging is the process of cutting down and removing trees from the forest. In forestry, the phrase is used to describe log making, which includes cutting the branches off, removing the bark and cutting trees into parts. In some cases, logging may refer to the whole logistical process of felling, processing, removing and transporting trees from the forest to the sawmill.

LOGGING IMPORTANCE

Below are reasons why logging is important:

1. Minimizes competition for resources – Logging is important because it reduces crowding in the forest. Crowded trees must compete for nutrients such as sunlight and water. The younger and shorter trees may not receive the sunlight they need because of the overcrowding of the older trees.

2. Boosts the health of the trees –  Logging can keep trees healthy. When logging, the parts of trees that have diseases are removed and the remaining trees can grow without the threat of any disease.

3. Provides necessary raw materials – Trees are a raw material and is important for our survival. They are useful in making furniture, supply materials for building homes, and are useful for making many everyday items. All of these things require logging.

4. Reduces forest fires – Logging helps to reduce forest fires. If there’s a lightning – triggered fire in a crowded forest, fire will spread rapidly, unlike when the trees have been thinned.

5. Enhances undergrowth – Selective logging is important, as it allows more sunlight and air to reach the forest floor, encouraging the growth of vegetation under larger trees.

Assistance for small – scale timber operations

The timber industry falls under the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Daff), and to assist small – scale timber operations, the department has established the Forestry Enterprise Development (FED) Programme. The aim of the FED programme is to create opportunities for people to utilize forests indigenous forests, woodlands and plantations and forest – based resources for economic growth, income generation/ job creation in a manner that will take people from a subsistence livelihood system into the market economy

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DATES FRUIT FARMING

                                                         c

Commercial dates farming business is growing day by day. “Phoenix dactylifera” known as date or date palm, is actually a flowering plant species in the palm family, Arecaceae. It is cultivated for it’s edible sweet fruit. Dates are the biggest oasis and desert cash crop. They are harvested from the palm trees and dried out in the sun and stored for the wintertime when they supply food for a family and assist herds of camels, goats and sheep.
Date palm is the oldest tree cultivated on earth. They are a excellent source of calcium, sugar, iron and potassium. They are also used in many social and religious festivals. They have many health benefits like relive constipation, reduce heart disease, control diarrhea and help in pregnancy. It is also used for making different products such as chutney, pickles, jam, juice, and other bakery items.

SOIL

It can be cultivated in any soil, don’t have any specific requirement. But for good growth and yield, it required well drained, deep sandy loam soil with a pH in the range of 7-8. Avoid soils having a hard pan up to 2meter below soil layer. Saline and alkaline soils are also suitable for cultivation but yield obtained is low.

PROPAGATION

Propagation of the date palm is done with the help of suckers as propagation with seeds is impractical. Select suckers or offshoots from the mother plant. Suckers are obtained from 4 or 5th year after planting. Ideal weight of suckers should be 15 – 20kg.

DATE CULTIVARS

The most popular variety in South Africa is the “Medjool Date”. Other popular varieties are Barhi, Deglet Noor, Sayer and Zahdi.

GROWTH

It normally take a date palm almost 2 years to be ready to plant out into the field. Another 4 years to produce a reasonable crop and up to 12 years to reach full production of 80kg and more per tree. Production can go on for 100 years but does decline around 50 years.
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CANNABIS & HEMP FARMING

                                                 

HEMP – a low type of  Cannabis sativa with a low level of the Unnibinoid THC – is a wind – pollinated, annual broad-leaf plant with a taproot. It is cultivated for its production of long fibers for textiles, hemp seeds for oil and other uses. 

Most of Africa’s climate is favorable to cannabis cultivation. The plant likes warm and sunny weather and does not do so well in the cold. Certain cannabis strains can also thrive in extreme heat. Some growing techniques such as dry farming allows farmers to grow the crop using mostly rainfall with minimal additional watering if the climate conditions are right. Drip irrigation is also a cheap and efficient way to water cannabis crops in Africa.

The cannabis plant grows in stages. First come the initial germination and seeding. Then, the plant enters the vegetative phase and produces most of its leaves and branches. After several weeks, the plant can enter the flowering stage. If the plant is a male plant, it will grow pollen sacks. If it is a female plant, it will produce flowers (buds) that can be smoked or processed into tinctures and oils.

Up until 29/10/2021, it was illegal to grow hemp in SA. After careful consideration, the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development announced the opening of the application process for Hemp and Cannabis permits. This means that Agripreneurs/farmers are now able to apply for a permit to farm hemp and cannabis as an “agricultural” crop.

ARE HEMP AND CANNABIS THE SAME THING?

Hemp and Cannabis (marijuana) are not the same things. Although they fall under the same genus, Cannabis, Hemp (Cannabis savita L) is very much for “industrial ” or agricultural use, whereas marijuana (also known as dagga) can be used for “medicinal” or recreational purposes. The following options are available for interested agripreneurs/farmers:

  • Cannabis farmer – growing and cultivating hemp.
  • CBD or Hemp manufacturer – this could include producing CBD Oils or Hemp textiles.
  • CBD or Hemp product developer – creating products using CBD Oils or Hemp textiles.
  • Hemp or CBD product distributor – selling CBD or Hemp products to consumers.

SOIL PREPARATION

Hemp and Cannabis grows best in well – drained loam soil with a pH of between 6 and 7.5 with abundant organic matter – at least 3,5%. Dense, poorly- drained clay soil is not suitable and sandy soil’s need for extra irrigation and fertilization may be uneconomical. Seedbed preparation is important; firm and fine is best in order to plant hemp/cannabis seeds between 203 cm deep. Hemp is sensitive to frost during germination and requires water during the first 6 weeks after planting.

HARVESTING

Harvesting hemp for fiber is easier than harvesting hemp for the hemp seed. To harvest hemp grown for fiber, implements used for the harvesting of forage crops can be used, which perform well without major modifications. A straight sickle mower is the most suitable for harvesting hemp for textile applications. This implement leaves cut stems intact, laid neatly and organized directly on the ground. Haybines do not work well as the long stems wrap on the reel. Cut no shorter than 10cm above the soil surface.

                                          

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Sustainable Tarragon Farming

                                                          

Tarragon belongs to the sunflower family and it is species of the perennial herb. Tarragon is a much – favored culinary herb plant, with leaves have a slight anise flavor. There are mainly two types of Tarragon. The French Tarragon one is more widely available and has a stronger flavor than the Russian variety. The French Tarragon is the more popular variety and should be planted in a place where you can easily manipulate the soil and control the temperature levels and amounts of water it receives.

Tarragon provides fragrant leaves that can be harvested and preserved for cooking year – round. Grow Tarragon in well – drained, sandy loam soil. It will tolerate poor and nearly dry soil. Tarragon does not grow well in cold, wet, or compacted soil. Tarragon plants prefers a soil pH level of 6.0 to 7.3 and it does not grow well in acidic soil.

PROPAGATION

For the French variety, propagation must come from the root division or stem cuttings, as the seeds are sterile  which means they’re not viable for planting. French Tarragon plants don’t propagate by using Tarragon seeds, but rather through stem cuttings or root system division. Usually, the French Tarragon plant can only be grown by propagation or by buying an establish plant.

PLANTING

Remove the soil in an area slightly deeper than the root ball, and twice as wide. Amend the soil with plenty of organic material such as mature compost, worm castings, or well- rotted manure, some liquid – retaining material like perlite or peat moss, and a couple of tablespoons bone meal. Set the root ball in place, fill in the hole, and then cover the crown with the defamed soil, then firm in place. Water gently to settle.

WATERING

Water requirements for your Tarragon will mainly depend on the weather conditions and the maturity of the plant. These plants can cope in dry ground, and care must be taken not to over-water as this will diminish growth and flavor intensity.

It requires 5 to 6 weeks after transplant to harvesting.

                                                 

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Chickpea Farming

                             

Chickpea is one of the field crops which is not grown widely in our country. Unimproved chickpeas are grown as hedge plants in home gardens in few parts of some Provinces such as Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

Planting

Chickpeas are usually grown as winter crops, between late April and May. The proper seeding depth is 2,5 to 5cm. Chickpeas should be sown in moist soils to provide the necessary moisture for proper germination and inoculation.

Soil

The plant requires fertile, sandy-loam soil with good internat drainage and they do not tolerate water – logged conditions. Chickpeas require a soil pH of 6.0 0 7.0. It prefers soil with good residual soil moisture content or storage.

Product Benefits

Chickpeas are high in protein, carbohydrates and fibre, low in fat and cholesterol and are considered one of the earliest cultivated vegetables. They are consumed as a dry pulse crop or  as green vegetables, Chickpeas are added to many dishes to improve their taste, e.g. desert, salads, and soup. When mixed with other pulses, they can also serve as an appetizer.

Harvesting

Chickpeas are typically straight out, meaning they are not swathed before combining. Timing is very important when harvesting chickpeas. An over ripened crop can lead to a decrease in yield while harvesting a crop too young may lead to increased chance of green seed in crop which yields a lower grade.

Watering

Chickpeas can tolerate droughts very well, being the most resistant to shortage of water. The only time there is a greater need for water is when buds form during flowering.

Harvesting

Fortunately, chickpeas ripen uniformly, so it is easy to determine when to chop, given that its pods do not shoot when ripe. Harvesting is done by machines, i.e. adapted grain bean harvesters.

                     

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Bush Bean Farming

                                            

Beans come in one of two types – bush beans and pole beans. Bush Beans differ from pole beans in the fact that bush beans don’t need any kind of support to stay upright. Pole Beans, on the other hand, need a pole or some other support to stay upright. Bush Beans are shorter beans that only grow to about 2 feet in height, while pole beans grow to about 8 – 10 feet in height.

Bush Beans can be further broken down into 3 types:

  1. snap beans – pods are eaten.

  2. green shelling beans – beans are eaten green.

  3. dry beans – beans are dried and then rehydrated before eating.

SOIL

Beans grow best in full sun, planted in well – drained and warm soil. Prepare soil ahead of time. When planting, add a mature or aged compost and this should be all the fertilizer you need if you are starting with a healthy soil. Beans will do best with a soil PH of 5,5 – 5,8. Beans are very sensitive to acidic soils.

