EC SKZN Annual Progress Report 2016

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APPENDIX 3: MATATIELE ANNUALREPORT
ConservationAgriculture Farmer Innovation
Programme (CA FIP) for smallholders, Grain SA
July 2015to September 2016
Farmer Centred Innovation in Conservation Agriculture in upper
catchment areas of the Drakensberg, Eastern Cape
Compiled by:
Erna Kruger
2
September 2016
Project implemented by:
Mahlathini Development Foundation
Promoting collaborative, pro-poor agricultural innovation.
Contact:Erna Kruger (Founder and Coordinator)
Address: 72 Tatham Road, Prestbury, Pietermaritzburg, 3201, KZN
Email:erna@mahlathiniorganics.co.za, info@mahlathini.org
Cell: 0828732289
Time of operation: 2003-2016
Legal status: NPC
BEE status: 4. Certificate available.
In collaboration with:
Funded by:
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Table of Contents
SUMMARY ............................................................................................................................................................................................................4
KEY ACTIVITIES ................................................................................................................................................................................................6
Progress ...........................................................................................................................................................................................................6
RESULTS ACHIEVED .......................................................................................................................................................................................7
Results for the 2015-2016 season........................................................................................................................................................9
Yields ............................................................................................................................................................................................................9
Cover Crops ............................................................................................................................................................................................11
Soil fertility results: fertilizer recommendations........................................................................................................................12
Soil health tests .........................................................................................................................................................................................16
PROGRESS PER AREA OF IMPLEMENTATION ..................................................................................................................................20
Mt Frere; .......................................................................................................................................................................................................20
Lutateni ....................................................................................................................................................................................................20
Mt Ayliff ........................................................................................................................................................................................................20
Saphukanduku ......................................................................................................................................................................................20
Swartberg, Mzongwana .........................................................................................................................................................................21
Matatiele; Nkau progress ......................................................................................................................................................................23
Khutsong ................................................................................................................................................................................................. 25
Sehutlong ................................................................................................................................................................................................26
Learning Group observations for specific areas...............................................................................................................................29
Mzongwana ................................................................................................................................................................................................. 29
Summary of learning points for the CA participants .................................................................................................................32
INNOVATION PLATFORMS .......................................................................................................................................................................33
Sehutlong/Nkau farmers’ day .............................................................................................................................................................34
MONITORING ..................................................................................................................................................................................................35
Considerations for future cycles .............................................................................................................................................................39
Appendix 1: Table. Key activities, outputs and deliverables July 2015- September 2016; planned and actual.
Appendix 2: Soil health test results for Matatiele; 2015. .........................................................................................................41
Appendix 3.1: Focus group discussion outline ........................................................................................................................42
Appendix 3.2: GrainSA Conservation Agriculture impact assessment questionnaire; July 2016......................44
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SUMMARY
Work in the Matatiele (EC) site continued with a scaling out (horizontal expansion) process put in place, to
include selected villages and also expanded into other areas including Swartberg/Mzongwana, Mt Ailiff and Mt
Frere. The farmer centred innovation systems research process underpinning the programme, which is based
on working intensively with farmer learning groups and local facilitators in each of the villages has been
continued and strengthened
Again, as in previous years in the Eastern Cape, the collaboration processes initiated with NGOs- Lima RDF and
those with the Eastern Cape Department of Agriculture were disappointing in the implementation phase with
little to none of the promised implementation and support. In addition, the extremely harsh climatic conditions
prevailed - drought followed by severe storms and hail, which provided for a further dampening effect.
Experimentation continued with a number of new elements: mulching trials to improve the groundcover,
planting of drought tolerant summer cover crops, crop rotation compared to the intercropping and single block
plantings of winter cover crops as well as continued support for the local maize milling operation for maize
meal and cattle feed in Khutsong.
Of the 43 participant farmers who volunteered to conduct trials this year, 29 (67% of participants) followed
through to initiate their trials; 23 of these farmers actually planted and continued with their trials, 20 farmers
achieved germination of crops (70% of those who planted); and only 9 farmers realised yields (39% of those
who planted). The season was extremely challenging with early season drought and extreme hail storms later
in the season. Even the drought tolerant cover crop mixes (summer and winter) that were planted to
accommodate for low crop germination and ground cover, did not grow very well.
Mulching trials were conducted for 4 participants in Nkau and Sehutlong. Yields on the mulched plots for both
beans (1,54t/ha) and maize (4,38t/ha) were higher than un-mulched plots of beans (0,8t/ha) and maize
(3,5t/ha). Average maize yields this season were low at 1,37t/ha. Average bean yields were 0,69t/ha. These
yields however have shown a steady increase for those participants who have practiced CA for more than one
season. And yields this season were higher in the trial plots than previous seasons, despite the drought.
