Update report by Reyneke Smit (Manager: Land & Water Utilisation Division, Firth Group)
It has been a year since we started with the planning and construction of our first pivot-irrigation site at Klipkuil (located on the outskirts of Wolmaransstad, North West Province). The past few months have proved to be somewhat frustrating though, since initially, everything took twice as long to materialise—largely because of the pandemic. This was particularly so with the much-delayed installation of our Eskom-supplied electrical point. There was even a point at which I thought we might well not be in time for planting maize.
Looking back however, everything turned out well. Our first maize crop is now halfway through its growing stage and looking good.
We are not completely out of danger though. We continue to hold our breath, hoping and praying that the first frost of the cold season will only come after the maize has reached physiological maturity. This is anticipated to be at the beginning of May. Hopefully when we harvest by the end of May we would have reached our primary goal: to successfully harvest a maize crop with good yields. Thus far, I do believe that we are well on track.
Even though there were some ups and downs last year, under the unusual circumstances, I think we can say that we did well—especially if one considers that this has been an entirely new and exciting project for the farm.
Truth be told: When it comes to farming, there’s always the “trial and error” factor when you take on a new farming project. I have learned a lot though—especially on the planting and the irrigation side of things.
The entire team at the farm—myself included—remain excited and enthusiastic about taking the Land and Water Utilisation department to the next level in the not too distant future.
Ed. Watch this space for more news about the progress of this inaugural maize crop.