Conservation agriculture links and published articles

The farmer, the veterinarian and regenration: A solution in waiting

James Blignaut

The world at risk
The world is plagued by extremes related to climate variability, biodiversity loss, a lack and loss of social cohesion, poverty, infectious diseases, environmental degradation and debt. In its 2022 Global Risks Report, the World Economic Forum highlights these matters (Figure 1) as being the greatest threat to the global economy over the next ten years. Sadly, this is also the story of South African farmers.

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Determination of environmental and ecenomic outcomes of dairy production systems in South Africa: a system dynamics approach

Riana Reinecke, James Blignaut

The dairy sector must demonstrate its positive contributions toward sustainable production through sharing science-supported and evidence-based information. It must do so in conjunction with assisting dairy producers in reducing their on-farm environmental impacts. This should be done in a manner that would lead to a more robust, profitable and resilient farm.

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Ontsnap uit die greep van stygende koste

Liané Erasmus

Klimaatsverandering, verlies aan biodiversiteit, verswakte grondgesondheid, stygende produksiekoste, hoër skuldlaste en uiteindelik verlaagde winsgewendheid is maar net ’n handjievol uitdagings waarmee produsente vandag gekonfronteer word, het Mary Maluleke (navorser by ASSET Research) deelnemers aan die Maluti- en Mpumalanga Hoëveldherlewingslandbouboeredae meegedeel.

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Conservation agriculture: Start your journey

Mary Maluleke

The final installment of a three-part series on conservation agriculture, Mary Maluleke, junior resource economist with ASSET Research, gives a short practical guide for farmers wanting to convert to regenerative conservation agriculture, and casts a vision for what would happen if all farmers in SA converted.

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Conservation agriculture: Does it pay to convert?

Mary Maluleke

In the second installment of a three-part series on conservation agriculture, Mary Maluleke, junior resource economist with ASSET Research, provides a financial case for three alternative farming systems which farmers often use. She also answers the question on whether it actually pays to convert from conventional farming to regenerative conservation agriculture.

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Climate-smart agriculture: Farmers can change

Mary Maluleke

Mary Maluleke, junior resource economist with ASSET Research, is back with another series on conservation agriculture. In the first of this three-part series, Maluleke gives context to a typical conversion journey while nudging farmers to ask important questions, and objectively analyses the long-term financial sustainability of their farms.

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The farmer, the veterinarian and regeneration: A solution in waiting

James Blignaut

The world at risk

The world is plagued by extremes related to climate variability, biodiversity loss, a lack and loss of social cohesion, poverty, infectious diseases,
environmental degradation and debt. In its 2022 Global Risks Report2 , the World Economic Forum highlights these matters (Figure 1) as being
the greatest threat to the global economy over the next ten years. Sadly, this is also the story of South African farmers.

Farmers need to adapt to climate extremes, losses in soil health and the associated ecosystem degradation, a failure in trust and an increase in the
fragmentation of relationships, increased debt and infectious diseases. Simultaneously they must seek ways to produce affordable, high-quality
food to ensure a country that has food security amid spiralling poverty and failing nutrition. As such, the farm has become a microcosm reflecting
many global economic concerns.

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The benefits of conservation agriculture

Erosion and climate change have created a food insecurity time bomb for Africa. Palesa Motaung, a soil scientist working for Asset Research, and Themakholo Mathebula, a field officer with the Mahlatini Development Foundation, explained at a recent research symposium how conservation agriculture is helping smallholder farmers face these daunting challenges.

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Groei sonder herlewing is negatief

Jan Greyling, SA Graan/Grain-medewerker

Die omgewings- en hulpbronekonoom, prof James Blignaut, glo die berekening van die koste van herlewingslandbou – in die omgang bekend as conservation agriculture (CA) of regenerative agriculture (RA) – vereis begrip van sekere inligting wat die bydrae van insetkoste se impak op die netto wins per hektaar aantoon.