Soil samples have been taken for 63 participants from 11 villages over the last three seasons. An average or
generic fertilizer recommendation has been used based on these results: 250kg/ha MAP (equivalent to
40kg/ha P), 150kg/ha LAN (equivalent to 60kg/ha N) and 1t/ha of lime. K was not included in the generic
recommendation. A more detailed statistical analysis of these results showed the validity of the generic
recommendation. Interestingly the variation between samples taken in the same villages across years was
higher than the variation in samples taken across villages. Thus there is little spatial difference in soil sample
results and the difference depends more on the history of the particular land use. Overall it would still be
possible to use the generic recommendations set for the area, although it may make more sense to set the
recommendations on a village level and to benchmark these recommendations on a yearly basis.
Soil health tests (Haney tests) were conducted for six participants in the Matatiele area towards the end of
2015. The SOLVITA tests (CO2 respiration indicating microbial activity) indicate that the biological or
organically-bonded soil fertility is the lowest in the control plots of the participants (those plots under
conventional tillage and planting practices) and that the CA intercropped plots provide for microbial activity
and biological soil fertility that is higher than the veld baseline samples. This is a clear indication that this
practice fast-tracks increases in soil health and soil fertility. This result is borne out as well in the total organic
C and N fractions as well as the soil health score, which is the highest for the CA intercrop plots.
An analysis of the total N and the available organic and inorganic N fractions give an indication of build-up of
soil organic matter in the soil. The participant sample analyses indicate that there aren’t presently any local
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cropping/pasture systems (including the veld baseline) that builds up the nitrogen reserve in this soil and
under these environmental conditions. It can be seen that the intercropping starts to build the reserve while
also increasing N release. This indicates that legumes need to be favoured strongly in crop rotation and cover
crop mixes and that the build-up of the soil health here would take a number years.
Participant smallholders in the Eastern Cape are mostly women (70%), around 54 years old on average and
with a household income of around R1 820 /month for a household size of around 6 members. They rely
heavily on government grants for their survival and none of the participants have household members that are
employed. Participants belong to local savings and credit groups and save around R300 per cropping cycle for
their production inputs. Cropping areas are consequently also quite small and crops are produced almost
entirely for household consumption only.
The building of innovation platforms has again included the hosting of local farmers’ days where CA
participants showcase their trials and crops for their broader communities and participants form stakeholder
groupings in the area also attended. This year a few farmers and facilitators from Lima RDF attended as did the
extension staff from the ECDAE. Partnerships have been initiated with KwaNalu, DRDLR (Dept of Rural
Development and Land Reform) as well as specific municipalities in southern KZN to embed the CA SFI
programme within these structures in the coming season.
The use of the two monitoring frameworks for the CA scores and the VSA- Visual Soil Assessment scores were
continued into the third season. Similar to the situation in the Bergville area, but even more pronounced is the
weather dependence of the CA scoring system. As a number of participants had complete crop failure their
scores have been a lot lower than in previous seasons. When comparing the ground cover and canopy cover
with overall growth for example, there is an expectation of finding similar trends, where good ground and
canopy cover is reflected in good growth of the crops. This year, due to the extreme weather conditions
however, these trends have been largely obscured. It is becoming apparent that using these scores to base
incentives on- or as the basis of a PES (Payment for Ecosystems Services) model, is going to be difficult given
the variances in weather across the years. It is considered that a simpler process for the incentives and subsidy
related criteria needs to be designed. This process will also need to include the social and organisational
criteria, such as group work and savings as well as the three overarching CA principles.
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KEY ACTIVITIES
Implementation has continued in four areas (Mt Ayliff, Mt Frere, Swartberg/Mzonganwa and Matatiele) in 8
villages using the model of working more intensively with fewer farmers initially and also of using adaptive
researcher-managed trials alongside the farmer trials to ensure adoption of best practices in the CA planting
methods and processes used.
The table in Appendix 1 outlines the key activities and deliverables planned and implemented for the period.
The last column summarises actual expenses.
Progress
Drought and severe weather conditions have seriously hampered implementation as have strikes and unrest
related to the then upcoming local elections. This meant that only 65% of the participants for whom inputs
were bought actually planted their trials. The adaptation trials however fared reasonably well and very
interesting results were obtained using the summer and winter cover crop mixes. A few farmers had
reasonable maize yields, but only around 39% of those who planted managed to obtain some yields.
