Diversifying key to being a master farmer

Georg Sievers of Farm Ilmenau near Grootfontein was recently awarded this year’s title of Master Agronomist for crops produced under dry land conditions by the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB).
The NAB said that, Sievers during a challenging time, with no guarantees of good rains, planted 200 hectares of white maize of which 65 hectares are cultivated under irrigation alongside a selection of beans, black carrots and sorghum.
“This approach of diversifying produce, especially during the current drought, contributed towards the financial health of Ilmenau as a business concern,” NAB said.
The recipient of the award, Sievers, is a third generation producer at Farm Ilmenau. After completing his studies in agriculture, he returned to Ilmenau to work alongside his father and start his agronomic production career on the farm.
When his father focussed his efforts on livestock production on another farm, Sievers took over Ilmenau and has since made the production of white maize and other crops the focal point for farm Ilmenau. In terms of managing the various aspects of his farming practice under current difficult production conditions, Sievers made choices that may not have been the standard response in the face of a pending drought.
The Board said, he juggled variables such as late planting due to delayed rains, choosing to plant a resilient cultivar that is drought tolerant and disease resistant and planting at intervals that produce a plant population that is less dense than normal.
“On a particular section of his fields for instance, Sievers planted beans under dry land conditions on an area that he had not treated with fertiliser. Fertilising productive soil annually is critical to the success of any crop but is an input cost that needs to be managed,” NAB added.
Meanwhile, the NAB initiated the Master Agronomist Award and has been rewarding commercial grain producers who have implemented farming practices that maximise their yield of white maize under both irrigation and dry land conditions for the past 16 years.

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