This is No-till Club

Our Mission

No-till Club South Africa actively promotes and facilitates environmentally, economically sustainable farming for the benefit of all.

Our Objectives

To create a forum for the exchange of knowledge and experiences with no-till cultivation over a variety of crops.

To assess the expertise of members and to assist them to acquire the necessary skills to enable them to practice no-till farming correctly for their particular set of agronomic circumstances. 

To promote, motivate and guide research into aspects of no-till , by whoever is capable to carry it out, for the further improvement of members’ skills.

To pass on new knowledge about no-till agriculture to members through holding an annual conference and field days, together with the regular publishing and distribution of newsletters.

The No-till Club Committee

Our committee is made up of highly experienced professionals who are actively involved in and practicing no-till agriculture. We are passionate about what we do do and are eager to assist farmers wanting to pursue conservation agriculture.

EGON ZUNCKEL - BERGVILLE

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.
STEVE MORRIS - ROSETTA

vice 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.
BILL BERRY
Appropriate mechanisation for sustainable agriculture – lessons from Malawi are in harmony with findings in South Africa, Bill Berry, M.Sc. Agric. (Agronomy) has been consulting in the agri-business and rural development field for the past 16 years. He also has 21 years of experience in crop production research and extension, managing Agricultural Research Council and Government research sections, and has built up a solid knowledge of conservation agriculture farming methods and mechanisation. Between 2001 and 2005 he was involved in planning, implementation and management of a large commercial crop production enterprise in Sudan, growing cotton, sorghum, sunflower, maize, wheat and sesame, using no-till methods on up to 8 000 hectares. His research work initially concentrated on crop physiology, general agronomy, soil physics, soil water and energy balances in tillage systems, and crop modelling. Consulting Agronomist who pioneered on No-Till in KZN and many parts of Africa.
SIMON HODGSON
Using cover crops and plants to advance biological control of insects and diseases, Simon Hodgson / AGT Cover Crops, born, bred and raised in Zimbabwe- attended University of KwaZulu-Natal from 1981 to 1984, studied Agricultural Management. On completion of full time study, returned to Zimbabwe to farm. Experienced in growing Tobacco, Maize, Cotton, Groundnuts, Paprika, Rhodes grass seed, Beef, Sheep, Game and Timber, 2001 relocated to Tala Valley in KZN and farmed vegetables. 2003 started KwaZulu Hybrid Seeds in a partnership, specialising in cover crops. Bought out his partners and renamed the company Southern African Cover Crop Solutions. Sold SACCS to AGT Foods Africa, 2016. Currently runs the Cover Crop Division for the region – AGT Cover Crops.
rICHARD FINDLAY

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

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
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

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
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

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.

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