Volgens Chris Burgess, redakteur van Landbouweekblad, is prof Blignaut ’n ekonoom wat die koste-impak van herlewingslandbou verstaan. “Hy is iemand wat die ekologie in ekonomiese terme sien en het ’n unieke manier om na die kwantifisering van bewarings­landbou te kyk.”

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Financial benefits of converting to CA

Dr Hendrik Smith, Mary Maluleke, Prof James Blignaut, Nic van Schalkwyk, Anika de Beer, Jaap Knot, Gerrie Trytsman

Crop producers are faced with the combined consequences of severe increases in input costs (even over a prolonged period of time), the negative impact of soil erosion on the productive capacity of a farm, climate change and being price takers and not price makers.

This implies that the options for the producer to hedge him/herself against financial distress, even catastrophe, are limited. Moreover, primary agriculture as a sector, more than any other, must consider the long term with more attention and seriousness given the nature-based character of its product, the contribution of its product to the welfare and well-being of the country, and the impact of nature – sun, wind, rain, soil and time – on its production.

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On-farm participation crucial for CA research

SA Graan/Grain editorial team

Conservation agriculture (CA) refers to an agricultural management system based on the simultaneous application of three principles: minimum mechanical soil disturbance, an organic soil cover throughout the year and the use of crop and animal diversity, including crop rotations and associations as well as livestock integration.

Dr Hendrik Smith from ASSET Research (formerly positioned at Grain SA) is the conservation agriculture facilitator for the Conservation Agriculture Farmer Innovation Programme (CA FIP). He believes that CA requires a radically different approach to both research and extension – it requires the development of innovation systems to adapt CA principles to local conditions.

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Dié ernstige skade aan grond kan voorkom word

Dr André Nel, Dr Hendrik Smith

Erosie van ons grond is vanjaar weens die hoë reënval besonder erg – en dit deur ons eie toedoen ten spyte van al die kennis en inligting wat ons het!

Kwesbaarheid van ons grond

Grondkundiges het in die verlede uitsprake oor ons grond gemaak waarvan ons opnuut moet kennis neem: Dit is dat ons grond besonder kwesbaar vir erosie is met ’n lae veerkragtigheid of herstelvermoë en dus besondere beskerming benodig. Die Verenigde Nasies se Voedsel- en Landbou-organisasie (FAO, 2019) beskou erosie as een van die toptienbedreigings vir grond wat hoofsaaklik deur verkeerde landboupraktyke veroorsaak word.

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Laat jou grond vir jou werk

Liané Erasmus

Dink hieroor na: Hoe moet een voel wat nie verstaan nie of wat nie verstaan word nie? Moeder Aarde praat ’n taal van harmonie, volhoubaarheid en diversiteit. Ons wend egter nie ’n poging aan om hierdie taal aan te leer, te verstaan, te interpreteer en te praat nie. Waarmee laat dit ons? ’n Verhouding vol konflik, verwarring, swak kommunikasie, min respek en uiteindelik geen vriendskap nie. Dit belemmer immers ons vermoë om ’n beter toekoms saam te bou.

Is ons as produsente nie in dieselfde scenario vasgevang met die natuur nie? Dit is ’n situasie waar al twee probeer kommunikeer, maar nie mekaar se taal verstaan nie. Gelukkig is daar talle riglyne oor hoe ons hierdie nuwe taal van herlewingslandbou kan aanleer.

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Groter kans vir sukses met ’n deklaag

Dr André Nel, Gerrie Trytsman, Dr Hendrik Smith

Internasionaal word ’n deklaag van oesreste op grond as een van die vereiste praktyke vir bewaringslandbou beskou. Dit is immers grond en water, die twee primêre landbouhulpbronne, wat bewaar moet word – en die deklaag speel ’n deurslaggewende rol daarin. Te oordeel na hoe oesreste hanteer word, lyk dit dikwels of produsente nie altyd die belangrike funksie van ’n deklaag besef nie.