PLANTING

Plant beans anytime between 10 – 28 days before the last frost date and 80 – 133 days before the first frost date. Sow beans where they are to grow, their supports, or, for bush types, four to 6 inches (10 – 15cm) apart with 18 inches (45cm) spacing between rows. Bush Beans should be planted in linear rows to support each other. Use a hoe to scratch out rows or dig individual planting holes with a trowel. Drop in two to three seeds per hole, so they fall about an inch (2cm) apart, and are two inches (2,5cm – 5cm) deep.

WATERING

Water in the morning so the plants can dry rapidly and avoid fungal disease. Water moderately to 1/2 inch of water per week, avoid watering the plant tops. Beans require a minimum of 400 to 500mm rain fall during its rowing season but totals of 600 – 650mm is considered ideal. 

 CROP ROTATION

After harvesting your beans, plant your cabbages on the same field, as beans leave a lot of nitrogen in the soil and this will help you harvest healthy and big cabbages.

                                             

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SAFFRON PRODUCTION

                                                     

Saffron is collected from the blossoms of Crocus sativus(Iridaceae) commonly known as saffron crocus or saffron bulbs. It is propagated by bulbs called corms. Each corm forms new bulbs, and this is how the plant multiplies. The process is tedious and meticulous. This explains why saffron spice came to be so precious as to be called the “red gold”.

SOIL

The Crocus  sativus grows in many different soil types but thrives best in calcareous, humus – rich and well-drained soil with a pH between 6 and 8. Saffron corms can also  grown in dry or semi-dry soil types. However, you need to keep in mind that during periods of drought in autumn and spring, you need to be able to irrigate the land. If you plant the saffron corms in wet or semi-wet soil types you must be sure that your land is well – drained to prevent corms from rotting or getting infected during periods of wet weather.

PLANTING

When planting saffron virgin patch of land, corms for the first time, choose a virgin patch of land, that is, no other tubers or saffron corms have been planted there before, if possible. Before planting, it is advisable to till the soil 20 to 50 centimetres deep to keep the planting beds loose and well – aired, incorporating organic fertilizer during the process. Saffron crocuses are sun- worshipping plants so they love to be planted in the dry open fields rather than in the shade.

WEED CONTROL

Mulching will control the weed growth to some extent. Plants should be mulched with saw dust. Weedicides can be used to check the complete weeds in the saffron field.

FERTILIZERS

Farmers should apply about 35 tonnes of well decomposed farm yard manure in the field before planting. Annual fertilizer application of 20kg “N”, 30 kg “K” and 80kg “P” per h/a is beneficial in autumn and again  immediately after flowering.

YIELD

Generally,  150 to 160 Saffron flowers are needed to make 1 gram of dried saffron. Usually, during the 1st year of plantation 60 -65% of corms will produce 1 flower each and in the subsequent years each corm will produce about 2 flowers.

BENEFITS

Saffron is being used in culinary as well as medicines. Saffron is mainly used in culinary seasoning and to get colour, cottage cheese, Biryanis, meats, liquors, cordials, cakes, confectioneries, breads and Mughlai dishes. Saffron is used commercially in perfumes  and cosmetics. When it comes to medicinal use, Saffron is used in fevers, Ayurvedic treatment to  heal arthritis, impotence and infertility. 

       

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MAIZE FARMING & PRODUCTION

                                     

Maize is the most important grain crop in South Africa, being both the major feed grain and the staple food for the majority of the South Africa population. About 60% of the maize produced in South Africa is white and the other 40% is yellow maize. Yellow maize is mostly used for animal feed production while white maize is primarily produced for human consumption.

PRODUCTION

Maize is planted from October to December, after enough rain has fallen to let the seed germinate. There is a great variation in planting time between the eastern and western production regions, because of differences in temperatures, rainfall and the duration of the growing season. It can take anything between 90 to 120 days for maize to grow to its harvest period, depending on the variety and climatic conditions.

HARVESTING

Maize can be harvested by hand with a sickle, but are harvested with machines on commercial farms where farmers need to harvest hundreds of hectares within a specific time. Maize is generally left in the field until the moisture percentages reach between 12,5% to 14%, but it can be harvested with a dry matter content of 30 – 38% if it will be used to make silage.

SOIL

Maize needs a dry soil in the spring, but not a soil type that will dry out too much in late spring when the young plants are developing. Growing maize on heavy, day – type soils is probably the biggest handicap when trying to get the best out of this crop because of the difficulty in creating the correct seed – bed in the spring. Medium loams that are easy to work with in the spring, free-draining and will warm up early in the season to enable the young plants to get the best possible start are the most favoured. Very free-draining and light sandy soils can be too extreme.

CROP NUTRITION

Nitrogen is the driver and a lot of crops just don’t get enough because of an over- estimation of what  the slurry can provide.

Maize requires:

  • 180 kg/ha of potash.

  • 40 kg/ha of phosphate.

  • 150 kg/ha of Nitrogen.

Ideally, the application of nitrogen should be split with 75% in the seedbed and the remaining 25% applied at the 1-3 leaf stage. This will help the crop get through its yellow phase often seen at emergence.

                                               

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How sustainable is Amaranth Farming?

                                   

Amaranthus or Amaranth or Amaranths is one of the oldest warm climate leafy vegetable crops grown since centuries. At present Amaranth is extensively grown as a green leafy vegetable in many temperate and tropical regions in the world.

Amaranth is a wonderfully versatile plant that’s a beautiful flower, a delicious vegetable, and a nutritious grain all in one. It even has medicinal qualities. Amaranth has a high nutrient value and is a popular super food worldwide. Because it can withstand harsh climatic conditions, it is also an attractive crop to farm.

World demand for amaranth has sky- rocketed since the 1970’s due to a growing awareness of its health properties, including that it is gluten free. The grain can be milled into flour and the leaves can be eaten like greens.

CLIMATE

Generally, the plant prefers warm weather. However, you can also grow amaranth in the temperate climate during summer. Actually, the plant has efficient photosynthetic abilities and responds best in full sunlight. Additionally, the crop is resistant to drought thus it does not require as much moisture as other crops.

SOIL

Generally, growing amaranth is possible on all types of soil. However, the loam soil is most suitable for its cultivation. Fine seedbed is necessary for this crop and you can prepare a suitable bed by repeated plowing.

PLANTATION

You can grow the crop both in the summer and rainy seasons and in the temperate zone, you can start the plantation before 6 to 8 weeks of the last frost. The seeds of this crop are very small and is sown in flatbeds after mixing those with fine soil for good distribution.

You can transplant the seedlings after raising them in the nursery during the rainy season at a spacing of 45cm from row to row and 30cm from plant to plant. You will need about one kilogram of seed for sowing one acre.

HARVESTING

You can start harvesting when the plants turn yellow or deep brown in color. Growing Amaranth is a very lucrative opportunity for farmers and entrepreneurs that have sufficient land. Within a short duration of time, you can expect a good return from this business.

                                      

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CLEOME FARMING?

                     

Cleome (Cleome gynandra) is a widespread herb that occurs in South Africa from Limpopo to Namibia. Cleome gynandra is a species of Cleome that is used as a green vegetable. It is known by many common names like Shona cabbage, African cabbage, spiderwisp, cat’s whiskers, chin saga, and stinkweed.

Cleome belongs to the Capparaceae family. This herbaceous, erect, and annual plant grows to a height of between 0,5m and 1,5m, depending on the environment. It is a branched plant, sometimes becoming woody with age.

TEMPERATURE

Cleome is sensitive to cold and does not grow well when temperatures drop below 15ºC. It grows well when the temperature is above 27ºC. Because of its tropical origin, cleome is believed to be day-length – insensitive, but some cleome species are facultative long – day species (not restricted to a particular function).

SOIL REQUIREMENTS

Cleome prefers well – drained medium – textured soils and does not grow well in poorly drained or heavy clay soils. It also prefers sandy loam soils, rich in organic matter and responds well to well – decomposed manure. Flowering is delayed when adequate manure is available, allowing more larger leaves to develop.

PLANTING

Seeds are planted at a shallow depth to ensure emergence and a good field stand. Plant seeds in seed beds or plant directly in rows in the field. Mix seeds 1:10 with sand or dry soil before planting.

IRRIGATION

Water requirements vary with the crop’s growth stage, soil type, and weather conditions (hot or cold). Frequent irrigation will be required for sandy soils as these drain quickly. Clay soils, on the other hand, drain quite slowly and hold more water than sandy soils.

HARVESTING

Harvest Maturity

Leaves: Cleome is harvested in summer during the first rains and can be harvested until autumn. Leaf harvesting starts four to six weeks after seeding emergence and it may last four to five weeks.

Seeds: Seeds can be harvested when pods are fully ripe and yellow but before they open naturally to prevent shattering.

                                                       

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Why Pumpkin Farming?

                            

Pumpkins are grown yearly in South Africa. Pumpkins are being produced countrywide in South Africa with the main areas being: Mpumalanga, Vryburg, Western Cape, and Vereniging. About 40 000 h/a of pumpkins are grown yearly in South Africa. 

CULTIVARS

Recommended cultivars are:

  1. Carving – Autumn Gold, Gost Rider – takes 90 days to mature.

  2. Small / Pie Type – Amish Pie, small sugar – takes 90 days to mature.

  3. Giant Pumpkin – Big Max, Big Moon – takes 120 days to mature.

Growers supplying wholesale markets want heavy and uniformly sized pumpkins with strong, dark – colored stems and a deep, bright colour. Growers should keep track of the many new varieties of pumpkins available each year, consider the market, and plant varieties that are best suited to their operations.

SOIL REQUIREMENTS

Pumpkins grow well and produced excellent quality fruit in rich, light – textured soils. Sandy loam or well-drained loamy fertile soils, ideally deeper than 1000mm, are ideal for pumpkins. However, heavier soils can also be used as long as the drainage is adequate. The optimum soil pH is between 6 and 7.5.

