Establishing perennial crops
Establishing Perennial crops
July 30, 2021
Effective spring fertlisation for vineyards
October 6, 2021

Farm to Table: Potatoes: Mike Rice and Truter Lutz, from the farm Beauvallon outside Alexander Bay, grow seed potatoes with the Richtersveld community. 

This area has had very little rain, with only 18 mm measured in the last three years. Irrigation water is sourced from the Orange River. Water consumption is higher in this area than in other parts, due to seasonal winds, therefore irrigation practices must be closely monitored.

“The climate allows us to farm with potatoes all year round and because we are so isolated, we can produce virus-free seed potatoes,” says Mike.

The farm generally has alluvial soil, but sodium remains a challenge. Agricultural gypsum and other products are used with great success to overcome this issue.

Soil is analysed every three years. From these results, certain corrections can be done before the crops are established. Atlantic Fertilisers’ composted chicken manure products contribute to general soil fertility, crop nutrition, and as nutrition for micro-organisms. Microorganisms are important for the mineralisation of nutrients.

These products are also a source of fulvic and humic acid. A further advantage of these products is that the nutrients leach slower under high irrigation frequencies. The pelletised products are also an excellent carrier for micronutrients that can be blended into the product where necessary.

Mike uses organic, semi-organic and conventional fertilisers as well as Ocean Nutrition fish hydrolysate, (an organic source of amino acids and nutrients). These products are part of fertiliser programs that have been recommended by Pieter Beyers from Atlantic Fertilisers and Charus du Plessis, an independent plant nutrition specialist.  The seed potatoes are established with semi-organic pelletised products, and then followed up by a water-soluble fertiliser program over several weeks.

Other rotation crops and permanent crops such as wheat, maize, lucerne, raisins and almonds are part of the crop diversity on the farm. 

Semi-organic mixtures are used for the establishment of grain and lucerne, as well as for maintenance fertiliser for lucerne production. Organic soil conditioners, fish hydrolysate and water-soluble mixtures are applied to the raisins and almonds. These products are always the preferred products to use in a sandy to loam environment.

For more information, contact Atlantic Fertilisers at 021 972 1013.