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Technology, Soil Health and Advisors

  • 19 May 2017
  • 1801
  •  Nation in Conversation
  •  press-release

The session was hosted by agri-industry fundi and Landbou Weekblad editor Chris Burgess, who engaged with a panel consisting of:  John Deere’s Jaco Beyers, Senwes’ Martin van Zyl, Pieter Smit of Monsanto, Etienne Schoeman – Grasland MD and Dirk Strydom of GrainSA.
Pieter set the scene saying that the “margin for mistakes are smaller and smaller, if you are passionate about sustainability then you have to keep the farmer on the land… which is why you have to give the best advice … it’s about relationships…you don’t want to sour relationships… give advice to ensure long term advice…” Pieter was commenting in reference to his company’s advice to farmers with regards to seed and cultivar choices.
Jaco mentioned that John Deere has spent about $1.2bn on research since 2016. “We want to make sure we have the latest technology in our machines to give the producer the best advantage. An example of that is the use of sensors…a few years ago sensors were used as warning devices, now they are used to detect, advise and even repair technical issues on our machines.”
Martin added that Senwes made a strategic decision to sell a “full solution to the client, not just products. We have a 24hr helpdesk to assist with technical issues relating to machinery.”
The discussion became very technical when Etienne talked about the importance of microbes and soil ecosystems. “We’re an agricultural lime producing company and the short answer is we don’t use lime enough. Maintaining the PH balance in your soil has a definite impact on the quality of your yields.”
Dirk added that GrainSA had appointed a research coordinator. “We try to gather research and funding for research from all over the world to stay ahead of the game in terms of all aspects of farming including soil health and climate change.”
The series celebrates its fourth year being broadcast from Nampo and has seen the conversation on the importance of agriculture being widely spread via various mainstream media outlets such as KykNet, 702/Cape Talk, Soweto TV, Business Day TV and many others. The series is also available via YouTube. Download the Nation in Conversation App at to join the conversation and to access the full broadcast channel where you can watch this entire episode.
Issued by:
Marlon Abrahams
Communications Manager
Tel: 018 464 7349
Cell: 076 412 9717

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