PLANTING

Planting on a raised bed promotes drainage, so the roots do not have to deal with constant wetness, which leads to disease problems. The seeds can be planted directly in the site where they will mature. Pumpkins are usually planted in hills. Plant two to three seeds per hill about 2,5cm deep and later thin to one plant per hill.

FERTILIZATION

The plants respond to liberal dressings of manure and compost, which also help the soil to retain moisture. Pumpkins appreciate to be treated generously throughout their growth period. Good feeding for pumpkins is liquid manure applied at intervals of 2 – 3 weeks, starting when the first flower buds open.

HARVESTING

Most pumpkins reach maturity at 3 or 4 months after sowing. The fruit is harvested when the skin becomes hard and lose its shiny appearance.

                                          

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Start a Biodiesel Business

                                                                   

“Biodiesel” is very different from the normal diesel many of us know. The diesel we’ve used to is produced by “refining petroleum” (also known as crude oil). Crude oil can only be found deep beneath the earth’s surface, from where it is recovered and and refined into several products including – petrol (gasoline) kerosene, and diesel.

Biodiesel is not in any way related to or made from crude oil. Biodiesel is a renewable and clean burning type of diesel that is made from vegetable oils. It can be made from most types of vegetable oils including soy bean oil, canola oil, palm oil and most other popular oils.

The main reasons why the popularity of biodiesel is growing across the world include:

Reduced Waste

Individuals and businesses are looking  for more ways to reduce waste. This is why reuse and recycling have become a big deal nowadays. Millions of liters cooking oil are daily flushed down the sink or sucked into the drain. These can be recycled into a highly valued product that can power trucks and generators.

 Cleaner and Eco – friendly fuels

Biodiesel is biodegradable and non-toxic ( has a low sulphur content and doesn’t contain carcinogens), making it more sensitive and relatively harmless to the environment. As the pressure to further combat climate change increases around the world, it is expected that the volume of biodiesel that is blended with normal diesel will increase. Sometime in the near future cars and trucks could run on 100 % biodiesel.

Dependence on crude oil products

To avoid any future surprises from the unpredictability of global oil prices, more countries around the world are looking at locally accessible energy sources to up their supplies and to protect them from oil price shocks. Biodiesel is an interesting option for anyone who’s looking to diversify or compliment their energy supply sources. Both virgin and used vegetable oils are abundantly produced in South Africa, and this makes it possible for biodiesel to be produced anywhere in the world.

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CLEMENTINE FARMING

                                                   

Citrus is divided into four groups:

  1. Oranges.

  2. Grapefruit.

  3. Lemons and

  4. Soft Citrus – Clementine / Mandarins.

Clementine is the world’s premier mandarin. They easy to peel and if grown in single blocks away from cross – pollinating varieties, the fruit is seedless. When mature, the peel turns bright orange. Clementines has a distinctive sweet taste and flavour.

Clementine trees flourish in full to partial sunlight. Even though they prefer full sun , they can tolerate shade. Sandy soil is best for Clementine trees, but they will adapt to natural soil. To make soil sandier, mix in sand or a fine potting mix. Just make sure that the soil is well- draining.

PLANTING

Early spring is the best time for transplanting. Planting holes of 0,5 x 0,5 x 0,5m are prepared ad the soil mixed well with 2 spadefuls of compost or kraal manure and 250g of super-phosphate. Once the tree has been planted, the soil must be firmly tramped down. A basin for irrigation is made around the tree which must be thoroughly irrigated immediately after planting. Irrigate again the following day to seal any cracks in the soil.

FERTILIZATION

During the first year, nitrogen may be applied every 2 months. Any of the following nitrogen fertilizers may be applied:

  • 6 Applications of 25g limestone ammonium nitrate (LAN 28%) per tree or

  • 6 Applications of 16g urea (46%) per tree per year or

  • 6 Applications of 36g ammonium sulphate (21%) per tree per year.

From the second year , nitrogen must be applied twice a year , half in July and half in March. Fertilizer should be spread evenly under the canopy of the tree and irrigated. Phosphorus may be applied at any time of the year, one application should be sufficient. Potassium should also be applied once, early in spring.

IRRIGATION

During the first 6 months the trees should be irrigated twice a week and thereafter every 7 days. The irrigation basin should be gradually enlarged as the tree grows, so that it is always slighter bigger than the drip line of the tree.

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How to set up Cherry Farming

        

Cherry trees can only be grown in certain areas of South Africa. They prefer cold winters and don’t like hot summers, wind and frost. In addition, cherry trees are sensitive to root phytophthora and boll-worm. Birds love cherries and can devour up to 10% of the harvest. Growing cherries under netting is a solution to this problem.

Cherries are a crop with short harvest season. The cherry harvest in South Africa starts from week 41 – the second week in October, and ends around week 51 – the end of December, but certain varieties and late harvesting in some areas can extend the season into mid January.

Cherries are used to make cherry liqueurs and wines. Other cherry products such as cherry sauces, jams, canned and glazed cherries are also produced in South Africa. Dried, powered, freeze- dried and powered cherries in capsules are also available. But cherry concentrate (for juice etc) is imported.

Cherry Cultivars

Sweet cherry farming in South Africa started with the planting of cherry cultivars such as Early River, Early Red Five, Giant Heidelfinger and Bing. There are a large number of cherry varieties planted in South Africa, these include Royal Hazel, Royal Dawn, Royal Lynn, Royal Edie and Royal Helen. The most popular one grown by an individual producer is the red flavorful newcomer Royal Hazel. This is a variety with a good shelf life, is suitable for shipping and is already making up 10% of South Africa’s total plantings, of just under 390h/a. Other cherry cultivars also planted on large scale include Royal Edie and Royal Helen.

Harvesting

Cherries are a non – climacteric fruit – this means it is picked fully ripe and does not ripen further after harvesting. Cherry – picking is labor intensive as it needs  to be hand – picked with the stems intact. An orchard will be picked up to 6 times in a season. Harvested cherries need to be cooled to 0,5°C as soon as possible; this is often done using a hydro-cooler.

                 

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Sustainable Shallot Farming

                 

Shallots (Eschalots) are members of the alium family, closely related to onions, garlic and chives. Shallot bulbs grow in clusters, similar to cloves of garlic. The biggest distinction between shallots and other onions, besides their milder flavor, is their cellular structure. Shallots break down much more easily when cooked, allowing for a softer level of caramelization, or a more subtle touch when creating a foundation in sources etc.

Shallots are packed with micro-nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, and B vitamins. It increase your intake of micro – nutrients, protein and fiber. Shallot differs from the everyday onion in some fundamental ways:

Firstly – Shallots grows like garlic, in clusters rather than single bulbs.

Secondly – Shallots has a softer flavor, bringing all the essence of an onion without the punch.

Thirdly – Shallots is smaller and a little more oval – shaped.

Soil

Fertile, well – drained soil with compost dug in. In clay soil, use raised beds or rows.

Spacing

Single Plants – 15cm each way (minimum).

Rows – 10cm with 15cm row gap (minimum).

Planting

Easiest to sow as sets (tiny bulbs) which are planted direct into the soil from early winter onward. Can also be grown from seed in which case start in pots under cover in late winter before planting out mid spring.

Harvesting

It usually takes 2 months for the shallots to be ready for harvest. One signal that the bulb had reached its maturity is when the top part of the plant withers. Harvested shallots should be stored in cool places and it is advised that you put them inside a mesh or any other breathable storage,

Shallot farming is a profitable business due to the fact that it is not hard to plant and to maintain and is also in demand in the market. Shallots do not require a specific kind of climate to grow and can even grow healthy in a garden directly exposed to sunlight or shaded.

            

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How to start profitable pea farming?

      

Scientific Name – Pisum sativum L

Common Names – Matar (Hindi, Nepali) Pea, split pea, garden pea, seed pea, shelling pea. combining pea, field pea, dry pea, vining pea.

Family Name – Fabaceae

Commercially peas are grown almost in all parts of the cooler areas of South Africa, particularly in KZN, Brits and Rustenburg in North West, and in the Mpumalanga Lowveld. The pea is a green, pod-shaped vegetable, widely grown as a cool – season vegetable crop. There are generally three types of peas that are commonly eaten:

  1. Garden or Green Peas (Pisum sativum).

  2. Snow Peas (Pisum sativum var, macrocarpon).

  3. Snap Peas (Pisum sativum var, macrocarpon ser. cv).

Soil Requirements

Peas can be grown on all types of soil but it prefers well- drained sandy loam soils.The soils should be rich in organic matter as it enhances better growth by supplying nutrients at a slower rate. It does not thrive in highly acidic or alkaline soils or saline type of soils. It grows best at a pH of 6.5. If the pH is less than 6.0, then then it should be amended to improve the soil conditions.

Soil Preparation

The field should be well prepared by 2 or 3 ploughings. The soil should not be much pulverized and fine. However, it must be free from weeds and stuble of the kharif crop grown earlier. Well- decomposed farmyard manure at 25 to 30 t/ha along with 100kg dolomite per hectare should be applied during final ploughing.

Planting

Peas are normally sown directly where they are to grow to maturity, but they can also be sown early in pots, in a greenhouse, to bring on plants for planting out. Otherwise sow early March, second sowing in April, third sowing in May and late sowing using early varieties in June or even into early July.

Spacing

Garden pea is sown rather densely, with plant densities up to 80 plants per square metre. The seed should be sown 4 to 7cm deep. Approximately 60 to 200 kg/ha of seed is required. Plant peas 3 to 5cm deep and 2cm apart in single or double rows. Allow 46 to 60cm between single or pairs of rows. Allow 20 to 25cm between double rows in pairs.

Harvesting

Harvesting period: 58 to 74 days, depending on the variety and growing conditions (soil, temperature, and moisture).

     

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How to start Fennel Farming

                            

Fennel is an evergreen perennial which is usually grown as an annual in South Africa. However, in frost free regions fennel can be treated as a short lived perennial. In the cooler regions of South Africa, fennel seed can be sown from spring to autumn.