The table below outlines activities related to objectives and key indicators for the period of July 2015 -
September 2016)
TABLE 1:SUMMARYOFPROGRESS (JULY2015-SEPTEBMER2016) RELATEDTO OBJECTIVES AND KEY ACTIVITIES
Objectives
Key activities
Summary of
progress
% completion and comment
1. Document
lessons learned
Documentation for
learning and awareness
raising
- Finalisation of CA manual
English version
- Translation of all
chapters into isiZulu
- Soil Symposium
presentation in
Stellenbosch
- CA chapter in CABI book
-100%. Two small print runs (100
copies)
-90%. Finalise translation of last
chapter. Print run of 150 copies
-100%. Further information sharing
options through collaboration with
PID process (Kit- Netherlands), Lima
RDF- CA demonstrations at farmers’
days, articles and conferences
Exploration of PES model
- PES chapter for CA
manual draft1
- Exploration of funding
options
- Farmer level monitoring
forms produced,
translated and facilitated
at farmer level
-95%. Continuation of framework
design
-100%. Ongoing- proposals to USAID
and WRC
-50%. Ongoing- still needs more fine
tuning
Final report
-At end of project
100% (August 2016)
2. Increase the
sustainability
and efficiency of
CA systems
Set up jointly managed
adaptation trials ( x9)
- 6 trials set up in
Saphukanduku,
Mzongwana, Nkau,
Khutsong, Ntenentyana
and Lutateni
-100%. Completion of trials to be
done with harvesting and
monitoring.
- response in Mt Ayliff communities
was limited due to drought and lack
of response from DoA
1st level experimentation
; basic CA system (15
villages x 5 farmers)
-8 villages , 22 farmers
100%. Basic CA design-
intercropping with maize beans and
cowpeas on a 100m2 plot, with a
control plot manage entirely by the
participant.
Adaptation trials included using
mulch for ground cover, and
introducing crop rotation that
7
includes winter and summer cover
crops.
2nd level
experimentation; incl
cover crops, rotations,
organic options and
livestock integration, own
contribution (15 x5)
- 3 villages, 5 farmers
100%. Adaptation trials included
using mulch for ground cover, and
introducing crop rotation that
includes winter and summer cover
crops.
Participants opted to continue with
intercropping practice from their 1st
year.
3rd level experimentation;
own contribution, larger
plots, own ideas (2
villages, 7 farmers in
total)
- 2 villages, 2 farmers
100%. Larger level plantings using
oxen drawn planters and including
cover crops of own choice such as
Lucerne. Intercropping still
practised. As well as crop rotation
and summer and winter cover crops.
Further development of
M&E system
- VSA used actively for all
farmers
- M&E forms redesigned
and used
100%. Planting and growth
monitoring completed, including
cover crops and adaptive trials.
Yields measured where possible
Facilitation of innovation
platforms
- Learning group meeting
and training workshops
- Attendance of No till
conference with farmers
and staff
- Attendance of
sustainable soil
symposium
- Linked with Eastern cape
Dep’t of Agriculture and
with a Grain SA study
group in Matatiele
-100%. 1 local farmers day at
Sehutlong. Inters group meetings for
setting up cooperatives, savings
groups and enterprise development
at community level in Mzongwana
Liaison with study group in Matatiele
to provide support to their fledgling
company GrainCo.
CA working group, and
reference group
-Attended and presented
in Feb and Sept 2016
100%
RESULTS ACHIEVED
The performance dashboard for this season is indicated below. This provides a snapshot of performance
according to suggested numbers and outputs in the proposal.
TABLE 2:PERFORMANCEDASHBOARD;SEPTEMBER2016
Outputs
Actual
(September
2016)
Percentage of group
Number of areas of operation
4
80%
Number of villages active
8
89%
No of 1st level farmer experiments
22
52%
No of 2nd level farmer experiments
5
16%
No of 3rd level experiments
1
100%
No of local facilitators
1
No of direct beneficiaries
29
67%
No of farmers who actually planted
23
79% (of those who started)
No of farmers whose crops germinated
20
70% (of those who planted)
No of farmers who realised any crop
yields
9
39% (of those who planted)
8
Participatory monitoring and
evaluation process (farmer level)
Yes
CA manual (English and Zulu)
CA manual
English yes
CA manual
Zulu-yes
The table below summarises the planned and actual farmer trial implementation for the 2015-2016 planting
season. A total of 43 trial participants volunteered through the planning processes across 8 villages in three
areas. 29 of these farmers planted trials. The implementation has been disappointing due to the severe drought
conditions and many participants opted not to plant in these conditions despite our urging. For those that
planted quite a number had 0% germination. Generally germination was extremely poor and crops have been
further devastated by subsequent severe storms.
