Soil

Soil Preparation book for grapevine industries just launched!

Soil preparation book

A brand new book was just released for the wine and table grape industries. SOIL PREPARATION for sustainable wine and table grape production, by Johan van Zyl and Eduard Hoffman, covers knowledge gleaned from research and practical experience that accumulated in South Africa over the past 100 years. The project was a joint venture between…

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Carbon farming can slash CO2 emissions

Carbon farming

Soil health improvement, a technique known as carbon farming, could cut the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere by more than one-sixth, a US business group says. US entrepreneurs say a new technique − carbon farming, improving the health of the soil − can achieve big cuts in atmospheric carbon. It says a…

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Cover Cropping for Climate Smart Agriculture

Cover cropping

In recent years there have been several new terms being used pertaining to modern agriculture. Terms such as Conservation farming, Regenerative agriculture, Sustainable agriculture, Climate smart agriculture to name but a few. All these terms suggest a different approach to commercial and small scale production. This article considers Cover cropping for Climate Smart Agriculture. Cover…

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What is Soil Carbon Sequestration?

Soil carbon sequestration

What is Soil Carbon Sequestration? Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide can be lowered either by reducing emissions or by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and storing in  terrestrial, oceanic, or freshwater aquatic ecosystems. A sink is defined as a process or an activity that removes greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. The long-term conversion…

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Seeding equipment for a drier future

Seeding equipment

The agricultural sector remains vulnerable to water risks and a changing climate. The droughts we are currently facing have had a great impact on the agricultural sector and farming communities thus far. New ways must be explored to adapt and be innovative to conserve as much soil water as possible in farming systems, like seeding…

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The role of Conservation Agriculture in Climate Smart Agriculture

Conservation Agriculture

The Western Cape Province and especially the agricultural sector is facing climate change with projections of continued warming of between 1.5 °C and 3 °C over the next 30 years. It is predicted that temperatures will soar, and heatwaves will become more commonplace. Dry spells and an increase in the occurrence of drought might well…

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Why massive effort needs to be put into growing trees on farms

It’s now over 50 years since the world was first warned that resources were being used at an unsustainable rate. It has now been estimated that almost one quarter to one third of the world’s land is degraded to some extent. Degradation refers to land that’s lost nutrients, or has changed physically, and therefore produces less or supports less…

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Conservation Agriculture and soil fertility management Part 2

Case study on a degraded soil in the North West Province Following an introduction to some theoretical principles and practices of Conservation Agriculture  and integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) in Part 1 (November 2018 edition), this article presents a case study of a one-season soil rehabilitation process of a degraded soil on the farm Humanskraal…

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‘Soil probiotics’ promise bigger, healthier crops

Fungi associated with soil probiotics

But there’s a downside More than half the world’s plant-derived energy intake comes from just three crops: rice, wheat and maize. These crops, like most land plants, live in an evolutionarily ancient partnership with a certain type of fungus, called arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. These fungi penetrate plants’ roots, even entering the root cells themselves. In…

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Conservation Agriculture and soil fertility management Part 1

Conservation Agriculture and soil fertility management Livestock

Theoretical principles and practices In South Africa, crop production systems based on intensive and continuous soil tillage have led to excessively high soil degradation rates with a reduction in natural soil fertility in areas under grain production. It also results in the consistent recommendation of the use of huge quantities of chemical fertilizers that are…

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