Because hot temperatures and humidity tend to induce bolting, in the rest of the country fennel is an excellent intermediate to cool season crop, sown in late summer or early spring before the weather gets too hot.

The fennel plants need to grow fast in order to produce the best quality bulbs and leaves so the beds need to be well prepared with lots of added compost or manure and a dressing of organic 2.3.2. Funnel crops sown in autumn may take up to 20 weeks to mature.

Planting

* Plant fennel seeds 1 to 3cm deep.

* Fennel plants can reach up to 1-5m and need some room to spread.

* Space fennel plants at least 50cm apart, with about 60cm between the rows.

* Protect fennel plants from extreme heat and wind.

* Water well until well established.

Fennel Health Benefits

* Fennel is good for digestion.

* Fennel is useful in the treatment of anemia.

* Fennel is extensively used for treating constipation, diarrhea, renal colic, respiration and menstrual disorders.

* Fennel helps in increasing iron absorption.

* Fennel is good for bone health.

* Fennel helps lowering blood pressure.

* Fennel may reduce getting cancer.

* Fennel boost immune power.

* Fennel helps in weight management.

* Fennel is good for skin health.

Type of Funnel

When it comes to selection a certain type of funnel, you can choose from the herb or bulb variety – both share a sweet aniseed flavor. Common fennel is widely available as a herb, but bronze fennel is well worth adding to your farming operation.

                              

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Parsley Farming

                                                                         

Parsley is a biennial plant with bright green, feather- like leaves and is the same family as dill. This popular herb is used in sauces, salads, and especially soups, as it lessens the need for salt. Not only is parsley the perfect garnish, it’s also good for you: It’s rich in iron and vitamins A and C.

Soil

Parsley enjoys well – draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Pick a spot that gets full sun (6 to 8 hours of sunlight). Try to choose an area that is weed – free; that way you will be able to see the parsley sprouting after about 3 weeks.

Planting

Sow parsley seeds 1/4 inch deep. Sow seeds about 6 to 8 inches apart. For larger plants, sow about 8 to 10 inches apart. Be sure to keep soil moist while seeds germinate. It can take 2 to 4 weeks for seedlings to appear.

Pests / Diseases

* Stem rot.

* Leaf spots.

* Carrot fly and celery fly larvae.

Harvesting

When the leaf stems have three segments, parsley is ready to be harvested. Cut leaves from the outer portions of the plant whenever you need them. Leave the inner portions of the plant to mature. If you want fresh parsley throughout the winter, replant the parsley plant in a pot and keep it in a sunny window.

Storage

One method of storing the parsley fresh is to put the leaf stalks in water and keep them in the refrigerator. Another method of storage is drying the parsley. Cut the parsley at the base and hang it in a well- ventilated shady and warm place. Once it is completely dry, crumble it up and store it in an container.

 

                               

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SUCCESSFUL BEETROOT FARMING

                                                                                  

Beetroot is generally a widely adaptable crop that can be grown under most conditions throughout South Africa. Beetroot can be planted all year round but as a rule of thumb, areas where there could be frost conditions or excessive heat around planting time these should be avoided.

Soil Preparation

As seed is sown directly, fields need to be prepared correctly and thoroughly. The soil need to be well tilled, free of old plant material and have a good crumb structure. Good soil preparation can be achieved by ploughing, harrowing, and leveling prior to sowing. The ideal pH for beetroot production is between 6.0 and 8.0. Beetroot prefer deep, friable, well drained sandy loam’s to silt loam’s.

Crop Rotation

Good crop rotation will keep the soil healthy and fertile. Beetroot can safely be rotated with the following crops:

  • Legumes.

  • Babala.

  • Cereals.

  • Tomatoes.

  • Cabbage.

  • Onions and carrots.

Transplanting

More than 90% of beetroot producers sow the seed directly in the soil, but seed can also be sown in seedbeds, and then transplanted. Seed trays or other containers can also be used to raise seedlings but this is expensive because of the high cost.

Harvesting

Soil should be slightly moist before cutting or pulling beets. If the soil is too dry, roots maybe difficult to clean and the rate of top breakage maybe too high. For the best flavor and tenderness harvesting should begin when roots are 3-4cm in diameter. Handle beets carefully after harvesting to avoid damaging the roots. Any damage reduces shelf life and increases the chances of decay and disease.

                                             

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SPRING ONION FARMING

                                

Spring onions add interest to many dishes. The white bulbs have a delicate onion flavor while the long hollow leaves can be thinly sliced to add texture and color. Spring Onion seeds are sowed from March to August at 3 weekly intervals. Harvesting can start 8 weeks after sowing.

Spring Onions are very easy to grow for commercial purposes and consumers like them because they can be used in a variety of recipes. Spring onions are sometimes called: scallions, bunching onions, long green onions, Japanese bunching onions or salad onions. They are a good source of vitamins A, B and C and come in white and red color stemmed varieties.

Soil Requirements

The best soil for the Spring Onion crop is slightly acid, with a pH between 5.3 and 5.8 – using calcium chloride to measure the levels. Spring Onion crop is produced throughout the year.

Spacing

Single plants – 10cm each way (minimum).

Rows – 10cm with 10cm row gap (minimum).

To sow Spring Onion seed outdoors, sow seeds thinly into shallow drills about 1,5cm deep with rows spaced 30cm apart. Water and keep the seeds environment moist. Once the Spring Onion seeds have germinated and developed into a substantial young plant, cover them with cloches.

Watering

Spring Onions like moderate moisture and water the onions when the soil is starting to dry around the onions. Be careful not to over-water the plant as you will get larger onions with a very weak flavor. Spring Onion plants need to be well watered throughout their growth.This is because of their short root length.

Harvesting

Generally, harvest Spring Onions after 8 weeks. Spring Onions are ready to eat once they reach about 6 inches in height with a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Usually, this takes approximately 8 weeks, but some may take a few weeks longer.

                                          

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CARMINGO APRICOT FARMING

                                                                         

Apricots in supermarkets have always been seen as a niche product and the new Carmingo range, offer a season extension. The product is a winner for consumers because of its good size, high natural sweetness and good shelf life.

Production Areas

Apricots thrive in areas with cold, dry winters and dry, hot summers. While they are produced throughout South Africa, the bulk of production takes place in the Western Cape under winter rainfall conditions.

Apricot Season

Depending on climatic conditions, the production area and cultivar, the apricot season in South Africa takes place from November to March, with small volumes trickling in around April.

Apricot Uses

Apricots are high in fibre, vitamins, especially vitamins A and C, and minerals. The fruit and skin are edible, but the stone is discarded. Apricots can be enjoyed fresh or canned, pureed, dried, preserved or juiced. They are also used to make chutneys and are included in cooking.

Production

Trees require a minimum of 4000 m3 water/ha per year. Production costs and labor are relatively similar to that of the older apricot cultivars but the establishment costs are significantly higher. This is working out at about R80/tree, as the plant material is subject to royalties.

Trees are usually planted at a density of 1000/ha spaced at 2,5m in the row and 4m between the rows, as these trees have a more upright growth. The fruit may be exported only by licensed exporters, which in South Africa are Icon Fruit, Delecta, Cape 5 and Stems.

To enable you to start successfully or to expand your farming operation you will need a Professional and well – structured Agric/Farming type of Business Plan.

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Start with Brinjals

                                                                                    

“Brinjals”or Eggplant” is a species of nightshade, and therefore related to the potato and tomatoes. Brinjal is a warm – season crop grown for its edible fruit. Good – quality brinjals can be grown in open lands across various parts of the country year – round.

Soil

Brinjals favor a well – drained loam to sandy loam soil. However, it will grow reasonably well in a wide range of different soil types. Certain criteria in terms of the soil structure and content must be met to make the crop commercially viable. These include nutrient composition, compaction, effective soil depth, pH, crop rotation, herbicide residue and the water- holding capacity of the soil.

Varieties

Different varieties produce fruit of different sizes shapes and colors. This varying from white to yellow or green, reddish purple and dark purple. The currently favored cultivars produce a fruit that is egg-shaped, 12cm to 25 cm long and 6cm to 9cm in diameter, and has a dark purple skin.

Harvesting

Pick Brinjals/eggplant when the skin takes on a high gloss. To test, press the skin. If the indentation doesn’t spring back, that fruit is ready for harvest. To harvest clip the eggplant of the plant with pruning shears, keeping the cap and about 1 inch of the stem intact.

Eggplants” will keep up to two weeks of refrigerated. If you cut open an eggplant fruit and find that the seeds inside have turned brown, the fruit is past prime quality and the flavor may be bitter. The best way to avoid this is by picking fruits on the young side. This is when they are a third or two- thirds of their fully mature size.

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PROFITABLE BROCCOLI FARMING

                                   

“Broccoli” has become a far more important crop of late due to its reported health benefits. Broccoli is also much easier to grow than before. The best months for growing broccoli in South Africa is February, March and April.

“Broccoli” is worth growing for its nutritional content alone. The crop is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is a good source of Vitamin A, Potassium, Folid Acid, Iron and Fiber.

Planting Site

* Broccoli requires a site with exposure to full sun – (6-8 hours per day).

* Plant in a bed of moist, fertile soil that drains well.

* Soil pH should be slightly acidic, between 6.0 and 7.0

Planting

* Outdoors – sow seeds 1/2 inch deep and 3 inches apart.

* Indoors – plant transplants that are 4-6 weeks old, outdoors 12 – 20 inches apart. Plant in holes slightly deeper than their container depth.

* Space rows of broccoli should be 3 feet apart.

* Water well at the time of planting.

Harvesting

Broccoli grown from seed will come to harvest in 100 – 150 days. Grown from transplants broccoli will come to harvest in 55 to 80 days. Cut buds when they are still green and tight. Cut the central head with 5 to 6 inches of stem. Leave the base of the plant and some outer leaves to encourage new heads on secondary shoots.

In general, broccoli plants can be harvested two or three times and for a period up to 3 months. Broccoli should be harvested when the heads are small, tight and firm. If flower buds appear, it should be cut immediately.