TABLE 3:SUMMARYOFFARMERINNOVATION NUMBER AND AREAS PLANTEDPER VILLAGE INTHIS CA PROCESS;
EASTERNCAPE,2015-2016
Area
Village
Farmers
selected
Farmers
planted
(1st
level)
Farmers
planted
(2nd
level)
Farmers
planted
(3rd
level)
Experimentation
Comments;
incl planters
used.
Matatiele
Khauoe, Pontsheng,
Lubisini, Mapeng,
Moeaneng and Ghobo
Discontinued due to low levels of
participation
Sehutlong
4
1
3
Summer cover
crops, crop
rotation, OPVs,
winter cover crops,
intercropping
Nkau
8
6
1
Summer cover
crops, crop
rotation, OPVs,
winter cover crops,
intercropping
Bulelwa
Dzingwa local
facilitator for
Nkau and
Sehutlong
PID process
Jabulani
1
1
Intercropping and
summer cover
crops
Used hand
weeder and
MBLI. Crops
eaten by
livestock
Khutsong
5
1
1
Summer cover
crops, crop
rotation, OPVs,
winter cover crops,
intercropping
Mapheele also
experimenting
with Lucerne
Animal drawn
planters used
here in larger
areas
Mr Frere
Ntenentyane
4
1
Mulching,
intercropping,
cover crops
Partnership
with Lima RDF-
and PID process.
Lutateni
5
3
Intercropping with
OPVs, MBLI
planters,
Partnership
with Lima RDF
and PID process
Swartberg
Mzongwana
6
6
1
Intercropping,
summer and winter
cover crops,
9
Mt Ayliff
Saphukanduku
10
4
Intercropping,
winter cover crops
TOTAL
8
43
22
5
2
Total area
planted~
0.37ha
Results for the 2015-2016
season
Of the 29 participants who planted
trials, only 9 participants (31%)
managed to harvest their crops and
have their yields recorded. Some
others, such as Matshepo Futhu in
Sehutlong (photo onthe right) for
example realised such low yields that
maize was eaten ‘green’ and not
recorded as a yield, or livestock were
allowed to eat the maize plants from
the field (e.g. Thabiso Diholo from
Jabulani). 13 Participants realised no yields at all.
Severe hailstorms around February and March decimated some of the crops that had survived the early season
drought.
Right: Mr Moshoeshoe from Saphukanduku’s field in
April 2016, with some recovery post a large
hailstorm. No maize could be harvested from this
plot and cattle were allowed to graze there. His roof
is also being re-tiled as a consequence of the storm
Far right: A view of the same plot in February 2016
before the storm. The crops were growing very well.
Yields
Crop yields varied considerably for the 9 participants for whom yields could be measured. The yields were
generally higher and more consistent for the mulched plots, both for the maize and beans. This indicates the
positive effect on growth and production in the mulched plots. Germination of crops was not better in the
mulched plots as compared with un mulched plots. See the figure below.
10
Figure 1: Trial plot yields for 9 participants who harvested in the eastern Cape for the 2015-2106 planting season.
An observation for this season that was different to the previous seasons is that in some cases the control plot
maize grew and yielded better than the trial plot maize. In this instance with the small amounts of moisture
available in the soil tilling increased the likelihood of germination of the seed and subsequent growth, given the
general lack of soil cover and soil organic matter.
Figure 2: A comparison of maize yields for trial and control plots in the Eastern Cape for the 2015-2016 growing
season.
BulelwaMatsepo Malunge
lo
Mamolel
ekeng ThembaGcina Maponts
ho Zanzima Matshezi
DzingwaFutuHadebeLebouea Mncwab
e
Mzikayif
ani
Ranqaba
ng
Sturuma
nMonkie
Average of Beans mulched2,15 1,23 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 1,23 0,00 0,00
Average of Beans unmulched1,54 0,30 0,46 1,55 0,51 0,00 0,00 0,46 0,00
Average of Maize mulched4,60 0,00 0,00 4,15 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00
Average of Maize unmulched1,80 0,00 1,49 5,90 2,94 4,15 4,150,00 4,15
0,00
1,00
2,00
3,00
4,00
5,00
6,00
7,00
t/ha
Trial yields Eastern Cape:2015-2016
(blank) (blank) (blank)8,13,610 3,451,56 (blank)
Bulelwa Matsep
o
Malung
elo
Mamole
lekeng Themba Matshez
iGcina Mapont
sho
Zanzim
a
Dzingw
aFutuHadebe Leboue
a
Mncwa
be Monkie Mzikayi
fani
Ranqab
ang
Sturum
an
Average of Maize mulched4,60 0,00 0,00 4,15 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00
Average of Maize unmulched1,80 0,00 1,49 5,90 2,94 4,15 4,15 4,15 0,00
Average of control8,103,60 10,00 3,451,56
0,00
2,00
4,00
6,00
8,00
10,00
12,00
t/ha
Trial and control plot maize yields Eastern Cape:2015-2016
11
What can be seen in the small summary table below is
that the maize and bean yields were higher in the
mulched plots than the un-mulched plots and that the
control plot maize yields (under conventional tillage)
were higher than the CA trial plots.
