The director of Ramogomana Farms, Peter Badenhorst has urged fellow farmers to take farming seriously as it has the ability to better their living standards. Speaking at a workshop on pests control and crop spraying in Mmathethe recently, Badenhorst told farmers that gone are the days when one farmed just because of tradition.
The 21st century farming is faced with a lot of challenges which can only be overcome by people who are committed. The challenges which include climate change, pests, diseases among others, demand farmers to change their way of operations. They also require farmers to keep up with modern day farming techniques, according to Badenhorst.
He told farmers at the workshop that it is not solely about ploughing or planting large amounts of land or using advanced technology such as tractors that brings one’s success but rather, the amount of care given before, during and after ploughing or planting is what matters the most.
According to Badenhorst farmers who use donkeys can also reap a good harvest if they give their plants proper care. He added that it is important to keep the farm clear of weeds as they are the breeding grounds of pests, adding that some weeds such as cynodon dactylon (motlho) compete with crops for nutrients.
The best way to deal with this kind of weeds according to Badenhorst or Ramogomana as his fellow colleagues in the farming community call him is to kill them by applying chemicals such as glyphosate. Badenhorst argues that fighting or controlling pests is a continuous process that has to be done before planting, during planting and after planting.
During planting one can use Greenland fertilizer for maize and sorghum and finally after planting one has to top dress by foliar feed, kelpak, orosorb, or qwemikelp. All these chemicals are environment friendly.
Meanwhile, fighting pests alone is not enough. With the current climate conditions which are characterized by poor or low rainfall and excessive sun heat, it is also important for farmers to know farming techniques they can use to reduce setbacks or costs.
Badenhorst argues one of the best ways of doing that is through deep ripping. Deep ripping according to Badenhorst helps to conserve moisture. It also helps allow the roots of the plant to penetrate deep into the soil with ease. Ripping breaks the hardpan made by the mould board beneath the soil.
If deep ripping is not done, the roots of the plant will not be able to penetrate deep into the soil for moisture. Deep ripping helps plants to sustain themselves for a period of time without rainfall as they will be sucking moisture from underneath the soil. FMB