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CACTUS / PRICKLY PEAR FARMING

Cactus or prickly pear farming is enjoying renewed interest in South Africa. This is because of the drought and climate change as well as the commercial potential of a crop with abundant uses.

Prickly pear is a surprising simple cactus. Its easy and undemanding to grow. It is also hardy enough to survive in most climates, and boasts a cheery, delicate flower. Prickly pears are a cactus, so they need well- draining soil first and foremost. Plant them in full sun in a sandy or gravely mix and go easy on the water.

Soil

In order for the prickly pear to thrive, it needs to be planted in well-draining soil. Your best bet is a mixture that is dry, sandy, or gravelly. It can also do well in a mixture that is primarily clay, as long as it drains very well and soil does not retain much moisture. Prickly pear isn’t especially high – maintenance and can thrive in a neutral- to -acidic mixture with a pH level of 6.0 – 7.5

Water

Prickly pear cactus is extremely drought tolerant so water it less than you think it needs. In most areas, your typical rainfall will be likely be enough for the cactus to thrive. If not, you can plan to water the plant every two to four weeks.

Fertilizer

When planted outdoors in garden soil, no fertilizer is needed. However, occasional feeding may be required indoors. Use well-balanced fertilizer and let the plant tell you when it needs food. This will be when its green color starts to pale or it doesn’t flower, it should be fed.

Plant Usage

Farmers use the cactus pear to make fodder and silage. Consumers eat the fruit, bio gas made from the plan can produce electricity. Furthermore, the fruit can be used to make oil, juice, jam, jelly, and chutney and the cladodes  can be turned into salads. The ruit is also used to make beer, wine, mampoer or liqueurs.

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Golden Kiwi Farming

        

Kiwifruits also known as simply “kiwis” are a popular type of edible berry that grows on wines in temperature regions. If you want to grow a kiwi plant for its fruit, purchace a grafted plant from a nursery.

The three types of kiwi fruit are:

1. Common Kiwi – This is the type of kiwifruit typically found in grocery stores. It is a brown/fuzzy fruit with a thick skin and green pulp.

2. Golden Kiwi – Another popular type of kiwi. The golden kiwi is sweeter but more delicate compared to the common kiwi. It is closely related to common kiwifruit but less fuzzy and more yellow.

3. Kiwi Berry – This name usually refers to two different kiwi species, the hardy kiwi and the super-hardy kiwi. These kiwifruits are much smaller compared to common and golden kiwis and have a thinner smooth skin.

Development in the South Africa’s kiwifruit industry has been picking up pace over recent years. There are now 500 ha planted, including 200 ha of yellow varieties. South African growers produce good quality yellow kiwi. They produce it at a time when they can go into a market in Europe ahead of any other Southern Hemisphere players.

Input Costs – Hail netting for a 10 ha orchard will cost about R250 000/ha. To buy and plant young vines and maintaining through their first 3 years of growth can cost R250 000 – R300 000/ha.

The trees enter production in their fourth year. It will cost approximately R60 000/ha/year to manage a mature gold kiwifruit orchard from then on wards.

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PRECISION FARMING / AGRICULTURE

 

       

Precision Farming seeks to use new technologies to increase crop yields and profitability while lowering the levels of traditional inputs. These inputs are needed to grow crops – land, water, fertilizer, herbicides and insecticides. In other words, farmers utilizing precision agriculture are using less to grow more. Precision agriculture is the latest trend in agricultural sectors around the world, because it saves time and reduces cost.

DO YOU NEED TO SWITCH TO PRECISION FARMING???

Yes. It is already profitable and will be inevitable in the future. American farmers already save between $11 000 and $39 000 a year on average. The sooner farmers begin to implement precision farming, the more competitive they will be in the future.

Precision Farming Benefits:

  • Simplified Farming Processes.
  • More cost – efficient farming.
  • More time on hands.
  • Higher yields and more profitable.
  • Better quality produce.
  • Less waste.
  • Higher quality of life.

       

Many farmers are adopting new equipment to make their farming more precise. Tractors can map fields, drives themselves, and check it’s own motion so it doesn’t waste fertilizer, seed or fuel. Farnming technology includes remote sensing with data collection on variables like nutrient levels and soil moisture.

Precision farming is about managing variations in the field accurately to grow more food using fewer resources and reducing production costs. The main goal of “precision farming” is to improve agricultural yield and reduce potential environmental risks.

Future of Precision Farming

Some of the most recently technologies available and under development are the state – of – the – art robots. They are capable of managing crops more and more accurately with the possibility of collecting important data.

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HOW TO START A SUCCESSFUL FREE RANGE CHICKEN FARM?

                                                                                       

Free Range Chicken Farming is a method of chicken farming where the chickens are allowed to roam freely outdoors. This is done for a good part of the day rather than being confined in an enclosure for 24 hours.

In most free range chicken farms, the outdoor ranging area is fenced and therefore making the area an enclosure. Chicken meat is generally consumed in all parts of the world and is very healthy. There are many free range farms that raise chickens and making huge profits from their farming operation.

When you running your own free range chicken farming operation, it is better to produce your own chicken feed. One of the most economical  ways of feeding is to grow your own meal-worms as feeding for them. Meal – worms is the most ideal meal to feed free range chickens. It is also less stressful and inexpensive when you do it yourself.

Breed Selection

Free range chicken farmers work with various breeds like:

Meat Production – Cobb, Ross, Arbor Acres, Hubbard.

Egg Production – Lohmann, Browns, Lohman Silver, Hy-Line Silver, Hy-Line Brown, Amber – Link and Lohmann Hybrids.

Other poultry hybrids include the following chicken breeds:

  • Potch Koekoek.
  • Borschvelders.
  • Black Australorps.

With the market for “free range eggs” continuing to grow, more new players are getting into the sector.They raise chickens in a semi – intensive , free range or fully organic system. Many of the new entrants are tempted by the relatively low start up costs. Also, the potentially good margins as free range and organic products tend to fetch a higher price.

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How to be Successful in Spinach Farming?

                                                                                        

Spinach is not only full of flavour, but full of goodness too. Spinach is high in iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin c and low in categories. What most of us eat as spinach is usually “Swiss Chard” because it is:

  • Much more available.
  • Easier to grow.
  • Heat tolerant and
  • More productive.

Spinach and Swiss Chard are among the easiest vegetables to grow. They germinate easily, don’t take up much space and are easy to harvest. However, they are gross feeders and need regular feeding to be a great success.

Soil Requirements

Spinach seeds germinate at 2°C to 30°C. However, 7°C to 24°C is optimum. Seeds will not germinate well in warm weather. Although spinach will grow in temperatures ranging from 5° to 24°C, growth is more rapid at 15° to 18°C.

The plant requires a constant and uniform supply of water in order to obtain a good crop of high quality. During spinach production, the soil should never be allowed to dry out. Spinach requires plenty of water, although the soil should have good drainage.

Spinach grows well on a variety of soils, although fertile, sandy loams with a high organic matter content is preferred. Spinach is particularly sensitive to saturated soil conditions and to acidity. The optimum soil pH is 6.2 to 6.9.

Planting

Before planting, prepare and enrich the soil with generous amounts of organics as well as bone meal for root development.

  • Spinach and Swiss Chard can be sown in situ. Swiss Chard can also be sown in seed trays as it transplants better than spinach.
  • Keep the soil moist during germination – which takes about 5 days.
  • Seedlings should be spaced, or thinned out, to about 20cm apart.
  • Feed with a liquid fertilizer about 2 weeks after germination and at least once a month after that..

Plants should be spaced 10 – 20 cm apart in rows that are 30cm apart. This equates to about 160 000+ plants per hectare. Commercial growers that harvest mechanically plant closer together at 15cm by 25cm giving the grower 250 000+ plants per hectare.

Growth Period

Harvesting of the first outer leaves can begin at 60 to 70 days from planting. To ensure longer production periods and higher yields spinach needs Nitrogen in the soil throughout its growing period.

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Wheat Farming

 
           

Wheat is an annual grass with basic, erect, hollow or pithy culms. The wheat plant can grow up to 1,2m tall. The wheat leaves are flat and narrow while they can extend up to 38cm long. The spikes are long, slender, dorsally compressed and somewhat flattened.

Temperature

Warm temperatures are suitable for summer wheat (22° to 34°C) and cool temperatures are suitable for winter wheat (5° to 25°C). An ideal climate for planting wheat can be described as cool and moist, followed by a warm dry season for harvesting.

Soil Requirements

Well – drained fertile loamy to sandy loam with pH of 6.0 to 7.5. Soil temperatures of less than 5°C are not suitable for seed germination. Wheat is adversely affected by acidic soil.

Soil Preparation

Soil tillage is one of the important production practices over which the farmer has full control. The effect of tillage cannot be predicted for any season. Therefore, the farmer has to plan his actions to solve specific problems. Unnecessary cultivation’s cost money, time and effort, while valuable soil water is lost in the process. Such cultivation also cause re compaction that has to be addressed later. Minimum tillage (75 to 130mm deep) deep tillage (150 to 300 mm) or no till can be practiced. This will also depend on the soil type, moisture availability, type of cultivar and the previous crop planted.

Planting

Wheat is planted mainly between Mid – April and Mid June in the in the winter rainfall areas (Western & Southern Cape). Also between Mid – May and the end of July in the summer rainfall areas (Eastern Free State). The seed should be planted evenly and shallowly in a moist, firm seedbed. Germination, emergence and development of adventitious roots occur within 4 to 6 weeks after planting under proper soil conditions. The required spacing in the row is about 30cm and 50 to 100cm between the rows, depending on the available soil moisture or the farming method.

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Watermelon Farming

               

Watermelons are a member of the Cucurbitacceae family which includes squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, muskmelons, and gourds. Individual plants produce both male and female flowers and fruit sizes varies from 2 to 14kg, depending on variety. However, seedless varieties will require pollinators. Watermelon leaves are dark green, with prominent veins. They have three large lobes, each further divided into small lobes. Watermelon leaves are heart shaped with three to seven lobes per leaf and are produced on trailing vines.