Right: Bulelwa Dzingwa (left), the local facilitator with
Mrs Ranqabang in Nkau to weigh and record her crop
yields.
TABLE 4:YIELDCOMPARISONS FORTHE MULCHED AND UNMULCHEDTRIAL PLOTS FOR2015
Yields (t/ha
Mulched
Un mulched
Control
Beans
1,54
0,80
Maize
4,38
3,5
5,3
Some of the participants have been part of the CA process for 2 to 3 seasons. A comparison of the yields from
their trials shows a year on year increase in their yields for both beans and maize. It is interesting to note that
yields this season, despite the drought, have mostly been higher than in previous years. This is a good
indication that the continuation of CA over a number of season has provided the participants with positive spin
offs in terms of soil structure, fertility, soil health and water holding capacity in their soils.
TABLE5:YIELDCOMPARISONS FORTHECA TRIALS FOR 2013-2015INTHEEASTERN CAPE
MATATIELE: 2013-2015
Bean Yields (ton/ha)
Maize Yields (ton/ha)
Farmer Participants
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Ave
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Ave
Lelatso Thuso
0,12
0
0,12
0
0
0
Bulelwa Dzingwa
1,6
1,8
1,7
1,01
3,2
2,1
Mamolelekeng Lebuoea
0,35
1,55
0,95
1,2
5
3,1
Manyalleng Sikhosana
0,16
0,16
0,73
0,73
Matshepo Futhu
0,21
0,76
0,49
0,53
0
0,53
Thabiso Dihollo
0,67
0,83
0
0,75
0,66
1,84
0
1,25
Tsoloane Mapheele
0,16
0
0
0,08
0,78
0
0,78
Grand Total
0,42
0,47
0,69
0,61
0,66
0,87
1,37
1,21
Notes: Mrs Sikhosana from Sehutlong died tragically before she could harvest her trials this year.
Mr Mapheele from Khutsong has once again not realised a harvest. He has persistent fertility issues in
his fields, despite his enthusiastic implementation and repeated plantings.
Cover Crops
A number of participants planted cover crop mixes into their fields in late February. The cover crops grew
reasonably well in most cases. The mix used included 5 species (a winter and summer mix); sunhemp, millet,
fodder rye, saia (black) oats and fodder radish. Participants did not harvest or keep seed of the cover crops, as
was the case last season, but have allowed their livestock direct access to what was available.
12
Of the mixture, millet, fodder rye and saia oats were the most consistent in terms of germination and growth.
Sunhemp growth was very patchy as was the fodder radish. It appears that in a number of cases the radish was
either washed out of the ground during rainfall events or eaten by birds or other small wildlife in the fields.
Above left: The cc mix growing in Mr Moshoeshoe’s field (Saphukanduku).Oats, rye and sun hemp are visible.
Above middle: Mr Mncwabe’s (Mzongwana) cc’s. Here the oats, millet and rye grew best. The radish was washed
out of the planting lines into a patch at the bottom of the field and Above right: Sun hemp, and oats seeding in Mrs
Mtshepo Futu’s (Sehutlong) cover crop mix, with radish also visible.
Mrs Malelekeng Lebouea from Sehutlong tried a number of different variations of the cover crops. Similar to last
year, she also bought some of her own cc seed and planted that. Above left: Mrs Lebouea’s maize and cc relay
cropping plot worked very well. And Above right: A plot of the winter cc mix is shown. Again as in other places in
Matatiele the fodder radish seed washed out of the ground and congregated in a clump towards the bottom of the
plot.
Soil fertility results: fertilizer recommendations
Fertilizers are expensive and difficult to access for most smallholder farmers. Knowledge about different types
of fertilizers and even the standard nutrients provided through fertilization (N, P, K) is limited. As a
13
consequence, smallholders tend to use fertilizers that they have seen others use or what is recommended in the
shop, rather than what is required on their fields. In addition, they buy what they feel they can afford in terms
of quantity, rather than what may be required. This has meant that fertilizer application, has often not been as
effective as desired and potentially very inefficient.
In an attempt to deal with this the practice of micro-dosing of fertilizer has been introduced- so placement of
small quantities of fertilizer close to the seed, rather than spreading or banding. This reduces the overall
amount of fertilizer required.
In addition, a yearly generic recommendation has been put together for each area (e.g Matatiele), meaning that
participants all use the same recommendation and fertilizers. This has helped farmers to be able to remember
which fertilizers they are using, which quantities are required and what the specific fertilizers are for.
