Biofarm Basic Articles

Biofarm Basic Articles

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Dung beetles belong to the family Scarabaeoidea and there is approximately 4500 species world wide of which 800 species occurs in South Africa. Dung beetles feed mainly on dung and can be divided into three groups: tunnelers, rollers and dwellers. They can play a remarkable role in livestock farming. According to Dung Beetles for Africa, the tunneling and rolling activities of dung beetles can have the following benefits for agriculture: Improvement of nutrient recycling and soil structure; Increase soil aeration and drainage; Increase water filtration into the soil; Soil fertility is...

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Low Yield in table Grapes – Unexpected Culprit A table grape farmer in Augrabies, Northern Cape had a fairly good harvest this year, but one section of his vineyards failed to perform as expected. He asked Robert Fair, an irrigation consultant in Kakamas, to help him identify why. They inspected the under-performing vineyard together. Signs of over irrigation such as wet, compacted soil were immediately apparent. They decided to dig a hole in the middle of the section between two rows of vines. The farmer usually applies compost in this location on all of his vineyards. In his other...

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Opbouende wisslebou met weiding Dis ‘n groot jammerte dat soveel Suid Afrikaanse saaiboere hulle blindstaar teen die voordele van grond opbouende wisselbou praktyke waar beide weiding en vee ‘n integrale komponent is. Die groot druk waarin graan produsente hul tans bevind kan egter die nodige stimulus wees om boerdery praktyke ingrypend – en permanent – tot ‘n meer winsgewende en stabiele patroon te verander. Een waarin gesaaides en vee inderwaar as een boerdery besigheidstelsel bedryf word. Vanaf die sestig jare van die voorige eeu, het ‘n agteruitgang proses in gemengde...

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The value of measuring Soil N For far too long the all-important aspect of a soils ability to supply N has been virtually totally ignored. Farmer’s who are biologically orientated know, of course, that as they re-build the soil eco-system, their expenditure on N together with other nutrients will decline. The questions now arises, “By how much must I cut back on N as my you soil life improves?” The answer is really quite simple – you can measure soil N! Francois Smith farms on Groenfontein near Derby, which is about 70 km from Potchefstroom. Francois is both a crop – irrigated...

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Moisture conservation if of primary importance in crop production in South Africa – we cannot afford to let even 10 mm go to waste. Most farmers tend to believe that keeping a soil clean is one way to prevent moisture loss. The unseen loss is, of course, evaporation. A bare soil gets hot and the hotter it gets the greater the evaporation loss. It helps to think about the rivers of water that flow upwards from the soil into the sky. This spring I was able to get a rather remarkabl e photo that illustrates that bare soil can pump more moisture out of the topsoil than plants do. ...

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Amazing Results with Lime This story is not new; in fact it is about two years old. But I found a few precious photo’s that I thought I had lost. You know what a thrill it gives you to find something you really value? I want to show you these pictures because they prove that liming of high alkaline soils works mightily in situations were the soils are high in sodium and potash but lacking in calcium. (You must be aware of the fact that excessive levels of sodium and potash raise pH). The photos were taken on the Hodgson’s farm, which borders the Limpopo. Let’s look at the first...

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The Value of Calcium Nitrate Biological farmers face a dilemma while they are getting their soils into balance according to the Albrecht system: There is a shortage of calcium in the plants because lime might take up to three years to become fully available. This implies that the soils are not fully biologically activated and large amounts of nitrogen must be applied to get a good yield. As we now know, nitrogen displaces calcium in the soil. Calcium nitrate may be a good intermediate solution to this problem because it supplies calcium and nitrogen to the plant. Bruce Tainio is a...

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Biological Farming Basics What is Biological farming? Biological Farming is the activating and harnessing of biological energy on a sustainable basis for the production of high quality and profitable agricultural produce. Biological farming is farming in harmony with nature. It is a holistic and sustainable farming system that improves soil health, which in-turn improves plant, livestock and human health. The benefits of biological farming are numerous. To start with, it results in a reduced need for inorganic fertilizers and pesticides. Despite the reduced chemical inputs, biological...

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