Cultivars

Selecting the best watermelon variety is the most important decision made by any producer. Planting a variety watermelons that is not suited for the available market and the particular production situation leads to lower profits or possibly crop failure. In addition to market acceptability, a variety must have an acceptable yield, be adapted to the production area and have the highest level of needed pest resistance available.

The major watermelon varieties and types produced are Charleston, Gray Strains, Crimson Sweet, Jubilee, All sweet, Royal Sweet, Sangria, Triploid Seedless, and Black Diamond types.

Temperatures

Watermelons are sensitive to cold temperatures and even a mild frost can severely damage the crop. The best average temperature range for watermelon production during the growing season is between 18°C and 35°C. Temperatures above 35°C or below 10°C will slow the growth and maturation of the crop.

Soil Requirements

Watermelons row best on non-saline sandy loam or silt loam soils. Light – textured fields warm up faster in the spring and are therefore favored for early production. Very sandy soils have limited water – holding capacities and must be carefully irrigated and fertilized to allow for high yield potential. The soil should have a pH of ,8 to 6,6.

Planting

In the winter rainfall area watermelons are planted in September and October, in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga Lowveld from June to August, and in the rest of the country from August to October. The crop matures 3 months after planting, and the yield varies from five to 72 t/h.a.

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Lavender Production

             

Lavender is a perennial bushy shrub growing 0,3 to 1,2m high. True lavender has a compact and rounded growth form. The aromatic evergreen leaves are completely opposite and up to 5cm long. Flowering occurs in the summer and flowers form interrupted spikes and have a very sweet fragrance.

LAVENDER – TEMPERATURE

The Lavender product can tolerate moderate frost and drought. Spike lavender cannot tolerate frost. All lavenders are sensitive to high humidity. High summer temperatures adversely affect oil quality.

Because there are such variable types of lavender, some grow well in different climatic zones from cold to subtropical. Different varieties should be tested to see which will grow best in each micro-climate.

LAVENDER – SOIL

Lavender requires well-drained light, sandy, or sandy loam, or gravelly soils nin full sun. Low- fertility soils are still suitable. Soil pH should be between 5,8 and 8,3. Too moist soils will cause poor plant growth, diseases or kill the plant.English lavenders prefer alkaline soils, whereas the lavandin varieties require slightly more acidic soils.

LAVENDER – PLANTING

The Lavender product is normally planted in row widths of 1,2 to 2,0m apart, with 30 to 60cm between plants. This gives a plant density of 8000 to 28000 plant per hectare. Spacing is done according to available moisture and species, and cultivar size as well as mechanical cultivation and harvesting.

Higher densities mean higher establishment costs but also higher early yields. Plants also tend to support each other, so are more stable and last longer. A good vigorous plantation should be ready for harvest in the second year. Lavender plants can last for 10 to 15 years or longer if managed correctly. Seedlings should be hardened off before being put into the land.

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Sustainable Basil Farming

       

Basil is an erect herbaceous annual plant, or sometimes grown as a short- lived perennial in some areas. It grows into a bushy shape up to about 50cm tall and some varieties may even grow taller. The stems are herbaceous in young tissue. However, these become woody as the plant matures. Basil Farming has good returns and easy to grow.

BASIL FARMING – PROPAGATION

Propagation is from seed but cuttings can also be planted. Commercial growers will plant basil seed by direct sowing or what is more common is to make seedlings in a protected environment or greenhouse and plant these out after three or four weeks.

BASIL FARMING – PLANTING

Planting of basil seedlings is done by hand and mechanically. Direct sow 10cm in the row to ensure a full stand of basil. Thin out later to the desire plant density. Plants should be spaced30cm apart in rows that are 50cm apart. This is between 65 000 and 67 000 basil plants per hectare. Some commercial farmers increase plant density between 80 000 to 100 000 plants per hectare.

 BASIL FARMING – IRRIGATION

The Basil plant is very sensitive to moisture stress so it is very important to keep soil at the optimum capacity advised for the type of soil. Install moisture readers for constant monitoring. Stress will bring on flower, which is detrimental to production. Basil can be irrigated by sprinkler or drip. Drip is, however, best as it keeps the leaves dry. Wet foliage can cause fungus growth, which damages the leaves. Depending on the weather and temperature basil can grow on about 40mm of irrigation per week.

BASIL FARMING – GROWTH

From the time the basil seeds are planted to when the first harvest can be done is about ten weeks. Thereafter the basil can be harvested twice more. Cut the basil 15cm above the ground allowing enough stem for re – growth. 

BASIL FARMING – FERTILIZATION

Do not over fertilize as this will hasten maturity and flowering. Fertilize according to soil analysis done on the soil prior to planting. About 200 to 300kg of 3.1.5 when plants are about 20cm high should be ample until the first harvest.

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SUCCESSFUL RADISH FARMING

      

Radishes are a hardy, very easy-to-grow root vegetable that can be planted multiply times in a growing season. Plus, radishes can be harvested as soon as three weeks after planting.

Planting

Grow radishes in full sun or partial shade. Plant radishes in loose, well-drained soil. Remove soil lumps, rocks, and roots from radish planting beds. Obstructions can cause roots to grow malformed. Add organic matter to planting beds before sowing radishes. Radishes prefer a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.8.

Varieties

Radishes can be grown for spring or winter crops. Spring varieties are the common small red varieties. Winter radishes are larger, oblong, and can grow 8 to 9 inches long.

Spring Crops:

  • Cherry Belle – 22 days.
  • Burpee White – 25 days.

Winter Crops:

  • Black Spanish – 55 days.
  • White Chinese – 60 days.

Harvesting

Spring radishes require 20 to 30 days to reach harvest. Winter radishes require 50 to 60 days to reach harvest. Radishes are ready for harvest when roots reach 1 inch across. Lift the whole plant when radishes are the right size. Lift a few or push the soil aside gently to decide if they are large enough to harvest. Do not leave radishes in the ground too long or they will become pithy.

Water & Feeding

Keep radish planting beds moist but not wet. Even, regular watering will result in quick growth. Radishes that receive too little water will become woody tasting. Prepare planting beds with aged compost. Side dress radishes with aged compost at mid season.

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SMALL SCALE GROUNDNUTS FARMING

    

Groundnut production/ farming can hold many benefits for smallholder farmers, especially when included on a crop rotation program. These benefits include enhancing the nitrogen content of the soil. Groundnuts do best in warm regions, where the minimum air temperature does not fall below 15 degrees C during the growing season.

Soil & Climate

Best results are obtained from deep, well- drained soils in good condition. Suitable soils include sands and sandy loams. Groundnuts will not grow well on acid soils and thus liming may be necessary for good production (the ideal pH is 5,3 to 6,8). Groundnuts must not be grown on the same land more than once in every four years. Groundnuts are a good crop to grow before maize.

Groundnuts are sensitive to cool overcast conditions both in the early part of the season and during pod filling. The ideal season is one which has much sunshine, coupled with sufficient rainfall, especially during pegging and pod filling.

Fertilization

Basic fertilization – Groundnuts should be grown in rotation with cereals (e.g. maize and sorghum), which have been fertilized, because groundnuts respond well when a fertilizer is applied to the previous crop rather than to the groundnuts themselves. Thus, in the most cases, no basal compound fertilizer is applied. Groundnuts  respond well to manure, because the manure not only supplies nutrients, but also helps to ameliorate soil acidity.

Top dressing – Groundnuts have a high requirement for calcium, especially during the pegging stage. Low availability of calcium at this stage will result in a large proportion of empty shells.

Harvesting

The harvesting process includes loosening, lifting, wilting, cocking (curing), picking and finally shelling. It is important that once the plants are lifted they be allowed to wilt for a few days with the pods exposed to the air before cocking. When cocking the groundnuts keep the plants off the ground. Ensure the cock is constructed to allow free flow of air through the cock, to facilitate rapid drying. Curing and drying may take from 2 to 4 weeks. Begin picking when the kernels rattle in the pods.. It is possible to pick one to two bags per person per day.

Groundnuts must be dry before placing in a storehouse. The storehouse must be dry, cool and well ventilated. It is best to store groundnuts in their shells.

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HOW TO START A GINGER FARMING OPERATION?

                   

Ginger is used to produce ginger wine, ginger beer, cordials, pickles and pharmaceutical preparations. A daily intake of 5g of ginger is reported to protect against coronary artery disease (CAD) and normally afflicts individuals who habitually consume fatty foods. Ginger is also used for soft drinks and different medicine preparations.

Planting

The ginger rhizome is broken into smaller pieces and these are used as plant material. The pieces should be about 50 to 75 grams in size and are planted into the plant area at a depth of 15cm.

Spacing

Ginger plants should be spaced 25cm apart in rows that are 30cm apart. This equates to approximately 100 000 to 120 000 plants per hectare. Paths for the tractors and other implements are left every few rows and this depends on the width of the tractors or implements that are used.

Growth

Ginger takes 8 – 10 months to produce a god – sized rhizome or tuber for the harvesting of mid – season ginger in April and May for the fresh market. Late ginger is harvested almost a year after planting in June and July. Late ginger is sold fresh but is also dried and ground or used to extract the oils.

Irrigation

It is a good practice to apply mulching along the plant rows. This keeps the soil from losing moisture and controls the growth of weeds. Ginger does well in high rainfall regions – so irrigation is important over the entire growing period. An irrigation schedule of between 45 and 50 millimeters per week is advised.

Fertilization

Fertilize the plant each six to eight weeks, using organic fertilizer like seaweed extract or fish emulsion. he necessary nutrition it needs to grow ginger are:

Nitrogen – Essential for chlorophyll, proteins, and amino acids.

Phosphorus – It performs a vital part of respiration. Phosphorus is also critical to the evolution of enzymes, phospholipads, and nucleic acids.

Potassium – Necessary for yeast activation, osmosis, transpiration, also the opening and closing of the stomates of the leaves.

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SUCCESSFUL OKRA FARMING

                 

Okra is an economically important vegetable crop of many countries in Africa including Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Egypt and many others. It has the nickname “lady’s finger” and is sometimes called “gumbo” in most other places. Farmers growing Okra for profit do so to meet both domestic and foreign market demands.