In the Matatiele area 63 samples have been taken across 11 villages over the last three years. See the summary
of samples in the table below.
TABLE 6:SUMMARY OF SOIL SAMPLES TAKEN INMATATIELE 2013-2015.
Area
Village
Year
Total no. of
samples
No. of samples which required
P(t/ha)
K
(kg/ha)
Lime(t/ha)
Nkau
2015
7
7
-
3
Jabulani
2015
4
4
-
-
Matatiele
Khutsong
2014
4
4
-
1
Phontseng
Khauoe
Lubisini
Lutateni
Mapeng
Moyaneng
Mzongwaneng
Sekhutlong
2014
2013
2014
2013
2014
2015
2015
2015
2015
2015
9
5
2
5
5
7
1
5
6
3
9
5
2
5
5
7
1
5
5
3
1
3
-
-
3
-
-
-
-
-
2
3
-
-
3
1
-
-
-
1
Total
63
62
7
14
On the strength of a general analysis of average requirements form the samples the following generic fertilizer
recommendation has been used:
250kg/ha MAP (equivalent to 40kg/ha P), 150kg/ha LAN (equivalent to 60kg/ha N) and 1t/ha of lime. K was
not included in the generic recommendation.
A more detailed statistical analysis was done to see if these generic recommendations hold true. A category was
also developed for outliers- samples that fall far below or above the generic recommendation and where
fertilizer applications based on actual soil samples would be required.
From this analysis the following points can be made:
14
For Phosphorous (P): The generic recommendation of 40kg/ha would mean that 87% of the samples
would receive the correct amount of P or an amount of P that could guarantee 80% of the potential
harvest for maize and dry bean production. The outlier samples have also been identified to ensure
individual recommendations for these participants.
Figure 3: Derivation of Generic fertilizer recommendation for P application for dry beans and maize in the
Matatiele area.
For Potassium (K); 88% of the samples had a 0kg/ha requirement of K while the remaining 12% of the
samples have a K requirement which lies between 5kg/ha and 100kg/ha. According to the
recommendation report from the Soil laboratories at Cedara, not applying K while P and lime
recommendations are followed, could potentially reduce the relative yield by up to 6%. This means that
following a recommendation of 0kg/ha even for the samples with a K requirement which lies between
10kg/ha to 100kg/ha, a relative yield of 94% would be obtained.
Figure 4: Derivation of Generic fertilizer recommendation for K application for dry beans and maize in the
Matatiele area.
For lime: In the Matatiela area, 75% of the samples have a lime requirement of 0t/ha, while 25% of the
samples have a lime requirement which lies between 1 t/ha and 6.5 t/ha. According to the soil sample
recommendation report from Cedara, not applying lime when P and K recommendations are followed
15
does not significantly affect the relative yield for soils with a pH above 4.5. the generic recommendation
is thus 0t/ha and attention is to be given to those participants whose soils have a pH lower than 4.5
Figure 5: Derivation of Generic fertilizer recommendation for lime application for dry beans and maize in the
Matatiele area.
We then considered the question of whether there was variability in this generic recommendation across
villages in the same area. It is possible that soils vary between villages and that the general practices for soil
fertility enhancement also vary.
The table below shows the results of the generic fertilizer recommendation analysis for P across the 11 villages
in Matatiele.
TABLE7:GENERIC P REQUIREMENTSFOR DIFFERENT VILLAGESINMATATIELE
In Matatiele, it was foundthat 45%, 37% and 18% of the sampleshave a genericrecommendation of 20kg/ha,
40kg/ha and 60 kg/ha, respectively. Variation in P requirement from the villages does not seem to be associated
with spatial arrangements or setting of the villages but is related more tothe history of the land use within
individual villages or households.
What this shows is that there is some variability across the villages, although the overall generic
recommendation of course is still 40kg/ha.
16
A similar situation can be seen with the lime recommendations across villages in the Matatiele area. See the
table below.
TABLE8:DERIVATIONOFLIME GENERICRECOMMENDATIONFORMATATIELEVILLAGES
Area
Name of
village
% of
samples
with
lime of
0t/ha
Lime
min
(t/ha)
Lime
mean
(t/ha)
Lime
max
(t/ha)
% of
samples
with
lime
between
min and
mean
% of
samples
in the
outlier
zone
GR
(t/ha)
Excluding samples with
lime requirement of
0t/ha
Jabulani
100
-
-
-
0
0
0
Khauoe
79
1
1
1
10
11
0
Khutsong
90
1
1
1
5
5
0
Matatiele
Lubisini
82
1
1
1
9
9
0
Lutateni
86
1
1
1
7
7
0
Moyaneng
100
-
-
-
0
0
0
Mzongwana
100
-
-
-
0
0
0
Nkau
45
1
2
5
35
20
2
Potseng
75
1
3
7
15
10
0
Sekhutlong
50
1
3
5
17
33
3
It can be seen that although the generic recommendation remains 0t/ha lime for most of the villages, there are
2 villages where lime requirements are 2and 3t/ha respectively.
