I farm in the Swartland region in South Africa.
My question know is this coming winter I want to do 500ha wheat KNF style. Our winter when the wheat grows it is to wet to do foliars every 2 weeks like I’ve done in the vineyard, so I have to boost the soil beforehand to try to get less foliars in during vegetative growth of the wheat.
My biggest problem in the area we farm is that our average rainfall during the summer, from Desember to Februarie is less that 5mm per month, this year we had no rain in this three months. That means that the little bit of soil life I had at the end of the previous harvest was burnt dead by the sun during our dry season.
1 Am I right in saying the sun killed most of my soil life as there was nothing growing on this soil in this heat?
2 How many soil drenches 100l/ha would you advice before planting after the first rains in April, planting in May with 1 application of the soil drench after planting?
3 Can you give to much of this soil drench?
4 How often should I give the KNF foliar, is every 2 weeks to much, can I stretch it to 3-4 weeks?
Hello. Somehow you need to keep your soil covered to protect and feed your microbial life. Have you done any experiments with under sowing legumes between rows? You may also want to consider doing alternating strips. One year you have a strip in wheat and the strip next to it in a multi species cover crop that is specifically selected for your climatic conditions. Then the next season switch these strips out.
Are you talking 1000’s of acres? If so I would encourage you to do a small area initially and then after you have fine tuned what your doing then scale up appropriately.
I make my living growing on 1/10th of an acre. So I’m very much on the other end of the spectrum!
Thanks for responding Craig.
Covering my soil with a living soil has been my objective, but our normal summer rainfall is less than 10mm per month with temperatures rising above 95’F often, thus seeing that I don’t have the soil biology yet to sustain living plants in these conditions I need plans for the transition.
It’s been some time since my post, since then I have sprayed EM just before planting and used some KNF formulas to spray my 1000 acres of wheat. No fungicides or pesticides used on my wheat this year, and I was still able to get a harvest with a net profit.
I have spoken to the local seed distributing company and we will again next year do some undergrowing some legumes. This years undergrowing was not successful, so we are still in research mode on what to use as undercover crop in wheat.
Next year I will be testing the strips, but doing it practically changing crops on the strips will be difficult on my farm, but we will be trying something next year.
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