Okra is easy to grow and use and looks lovely throughout the growing season due to its beautiful flowers. It is also rich in Vitamin A and low in calories, which makes it a great addition to any diet.

Planting

Okra likes fertile, well – composted soil and needs moisture and warmth to thrive. Although okra typically has no problems with diseases or pests it is very sensitive to frost. Heat – loving okra is capable of withstanding dry periods once established. Okra can grow around 75cm wide and 120 – 180 cm tall.

Growing

The key to maintaining okra production continuously throughout summer is to harvest regularly. Only 3 to 4 days are required from the time the okra flower opens until the pod reaches harvest maturity. For this reason, okra must be harvested at least every day during the growing season.

Crop Rotation

Since Okra is very susceptible to damage by nematodes, one should follow a crop rotation, using such crops as grasses and small grains, which prevent a building of nematode populations. Okra should not follow vine crops, such as squash and sweet potatoes because these crops tend to increase nematode population.

Fertilizer

Okra grows best on soils that have a pH of 5.8 to 6.5. A “soil test” will indicate if lime is required and will also specify the amount of fertilizer to apply. If lime is recommended, use “dolomitic” lime. Apply it 3 or 4 months before the crop is seeded. If a soil test is not available, general recommendations are to apply. Use 600 to 800 pounds per acre of a complete fertilizer such as 6-12 or 5 -10 -15. This can be mixed under the row or applied in a band to the side.

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DRAGON FRUIT FARMING – HOW TO START

               

Dragon fruit is a tropical fruit of the climbing cacti (Cacta cease) family. It is also known as pitaya or strawberry pear and is a native species of Mexico, Central and South America. Dragon Fruit is mainly eaten fresh and is best served chilled. The thick skins are easily peeled to reveal white or pink to red flesh, dotted with tiny black seeds

Varieties

There are three most commonly farmed varieties of dragon fruit:

1. pink – red skin with red flesh.

2. rare yellow skinned dragon fruit with white flesh and

3. pink – red dragon fruit with white flesh.

Dragon fruit is best propagated from cuttings. The plants prefer well – drained and composted soil in warm areas with a rainfall of at least 400 mm and up to 1500 mm per year. High – density planting of up to 1250 plants/ha is easily managed, with a spacing of 4m x 5m x 2.5m, depending on trellising systems. The thick fleshy stems can grow up to  4m, in a single growing season and must be trained and tied onto a single pole or trellis system of about 1.8m high. Precast concrete poles are widely used and three to four plants can be trained onto one pole.

Harvesting

As the fruit develops, it starts changing colour at 26 – 30 days after pollination. It should be ready to harvest in about 30 – 34 days, a few days after the fruit has changed colour. After harvesting by hand, dragon fruit is washed in a food – grade disinfectant and size – graded by weight. The fruit is then sorted according to superficial damage, e.g. ants or fruit flies, shrivel, skin colour as well as the colour and condition of the bracts (scales). The plants bear fruit two years after planting and is in full production within 5 years. Depending on the cultivar and condition of the plantings, yields of 15 – 35 tons/ha can be expected.

Dragon Fruit Uses

Dragon Fruit is primarily grown for the fresh eating market and it often sold at farmers markets in South Africa. The fruit can also be processed into many value – added products such as dried fruit rolls, fruit bars, ice cream, jams, juices, pastries as fruit pulp and in yogurt.

Benefits

* Helping to boost immunity.

* High levels of Vitamin C.

* Speed up metabolism and the digestive process.

* Regulate blood sugar.

* Helpful in diets for diabetics.

* Contains vitamins B1, B2 and B3.

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SUCCESSFUL KALE OR BORE COLE FARMING

                     

Kale – also called Bore Cole, is a cool season crop that belongs to the Brassicas family. Its leaves , which are rich in  vitamins and essential mineral elements are widely utilized alone or mixed with other vegetables, pulses or meat. It is an all-year crop and has the potential to reduce poverty levels.

BENEFITS

* High in iron which is essential for good health.

* Rich in Vitamin K which helps in protecting the body against various cancers.

* High in fiber, low in calorie and zero fat.

* Has anti-inflammatory properties which helps in fighting against asthma, arthritis etc.

* Rich in Vitamin and C.

* Good source of calcium which helps in preventing osteoporosis and bone loss.

Kale is typically grown like other greens, making it easy for existing growers to incorporate it into their farming systems. Kale has a similar flavor to traditional greens, and there are multiple ways to prepare it. Its growing popularity is linked to its perceived health benefits.

VARIETIES

Basically, there are 3 main varieties, dwarf (below 40cm), medium (40 – 80cm) and tall (above 80cm). Tall variety sheds the leaves early and has less production. Main dwarf type varieties are dwarf green curled scotch, dwarf moss curled, moss curled and hamburger market (medium to tall).

SOIL

The Kale crop prefers well – drained sandy loam soil with good organic matter. It can be grown on a wide range of soils having good drainage conditions. This hardy crop tolerates salts in the soil. the ideal soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5 (slightly acidic) will result in a good yield.

HARVESTING

In Kale leaves cultivation, harvesting starts from November and continues up to January. For better quality, it should be harvested at the right vegetative stage. Harvested leaves should be bundled, packed and marketed.

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STARTING A QUAIL EGG PRODUCTION BUSINESS

                       

QUAIL is a general name that is given to a generation of mid-sized birds generally placed in the order Galliformes. There are loads of poultry’s that raise quail for meat and eggs and they are making huge profits from this type of farming operation.

There are loads of opportunities in the poultry farming industry and quail egg production is one of them. In recent time, quail egg production is known by all and it has evolved from small scale to a global industry in most countries where it is carried out.

Quail is a bird about the size of a plump pigeon. Quails reach adulthood in six weeks and start laying eggs almost immediately after this. That means you can start selling a portion of the eggs and get a quick return on your initial investment. Quails lay around 350 eggs a year and females don’t need males to lay eggs.

Once you’ve started selling your quail eggs, you can also consider selling quail meat. The meat is delicious and also healthy. Quail meat and eggs are quickly gaining popularity because the products provide important minerals and vitamins. The meat and eggs are low in fat and high in protein which makes it very popular. It can help with the treatment of diseases like diabetes, tuberculosis, liver disease, hypertension and a host of other ailments.

Quails don’t eat much and will thrive on a special mixture of corn, wheat calcium carbonate and sunflower seeds. They even eat chicken feed, other grains, leaves and insects. Some quail farmers feed the quails weeds from their garden and therefore doesn’t require high maintenance. Your main concern would be to keep the birds well fed and watered.

Breeding

For successful breeding purpose, you have to keep male and female quails on a proper ratio.The most effective ratio for successful breeding is 5:1.That means, one male with every 5 female quails. Quails don’t hatch their eggs so you can also plan to purchase an incubator for hatching their eggs.

Quails are highly disease resistant unlike chickens. Diseases and other health issues are less in quails. By proper care and management, you can keep your birds healthy and productive and free from all types of illnesses or health issues.

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HOW TO START A DRONE RENTAL BUSINESS?

             

If you are interested in the drone technology industry and you are looking to launch a business as an aspiring entrepreneur, one of your best bet is to launch a “drone rental” business. The right time to star a drone rental business is now because this business concept is presently at it’s growing stage.

Setting up a drone rental business could be fun, profitable and interesting for someone who is smart and with a positive outlook. With the right location , reliable drones and good marketing skills, you can attract loads of clients. Whether drones are controlled by a remote or accessed via a smart phone app, they posses the capability of reaching the most remote areas with little to no manpower needed and require the least amount of effort, time, and energy. This is one of the biggest reasons why they being adopted world wide, especially by sectors like: Commercial, Agriculture, Personal and Future Technology.

Surviving in the business world as a drone rental operator requires more than having reliable and easy to use drones, your expertise, creativity, and knowing how to deliver etc but also how to network with key people that matters; entrepreneurs/farmers that can rent your drones.

There would always be clients who need to cut cost of running their business , hence the need to rent drones. Income can be generated by offering:

* Renting out reliable and easy to operate drones.

* Sales of used and brand new drones.

* Repair and servicing drones.

A drone rental business requires significant capital, solid planning, and attention to detail in order to keep your business profitable. The drone rental line of business is very open to any aspiring entrepreneur who has the capacity to open and run the business as long as they have all the required permits and licenses.

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HOW PROFITABLE IS A AGRO – TOURISM BUSINESS?

                              

Agro – tourism receives massive support from Government because it gives farmers and other stakeholders in the industry a opportunity to generate additional income and an avenue for direct marketing of their produce to consumers.

Agro – tourism is a booming line of business in any country. Agro tourists can choose from a wide range of activities that include picking fruits and vegetables, riding horses, tasting honey, learning about wine and cheese making, or shopping in farm gift shops and farm stands for produce or hand crafted- gifts.

Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own agro tourism business could be that the business is easy to set up and the start up capital is indeed affordable.. You can actually start your own agro- tourism business from a small farm. However, you need to ensue that you have things in place or activities that will compel people (tourists) to travel from far to tour your farm.

Agro – tourism is defined as a form of commercial enterprise that links agriculture production or processing with tourism in order to attract visitors, with a number of financial, educational and social benefits for tourists, producers and communities. Travelers are stepping off the beaten track and treading new paths, embracing local culture, food, flora and fauna. Agro – tourism caters to this rising demand for valuable experiences, by offering insight into (often unseen) industries. In doing so, it can also become a key contributor to the local tourism economy, attracting a higher volume of visitors and increasing the length of their stay.

Agro – tourism can offer guests new insights and experiences that in most instances, strengthens their connection with the environment. Whether it’s cut-flower gardens offering bouquet workshops, dairy farms inviting guests to milk cows, or those providing temporary accommodation facilities, it’s a great way to fuse travel experiences for guests with agricultural benefits for businesses.

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HOW TO START A SUGARCANE FARMING OPERATION??

                                                                      

Sugarcane farming is known to be a profitable business and over the years, it evolved from uncoordinated to a global industry in most countries where it’s carried out. With the recent advancement in technology, farmers can now comfortably grow crops such as sugarcane in a country where such crops can hardly survive and in places where there are few farming lands.