We also considered the question of whether the same generic recommendation can be applied from year to
year. This was to check whether the samples of new participants starting in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively
could all fall within the same generic recommendation. This was checked as it is becoming evident more
generally that soil fertility analysis is sensitive to the time of year samples are taken and the environmental
conditions at that time. It means that a samples taken from the same field under the same cropping conditions
in different years could have different results.
Again there was some variability across years, specifically for the P and lime recommendations.
Overall it would still be possible to use the generic recommendations set for the area, although it may make
more sense to set the recommendations on a village level and to benchmark these recommendations on a
yearly basis.
Soil health tests
New laboratory based tools are available for exploring soil health. This is a test derived in the USA called the
Haney test and has now been taken on by a few laboratories in South Africa. The soil health tool is an integrated
approach to soil testing using chemical and biological soil test data, designed to mimic nature’s approach to soil
nutrient availability in the laboratory.
The soil analysis is performed using a soil microbial activity indicator (the Solvita Test), a soil water extract (for
the Organic C: Organic N ratio), and H3A extract. This provides information on the inorganic and organic
fractions of nutrients available in the soil and their ratios and balances.
The Solvita test is presented in ppm and is the amount of CO2-C released in 24 hr from soil microbes after the
soil sample has been dried and rewetted (as occurs naturally in the field). This is a measure of the microbial
17
activity in the soil and is highly related to soil fertility. In most cases, the higher the number, the more fertile the
soil.
Since soil microbes are highly adaptive (different for each soil type and environment) and acquire C, N, and P in
a ratio of 100: 10: 1 (C: N: P), it is safe to assume that soil microbes are a dependable indicator of soil health.
This consistent need sets the stage for a standardized, universal measurement of soil microbial activity. Since
soil microbes take in oxygen and release CO2, we can couple this mechanism to their activity.
WEOC: Water extractable organic carbon is the amount of C in ppm in the water extract and reflects the organic
C fuelling the microbes. % SOM -Soil organic matter provides an indication of the overall amount of organic
carbon in the soil. Together with the WEON water extractable organic nitrogen, also used in the microbial
nutrient cycle these two fractions can provide the organic C: organic N ratio.
PMN is the potentially mineralizable N- fraction of the total N in the sample, which includes inorganic N.
A soil C: N ratio above 20:1 generally indicates that no net N and P mineralization will occur, meaning the N and
P are “tied up” within the microbial cell until the ratio drops below 20:1. As the ratio decreases the more N and
P are released to the soil solution which can be taken up by growing plants. A good organic C:N ratio is between
8:1 and 15:1. This C: N ratio is also used in calculating the soil health score.
The soil health score is calculated as 1-day CO2-C divided by the organic C: N ratio plus WEOC/100 +
WEON/10 to include a weighted contribution of water extractable organic C and organic N. It represents the
overall health of your soil system. It combines 5 independent measurements of the soil’s biological properties.
The calculation looks at the balance of soil C and N and their relationship to microbial activity. This soil health
calculation number can vary from 0 to more than 50. This number should increase over time. It indicates the
current soil health and what it needs to reach its highest sustainable state. Keeping track of this soil health
score will allow one to gauge the effects of management practices over the years.
Samples were taken from 6 participants in the Matatiele CA trials in July 2015. Veld samples provide a baseline
for comparison of natural activity and nutrient availability in the area. The table in Appendix 2 indicates the
Soil health / Haney test results
Figure 6: Results for the soil health tests for 6 CA participants in Matatiele; 2015.
From the summary of the soil health tests and the soil health scores provided above the following observations
can be made:
CO2-C
(ppmC)
Organic C:N
ratio
Total Org C
(ppm) Org N ppm Soil Health
Score
1st year control69,610,6 140,7 13,29,4
1st year intercrop trial155,69,2213,0 23,221,4
1st year intercrop trial with cover
crop 107,29,7124,3 12,713,1
Veld baseline samples141,8 13,221716,4 14,55
0,0
50,0
100,0
150,0
200,0
250,0
Haney Test: EC (Matatiele) N=6
18
1.SOLVITA: The ranges of values for this test are as follows:
a.>100: High N - sufficient for crops. Biomass 2500ppm.Well supplied with organic matter
b.61-100: Mod-high N - limited N required. Adequate organic matter
c.31-60: Mod. Supplement with N. Requires application of stable organic matter
d.6-30: Low-Mod. Apply N. Biomass<500ppm. Supply organic matter
e.0-5: Significant fertilization needed. Very inactive soil. Biomass<100ppm
The SOLVITA tests here indicate that the natural soil fertility is the lowest in the control plots of the
participants (Those plots under conventional tillage and planting practices) and that the CA intercropped plots
provide for microbial activity and natural soil fertility that is higher than the veld baseline samples. This is a
clear indication that this practice fast tracks increases in soil health and soil fertility. This result is borne out as
well in the total organic C and N fractions as well as the soil health score, which is the highest for the CA
intercrop plots.
