Drought in South Africa
South Africa’s worst drought in 100 years: A chance at life after drought for crops
It came without warning or equivalent, causing dwindling water levels and farm closures. This drought’s effect will take years to reverse but, for farmers everywhere – and particularly in the Western Cape – such conditions are a daily reality. This state of affairs has forced farmers to seek alternative solutions, with many implementing sustainable farming practices and soil management tools, thereby overcoming existing challenges and developing effective operating systems for years to come.
A drought severely impacts people, the economy, and the environment. It forces us to question how to effectively feed ourselves and our country, as well as existing agricultural norms. Farming for the future involves finding sustainable agricultural solutions to alleviate the challenges of traditional farming in uncertain times. From home gardens, small holdings, and community operations to large-scale farms – even in the harshest environments – sustainable soil management has a positive effect reaching far into the future. More importantly, its effect can be evident after a relatively short period.
Farmers Upliftment in spite of Drought Conditions
Zylem subscribes to the philosophy that soil health is the key to plant health and that healthy soil mitigates against risks from extreme weather. Our biologically-friendly products are geared towards returning good health to the soil whilst reducing input costs and reliance on inorganic fertilisers. This era of sustainable farming has revolutionised how crop production is viewed and is gaining traction around the world.
Specially formulated by Zylem, Sea Brix and Amino K are two products designed to aid in the production of roots, shoots, and flowers – especially in drought conditions. Both products can be applied through irrigation systems. The macro and micro elements of these products stimulate beneficial microbes and contribute to the overall health and fertility of the soil.
Our Home Grown Solution
Sea Brix contains Triacontanol, a potent natural growth stimulant. It was formulated with the primary objective of maximising photosynthesis, the process that results in high brix levels in the plant. Since potassium is the macro element worst affected by drought, a foliar application of 3L/ha of Sea Brix plus up to 10kg/ha of potassium sulphate is very effective in mitigating the effects of prolonged dry conditions. Adding urea at 5kg/ha to the Sea Brix and potassium sulphate mixture is very useful but, when urea is added, it is important to reduce the potassium sulphate to 8kg/ha. The form of nitrogen produced by urea (NH2) has an extremely beneficial effect within the plant metabolism.
If irrigation is an option, Sea Brix applied to the soil is an excellent supply of an organic source of potassium. It reduces the ‘salt index’ (EC) associated with the application of inorganic fertiliser.
Amino K (fermented molasses) is an extremely efficient form of organically applied potassium in drought conditions, especially when applied to the soil through irrigation. It contains 4% potassium and other macro and micro elements, especially silicon and enzymes. With enzymes and metabolites from the fermentation process, it is an excellent food source for beneficial microbes, ultimately increasing plant vigour.