Soil

Sugarcane grows on almost all classes of soil, but it needs fertile, well – drained soil. Humid soils from 100 to 150cm deep with good drainage are most suitable. It grows well in deep well-drained soils of medium fertility of sandy loam soil textures with a pH range from 6.0 to 7.7. The optimum soil pH is about 6.5 but sugarcane can tolerate a considerable degree of soil acidity and alkalinity.

Planting

There are 2 methods of planting, namely manual and mechanical. The cane setts are manually placed end to end (or overlapping) together with fertilizer in the furrow and then covered with soil. With mechanical planting, the three operations of opening the furrow, planting the setts and applying fertilizer are conducted simultaneously.

Row Spacing

Closer spacing tends to result in higher yields, provided there is adequate moisture in the soil. Row and plant spacing for manual planting is 1.0 to 1.3m x 0.5m. For normal mechanical operations, the best row spacing is between 1.4 and 1.6m. The setts are planted at a degree angle or laid horizontally in a furrow and thereafter are covered lightly with soil until they sprout then the sides of the furrow are turned inwards. Optimum cover is 50mm of soil.

Depth of Planting

Furrows for planting should be approximately 100mm deep. Sets should be cut into five bud lengths.

Utilization

Sugarcane is used for sugar production, a raw material in human food industries, as a fertilizer and as livestock fodder. The primary use for sugarcane is to process sugar, which is then used in producing an infinite number of products. The type of sugar produced by sugarcane is called sucrose. Sucrose is used as a sweetening agent for foods and in the manufacturing of cakes, candles, preservation’s, soft drinks, alcohol and numerous other foods.

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HOW TO START A VINEYARD FARMING OPERATION

                       

A vineyard is a plantation of grape- bearing vines, grown mainly for wine making, but also for raisins, table grapes and non – alcoholic grape juice. The science, practice and study of vineyard production is known as viticulture. A winery is a licensed property that makes wine.

So, a vineyard can have a winery that produces wine from the grapes it grows, but it can also sell its grapes to outside wineries and purely act as a grape-grower. Vineyards are often located on hillsides and planted in soils that are of only marginal value to other plants.

The wine making process includes growing and harvesting grapes, crushing and pressing grapes into unfermented wine and fermenting the wine. The industry also makes wine blends, brandies and wines from other fruit sources.

Viticulture

The wine industry is undergoing an exciting period of change, both in the vineyard and in the winery. Wine makers are experimenting with new varieties of wine, as well as new clones of existing varieties such as chardonnay and Cabernet sauvignon. Large – scale experimentation with root-stocks is taking place to establish which planting material is particularly suited to conditions In most South African vineyards harvesting is carried out by hand, although machines are used on some farms. The grapes are picked into baskets and transported in bins to the winery where vinification begins.

Soil

Wine producers are focused on identifyng and selecting sites best suited to particular  grape varieties. In addition, new clones and root – stocks which particularly well adapted to the local soil and climatic conditions are being selected.

Wines thrive in poor soils and are capable of putting down roots to a depth of several meters in search of nutrients and water. Good quality grapes, however, are not produced on badly drained or very shallow sites.

After growing the grapes, you can sell or export them to wineries who are involved in producing the wine. You can also decide to start and own a winery where you can produce the wine and distribute them to consumers. Another option is to do both by having an estate winery where you grow the grapes and produce the wine.

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SUCCESSFUL STRAWBERRY FARMING

                    

Starting a strawberry farming business, is good news because you can’t get it wrong due to various species of strawberries that are consumed fresh by almost everybody and all over the globe.

Strawberries and strawberry flavorings are a popular addition to dairy products such as strawberry milk, strawberry ice cream, strawberry milkshakes, and yogurts to mention a few. Although farmers have been quite reluctant in participating in strawberry farming stating that the industry is not very developed, those looking into venturing into the practice are highly encouraged because of the huge income potential.

Planting

Strawberries can be grown from seeds, or using transplants (runners) from already existing strawberry plants. It is however more difficult to start with seeds and therefore runners are mostly used.

Cultural Practices

Mulching – after planting the strawberry plants, mulching the beds with pine needles, shredded leaves or straw helps to keep the soil temperature down, mitigate the weed problem, and also keeps the fruit cleaner by keeping the strawberries off of the dirt.

Irrigation – water is critically and essential when growing strawberries. The plants need a lot of water especially when the runners and flowers are developing. Drip irrigation is highly recommended as it waters at the root.

Pruning – this is majorly aimed at increasing fruit production. Flowers should be pruned off immediately they appear.

Fertilization – application fertilizers an manure boost production. However, if too much fertilizer is applied, this promotes excessive leaf growth and poor production of flower stalks. Too much nitrogen results in soft and easily – damaged strawberries.

It is important to state that strawberry farming comes its own fair share of challenges, but that does not rule out the fact that it is indeed a profitable business venture. An aspiring entrepreneur can either choose to start on a small or on a large scale depending on their financial status.

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HOW TO START A CABBAGE FARM OPERATION

                    

Cabbage is a kind of vegetable that is prepared and consumed in different forms. Cabbage can be eaten as a raw vegetable or steamed. Cabbage is a leafy green, (purple), or white (pale green) biennial vegetable plant grown as an annual vegetable crop for its dense- leaved heads. Many shapes, colors and leaf textures are found in various cultivated varieties of cabbage.

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WHY A CHICKEN EGG HATCHERY?

                                              

There are loads of business opportunities in the poultry industry and a chicken egg hatchery business is one of them. A chicken egg hatchery business comes with its own fair share of challenges, but that does not rule out the fact that it is indeed a profitable business. An aspiring entrepreneur can either choose to start the business on a small scale covering a small community or on a large scale depending on their financial status.

Breed

There are more than 200 varieties of chickens available today. There are many things to consider when determining the best breed for your flock. These factors include climate, breed temperaments, egg production levels and whether you want a “dual-purpose” bird that is good for eggs and meat or purely an egg producer. There are some breeds that work out better for a smaller farm or homestead. Combining multiple breeds in one flock is fine. They will get along, and whether you have one breed or seven, they will establish their pecking order.

“Laying hen” is a common term for a female growing chicken that is kept primarily for laying eggs. Some chickens are raised for meat, while others are raise to produce eggs, and some are dual – purpose. People may use older laying hens for food, or rise roosters alongside hens but dispatch the roosters as young, plumb birds for the table. Raising laying hens is a different process than raising chickens for meat. Most laying ens will live five to seven years, laying eggs nearly daily for out three of those years.

The Poultry Raising Industry has experienced positive trends in the demand for artificially hatched chicks and eggs. Increasing health consciousness among South African meat consumers has boosted consumption of white meat such as chicken, which is also more affordable than beef or pork.

TO SET UP A PROFITABLE EGG BUSINESS WITH VARIOUS INCOME STREAMS YOU NEED EXPERT HELP IN DEVELOPING A BANKABLE AND PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS PLAN – NEED HELP CONTACT US NOW – (27)84 583 3143 OR EMAIL money@global.co.za

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SUCCESSFUL AND PROFITABLE ALFALFA FARMING

                       

Alfalfa is a crop that is widely grown throughout the world as forage for cattle, and is mostly often harvested as hay, but can also be made into silage, grazed, or fed as green – chop. Alfalfa usually has the highest feeding value of all common hay crops. Alfalfa farming has been in existence for many years but does not in any way make the industry to be over saturated. Farmers are now exploring new technology to continue to improve the cultivation process. The fact that there is always a ready market for alfalfa makes the business highly thriving and profitable.

Alfalfa is commonly inter-seeded with small grains, such as oats, wheat, and barley, and it grows after the grain is harvested. The Alfalfa variety nitro can be used as an annual cover crop because it is not very winter-hardy and usually winter-kills under northern conditions.

Planting

Those living in cooler climates can plant Alfalfa in spring while milder regions should opt for fall planting. Since Alfalfa roots quickly, it doesn’t require deep planting- only about a half inch deep. Merely sprinkle the seeds evenly onto the soil and cover it lightly with some dirt. You should begin to see sprouts within 7 to 10 days.

Harvesting

If planting alfalfa for livestock, it will need to be harvested and cured prior to flowering (known as early- bloom stage). It becomes more difficult for animals to digest once the plant matures. Harvesting in this early – bloom stage also ensures the most optimal nutrient percentages, which is often found in the plant’s leaves.

Once harvested the ground will need to be turned before the next seasons planting takes place. Alfalfa has few pest problems, however, the alfalfa weevil can cause some serious damage. In addition, the stem nematode can infest and weaken stem buds.

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WHY AGAVE FARMING?

                   

Blue Agave is also known as “Weber Azul” a part of the Agave Tequila species. The blue agave’s boost of numerous economic importance and is mostly cultivated in South America and South Africa. The blue agave extract is the primary raw material used for the production of the tequila drink native to the region consumer globally and other distilled beverages.

In terms of the end user, the the blue agave market is segmented into food and beverages, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and others. The food and beverage segment is further segmented into confectionery, dressings, bakery, dairy and beverage.

Agave are remarkably hardy plants. They grow in dry climates, mediocre soils, and have enough natural defenses that any large predator is usually deterred. Blue Agave should be planted in well-draining soil that receives at least 6 hours of direct sun daily. While this plant is not fussy about soil conditions, it cannot tolerate wet feet. Pick a spot in the landscape to keep the plant out of cool air that accumulates in low areas. Locate your blue agave with an eye on the future. This relatively short – lived plant will reach an imposing size within a short time.

Another potential market for the South African agave is agave syrup or nectar. This is fast becoming a hot item in both the health food industry and as a possible replacement for sugar in commercial food production.

A small farm for your agave will only need five to ten acres at a minimum, but if you want to make a decent profit, you’ll want to consider 50 to 100 acres for planting purposes. Your expenses will be focused on paying for fertilizer, pest control, and harvesting.. You will also need to replace some of your trees on a regular basis to maintain the health and vitality of the entire farm. In the right climate, agave can generate an impressive income especially when used as a valuable by product.

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