STEVE MORRIS - ROSETTA

CHAIRMAN

Let me list why I am using no-till conservation tillage, which we began implementing at the beginning of the 2005/2006 season.

The main factors in our decision were economic savings and the long-term soil conservation benefits.

The main philosophy of our farm is: “Do as much as possible with as little as possible” and the no-till system fits this perfectly.

Another philosophy we follow is: “Money we don’t spend is money we don’t have to find”.

At present we plant 960ha with 4 tractors and 5 staff members. No-till allows one to cultivate large areas with only one pass of the tractor, saving time and labour. Imagine conventionally planting 960ha – a nightmare!

The improvement of the soil in terms of improving soil structure and organic matter has many benefits such as:

·         Better moisture retention which assists greatly in dry periods due to the ability of the soil to absorb rainfall more effectively

·         Better fertility retention

During the 2008/2009 season my yield on 450ha was 9.5 tons of maize dry land.

 


 

EGON ZUNCKEL - BERGVILLE

VICE CHAIRMAN

I used to have problems like run-off; capping; poor aeration; poor infiltration; erosion; low organic carbon; low microbial and earthworm activity; high fuel bills; high maintenance, labour and machinery costs; time pressure; dirty dams; dust storms and the like. Must I carry on?

What happened?

After two consecutive years of entering the KZN 10-ton maize club competition, I realized that there was something wrong as the maize following wheat, (stubble mulch tilling) yielded 2 tons more than the neatly worked 10 ton entry. Drastic measures were needed and I converted to no-till 100% and have never looked back. Now I have the opposite of the above (opening paragraph) and instead of spending millions on "kilowatts", I can afford to buy descent tractors, planters and sprayers. That's what happened.

As a believer, I am confident that this is the closest method of crop farming to what God intended at creation.

 


 

BRUCE GIBBINGS

Bruce has a B-com Agricultural Economics degree which he studied at the University of Pretoria.

Prior to joining his father on the family farm in the Winterton district of KZN, William who is a

foundation member of the No-Till Club of KZN founded in 1998.

In the period after university and returning to the family farm Bruce ran a farmers study group in rhe

Bergville district whose aim was to increase maize and soya yields

 

 


 

RUHAN THEUNISSEN

Has a masters’ degree in mechanical engineering from the North-West University, Potchefstroom.

Within the engineering field his passions are energy management, renewable energy and

engineering economics.

When time allows he is involved and attends to the activities required on the family farming

working with his dad Dr Philip Theunissen, in the Bethlehem district of the Eastern Free State. Here

they practice conservation agriculture and currently are running a small mutton merino sheep

enterprise which is grown naturally on a cover/pasture cropping system.

Ruhan’s motto is “Responsible-and sustainable progress is a core value and is the reason for

advocate conservation agriculture to maintain and hopefully improve the natural resources available

on the farm.

 

 

 


 

RICHARD FINDLAY - HOWICK

I retired from the seed industry in 2005 where I was involved with many aspects of crop and pasture farming. The establishment of both pastures and crops using no-till interest me; I became involved with the Club in the same year and was elected to serve on the committee. Because I am convinced that this system of conservation tillage is of national importance, I am busy trying to spread the news far and wide, which was one of the reasons I undertook to organise the annual No-Till conferences.  I am situated just off the N3 on the Howick South/Underberg off ramp. I would love a visit from you! Come, pop in!  My contact no. is 033 330 2062.

 

 

 


 

KEVIN HORNE - HOWICK

It is a passion of mine to help farmers adopt no-till by keeping abreast with all the new technology, especially crop protection, which is my field of expertise. It is a privilege to be involved with a club which has "the" top No-Tillers in the country. One cannot put a price on the knowledge one gleans from these guys.

 

 

 

 


 

JOHAN DU PLESSIS - DUNDEE

Johan was on the board of the Protein Research Trust for many years but now is the KZN representative and co-ordinates the annual Super Soya Competition for KwaZulu-Natal.

Because soyas are very important as a rotation crop in the maize and wheat growing areas, it was decided that the No-Till Club and the Protein Research Trust would combine their efforts and offer a joint conference. Most important is that Johan is a very good facilitator and is completely bilingual, making him a valuable asset to the conference.

Johan not only facilitates the very popular question and answer section of the conference with confidence but makes the delegates feel comfortable about participating in the discussions. He is also the master of ceremonies.

 


 

GUY THIBAUD - CEDARA

Guy is employed by the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal as a soil scientist. Not only is he a valuable member of the No-Till Club Committee from the technical aspects of no-till, but he is involved in trial running at present on farms in KZN.

 

 

 

 


 

ANTONY MUIRHEAD - WINTERTON

The crops I grow are maize, soyabean and wheat. Here are some reasons why I am doing no-till:

1)     Economics: improved gross margins

2)     Soil and wind erosion

3)     Improved water infiltration

4)     Cooler soils in periods of drought

5)     Yields more constant

6)     Best method to get soil back into its virgin state, or as close as possible

Background:For ±20 years we tried to get the ideal machinery and only in 1990 we managed to get a John Deere no-till planter. This is when we changed completely to no-till.

 


 

RALF KUSEL - PAULPIETERSBURG

Ralf Kusel, partnering with his father Jurgen Kusel, farms in the Paulpietersburg district of Northern Natal, growing soyabean, open pollinated seed maize, commercial maize and popcorn.

After previous generations (1980’s) practising minimum till “Deklaag” and trying out no-till, problems were experienced with soil and plant diseases and planters were not well adapted for no-till planting.

In the late 1990’s, having included soyabeans in a rotation, importing appropriate equipment, and chemicals being available for the various diseases, no-till became a productive and self-sustaining practice. Major benefits are the reduction in soil erosion and building soil life.

 


 

SANDRA FINDLAY - HOWICK

Sandra who retired after being a bursar for a primary school in Pietermaritzburg for 21 years was appointed the Club’s secretary. She is responsible for keeping committee members in line at meetings and does all the administration. Sandra keeps a close eye on the large amount of administration involved with running the annual conference and makes sure we stay within budget.