We are excited to announce that four brand new Agrico tautliners are on the road. These new additions to our fleet will further enhance our logistical capabilities and ensure that the optimal irrigation solution is making its way to you. Take alook at some photos of these behemoths!
Macadamia-irrigation that makes sense in Empangeni
– Maryna Steyn (ProAgri)
A good farmer does not randomly decide with what he wants to farm and how wants to go about it. No, he investigates the most profitable practice and crop that grows in his area, as well as how much soil and water are needed — that makes sense!
Rob and Keegan Hughes of Thulani Macs feel that way too. This father and son duo farm 20 km outside Empangeni in the Heatonville area. Rob is a property developer and owns a game farm.
In 2019, they decided to take on farming after being inspired by the success of macadamia farmers in the area. They acquired land with a good source of water and then approached Willie Vosloo from Agrico in Empangeni. He helped determine exactly where the irrigation points – and therefore the orchards – should be established. Soil preparation started in the beginning of 2020, and the first tree was planted in 2021.
Today, the 105 hectares of high-density orchards consist of 43 780 trees.
Macadamia groves with micro irrigation that are sensibly laid out
“We approached several macadamia farmers along the coast for information. They were eager to share advice,” Rob recalls. “But before we did anything, we first thought about it and asked: Does it make sense? We approach everything that way.
“We asked Willie to help plan the water supply,” says Rob. Agrico handles the design of the system, from surveying to layout. The farmer can install the system by himself or use contractors, but Agrico remains involved throughout.
For this farm, water is pumped from the Mkuze River and stored in an earth dam. It acts as a buffer dam and helps the silt settle down so cleaner water is pumped through the system. Micro irrigation was set up for various reasons. A microsystem can easily be converted to drip irrigation if there is a water shortage in the future. One can also see when the apertures are blocked, and as a bonus it helps to protect the orchard against wildfires.
There are two 73 kW motors connected to KSB pumps which direct water to the various blocks. The blocks
are divided according to the water requirement of the soil type and the slope on which it stands. Each pump has variable speed drive (VSD) which helps control the pressure at the different slopes and lowers the general electricity costs.
The system is built to apply 3,5 mm of water per day. Cycle lengths vary from three to six days, depending on the soil characteristics and the weather conditions. After the irrigation planning, the land was cleared, and tillage began. Lime and gypsum were worked into the soil under the recommendation of an agronomist who identified the varying soil types. Ridges were made with a plough on which the irrigation pipes were laid and the trees were planted. Each tree can be identified with GPS guidance thanks to a system designed by Keegan.
“We initially measured by hand where each tree should be in a block, but it was difficult to be accurate and time-consuming. This electronic system ensures that each tree stands three meters from its neighbours. It is quicker too,” Keegan explains.
The varieties they plant are A4, 695, 816, 863, 8.4 and N2.
“We alternate two varieties per block, with four rows of one variety and then four of another. Between each row we plant Napier grass which acts as a wind buffer,” he says. “These varieties are planted because the flowering periods overlap and ensure cross-pollination.”
An organic approach to macadamia cultivation
The Hughes follow an organic approach to their farming.
“We avoid chemical pesticides and fertilisers, and we have not yet needed to add any fertilisers. Leaf and sap tests
indicated that our trees are happy,” Keegan says.
Instead, they use cow manure that has broken down into compost to feed the roots naturally. The kraal manure is
supplied to them by a local cattle farmer. When an extra boost is needed in the future, the piggy system – a stainless
steel tank that withstands pressure up to 10 bar – will assist in fertiliser application. It is connected to the water that flows towards the orchard; soluble or liquid fertiliser is poured into the “piggy’s” stomach and then the orchard is fertigated.
There are bees on the farm to help with pollination, a game fence that keeps bush pigs out and they have also erected posts for the forest buzzards that keep rats under control. Furthermore, they use mulching to keep the moisture in the soil, cool the irrigation pipes and create a favourable environment for micro-organisms. It also controls weeds.
We are pleased to announce that Waterfall Irrigation in Robertson will be joining Agrico, with effect 1 November 2023. We intend to add value in Robertson by providing a complete product range, solid technical support and long term corporate stability.
We are thrilled to announce that we have partnered with Nedbank Commercial Banking, to offer you enhanced financing options for your new centre-pivot irrigation systems.
The rich soil of Norsa farm provides the perfect growing spot for pineapple. But with a significant height difference between the water source and crops, designing an efficient irrigation system is not a straightforward task. In 2016, Rhodes food group entrusted the irrigation giant Agrico to design an irrigation system for the cultivation of pineapples here.
The need to improve load capacity and mitigate energy costs was the primary catalyst behind the recent installation of a solar energy system near Ohrigstad. Agrico Tzaneen wanted to ensure their client Cor Cross enjoyed uninterrupted irrigation and minimal crop and yield losses. With some help, they pulled off a solar system which achieves exactly this.
Agrico lewer ’n verskeidenheid produkte, maar in ons hart is besproeiing die fokus. Dit is ook wat ons hierdie jaar gaan demonstreer by NAMPO Kaap, wat plaasvind 13 – 16 September 2023 in Bredasdorp. Kom maak ‘n draai en vra jou vrae. Ons sien uit om jou te help om jou optimale en mees doeltreffende besproeiingsoplossing te ontdek!