Crop Rotation In Zululand.

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Crop Rotation In Zululand.
Reproduced by Sabinet Gateway under licence granted by the Publisher (dated 2013)
FARMING IN
SOUTH
AFRICA.-JUNE,
1927.
•
Crop Rotation In
Zululand.
By E. H. T.
PO\VBLL,
Field Husbandry Officer, Eshowe.
IT is gratifying that in spite of floods,
tilizer may sustain more harm than
droughts, insect pests, and the recent good.
slump in prices, the Natal and ZuluEspecially is this true of tobacco
land cotton growers are not entirely and cotton. Farmers are therefore addiscouraged. On the contrary, they vised not to embark on any expensive
have put down a larger acreage to sch eme of fertilizing before obtaining
cotton than before. The progressive the advice of this Department.
and persevering settler has also been
Diseases, Insects, and Weeds.
trying out a variety of crops besides
An
important result of a proper
cotton.
Tobacco, peanuts, beans,
system
of rota bon is the checking of
maize, and kaffir corn-to mention a
few-are already being grown with a plant diseases, insect pests, and weeds.
good deal of success.' ,"Whilst cotton Crops in rotation .should be so diverse
will, no doubt, keep its place as one of as not to exhaust the soil by dema nding
the chief money crops, it is recognized , similar elements of plant food, nor
that a system of alternative crops, and carry diseases and. insects from one
of crop rotation in pflrticular, is of the nop to another. The eradication of
weeds can also be flttained by this
utmost importance.
143
some parts of Zululand. Sisal hemp
could also be lllar]p, a commercial
success either in Zululand or in other
parts of the Union, hut as a. proposition for the ludividunl settler with
limited cnpital and ground, it is not
recommen ded.
'l'he growing of coffee as a source of
income to the settler is also under consideration. This crop is being tried
out experimentally ill nriolls parts of
the Union.
Despite their efforts, which deserve
greater success, the cotton growers of
Zululand have DOt vet obtained from
their labour and lan'd the results the.v
should have had; with greater attention to cultivation, systematic rotation,
judicious fertilizatlOn, and diversification of crops, better results may, however, be expected.
Alternative Crops.
Some method of systema tic crop
rotation is necessary, but the country
is young in experience and many
difficulties present themselves, such as
the period of years necessary to proye
the value of any. particular system, the
varying prices of' the crops grown,
variable weather conditions, different
diseases and insect pests, etc. So much
depends also on local conditions that
perhaps no two farmers may find the
same rotation system suitable. There
are, however, certain general principles
that may be considered applicable to
all farms. The main thing in the
rotation of crops is to improve the soil
and keep the land in a high state of
fertility.
Intelligent Cultivation.
~fost South African soils lack humus
or organic matter.
The occasional
Cotton Cultivation, Rnstenburg Experiment Station. '
ploughing under of leguminous or
other crops is necessary.
The use
solely of commercial fertilizer if; un- method. Cultivation is naturally of
Official Year Book,
satisfadory, for if it is not supple- first importance, but it is found that
No.8.
mented by humus in some form its the weeds that flourish during the
action is only temporary. It is rather presence of olle crop are greatly THE OFFICIAL YEAR BOOK which has
as a useful aid that chemical manures lessened, if not. in time, completely just been published in English and
should be used in the work of crop got rid of, by a change of crop. Weeds Afrikaans contains a wealth of
production. To ODe who farms with must be kept down, as they rob. the important statistical and descriptive
intelligence, plant.s his crops in !'Ora- soil of the plant food that would da ta concerning the Union and
neighbouring territories, and is theretion, and grows legumes as often as otherwise benefit the crop.
fore an indispensable work of reference
necessary, the use of artifici3l fertilito economists, farmers, statisticians,
zers could be gTeatly lessenen.
Diversil1ed Crops.
parliamentarians, research students,
Before resorting to fertilizers, the
planter should be well acquainted with
Notwithstanding
the
somewhat journalists, and others who arethe nature of his soils, and study the 'varied conditions of Zululand, both as interested in the history and economic
Thb
physical and chemical requirements of regards climate and rainfall, it is development of the ·country.
the crops to be growil. AU plants do possible with such crops as cotton, Government publishes the volume at
not require a particular element in the tobacco, beans, cowpeas, peanuts, a price considerably below the cost of
same proportion, and some soils are maize, and kaffir corn, for each farmer printing it, in order to have intonnarich in one element and deficient in to arrange a rotation to suit himself, tion readily available in convenient
others. Only by making a study of bearing in mind, however, that no ro- compass about all phases of the organiObtain a
the,e conditions is it possible to decide tation can be ideal without the inclu- zation of the community.
\\" hich artificial fertilizers would be sion of some leguminous crop, as it copy from the Government Printer,
most beneficial for certain crops. supplies both nitrogen and humus to Pretoria, or from any bookseller.
Price, 5s.
Only English copies
Applying fertilizers in a haphazard the soil. This is particularly necessary
manner is a waste of time, energy, and in a country subject to such extreme availahle; Afrikaans version has been
money, for the crop receiving the fer- heat and prolonged droughts ' as are soli! out.

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