Lede van die Ottosdal Geenbewerkingsklub het uit ondervinding geleer dat geenbewerking sonder ’n deklaag nie sommer slaag nie. ’n Suid-Amerikaanse bewaringslandboukundige beveel aan dat indien geenbewerking geïmplementeer gaan word, die grond eerstens bewerk moet word om enige moontlike verdigting op te hef en dat ’n geskikte gewas, soos babala, dan gevestig moet word om ’n deklaag te skep. Sodra die deklaag geskep is, kan geenbewerking toegepas word – gewoonlik met ’n baie groter kans op sukses.

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Ontsnap uit die greep van stygende koste

Liané Erasmus

Klimaatsverandering, verlies aan biodiversiteit, verswakte grondgesondheid, stygende produksiekoste, hoër skuldlaste en uiteindelik verlaagde winsgewendheid is maar net ’n handjievol uitdagings waarmee produsente vandag gekonfronteer word, het Mary Maluleke (navorser by ASSET Research) deelnemers aan die Maluti- en Mpumalanga Hoëveld-herlewingslandbouboeredae meegedeel.

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Conservation agriculture is an opportunity for change

Mary Maluleke

In the first of a four-part series on conservation agriculture, Mary Maluleke urges farmers to shift from conventional tillage to climate-smart regenerative agriculture. Maluleke is a junior resource economist with ASSET Research.

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Conservation agriculture: Address silent change barriers

Mary Maluleke

We value the pain of losing more than we do the pleasure of gaining, warns Mary Maluleke in the second part of her conservation agriculture series. She says more proven localised examples are needed of how it improved soil health and increased crop yields. Maluleke is a junior resource economist with ASSET Research.

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Conservation agriculture: Adopt perfect practices

Mary Maluleke

In the third installment of a four-part series on conservation agriculture, Mary Maluleke, junior resource economist with ASSET Research, takes us through the 'perfect practice' elements of conservation agriculture.

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Save on production costs with conservation agriculture

Mary Maluleke

In the final installment of a four-part series on conservation agriculture, Mary Maluleke, junior resource economist with ASSET Research, unpacks how, despite good rains and expected increases in yields, farmers are still on edge.

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Benut die natuur se gratis dienste

Hierdie is die eerste van twee artikels waarin Dreyer en Dreyer Bdy Bk se reis van ’n konvensionele gemengde boerdery na ’n bewarings­landboustelsel vanuit hul eie perspektief beskryf word.

Die boerdery is ’n gemengde boer­dery in die Vrede-distrik in die Noordoos-Vrystaat, wat bestaan uit akkerbougrond (20%) en natuurlike veld (80%), tipies van dié Hoëveldstreek. Diversifikasie word bevorder deur ’n braaikuiken­vertakking, wat nie verder in hierdie artikel bespreek sal word nie.

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Só integreer ons vee in ’n bewaringstelsel

Hierdie is die tweede artikel waarin Dreyer en Dreyer Bdy Bk se reis van ’n konvensionele, gemengde boerdery na ’n bewaringslandboustelsel vanuit hul eie perspektief beskryf word.

Integrasie van vee
Ons skaapraskeuse in die boerdery is die dubbeldoel SA Vleismerino. Bestuur word vergemaklik deur twee ooikuddes wat elk apart bestuur word. Ooie word jaarliks gepaar in twee groepe, met onderskeidelik ’n herfs- en lentelamseisoen. Vervangingsooitjies word op eenjarige ouderdom afsonderlik gepaar en hul lamseisoen volg sodra die groot ooie klaar gelam het. Dit bring mee dat ramme volwasse ooie en ver­vangingsooie na mekaar dek. Dit verminder kompetisie tussen ooie en die ramme word meer effektief benut. Daar word gepoog om ooie net vir 35 dae by die ramme te hou. Vrouehelpers gedurende die lamperiode kan dan hulle volle aandag aan die jong ooie skenk.

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