2.The low Organic C:N ratio means that the nutrients are mineralize, thus available for use in the cropping
period. Adding cover crops to the intercropped CA trial plots reduces the CO2 respiration as well as
available organic C:N, which indicates that in this 1st year of CA the cover corps use nutrients made
available through microbial activity promoted by the intercropping system.
3. Both CA plots (intercrop and intercrop with cover crops) provide for greater soil health than the
conventional cropping system.
4.In the medium term more organic matter will need to be incorporated into the soil to be able to reap
the full benefits of planting cover crops for soil health and fertility.
An analysis of the total N and the available organic and inorganic N fractions give an indication of build-up of
humus in the soil. The available and unavailable N needs to be balanced in the cropping system to ensure soil
health and fertility improvement over time, rather than just replacing nutrients removed in the cropping cycle.
The graph below shows this analysis for crop mixes with ratio of legumes to grasses ranging from 30/70 to
80/20.
Figure 7: An analysis of N released and N reserves for trial control and veld plot samples in Matatiele; 2015.
From this graph it can be seen that there aren’t presently any cropping systems (including the veld baseline)
that builds up the nitrogen reserve in this soil and under these environmental conditions. It can be seen that the
0
5
10
15
20
25
30/70
40/60
50/50
60/40
70/30
80/20
30/70
40/60
50/50
60/40
70/30
80/20
30/70
40/60
50/50
60/40
70/30
80/20
N released N reserve Soil Health Score
Matatiele: N released and reserve for controls, intercrop trials,
with cover crops and veld baseline N=6
1st year control
1st year intercrop
trial
1st year intercrop
trial with cover crop
Veld baseline
samples
19
intercropping starts to build the reserve while also increasing N release. This indicates that legumes need to be
favoured strongly in cover crop mixes and that the build-up of the soil health here would take a few years.
Soil health tests are to be included in the yearly analysis of results for a selected number of participants in the
future to track changes and improvements in soil health status for these individuals.
20
PROGRESS PER AREA OF IMPLEMENTATION
Mt Frere;
Lutateni
In this area there was extremely low germination of maize and beans due to the drought. 5 Participants initially
planted but only 3 had any germination and only 1 participant Matshezi Monkie realised a harvest
Above left: Lucy/ Mashezi Monkie’s maize germinated in late January when the rains came and although
germination has been patchy and weed competition high she has realised some harvests. Above middle: Makaula
Mbhele’s trial plot is visible in the right of the picture- with very patchy germination and high weed pressure.
Again germination was delayed considerably until the rains came. Above Right: Mrs Mbhele’s control plot did
substantially better, with better germination and growth than the trial.
Ntenentyane
In this area participants did not take the CA trials very seriously, despite
combined input from our team and the lima RDF fieldworkers. None of
the 5 participants managed to harvest any of their crops and 4 of the 5
discontinued their trials before the end. Activities in this area will not be
continued
Right:Planting demonstration at Mamasoka Manyala’s trial plot in
Ntenentyana
Mt Ayliff
Saphukanduku
In Saphukanduku only 1 of the 4 participants achieved germination and surprisingly good growth in his crops.
Mr Moshoeshoe planted at the same time as the other participants who achieved 0% germination. His victory
21
however did not last long as a major hailstorm completely decimated his crop. He subsequently planted in the
cover crop mixture into his field with reasonable germination and growth.
Swartberg, Mzongwana
This is the area where Mr Mongoata who belongs to the Ongeluksnek study group in Matatiele farms. As the
rest of the study group members were not very interested in either CA or cover crops, Mr Mongoata offered
that we work with him on his 200ha farm and also set up a group for homestead level trials in the village
nearby. Six (6) farmer level trials have been set up, along with the larger scale cover crop trials in Mr
Mongoata’s fields.
Cover crops were planted in February 2016 by most of the participants. A
mixture of winter cover crops (fodder radish, saia oats and fodder rye) was
used.
Right: A view of maize plantings done by Mr Mongoata. The green section in the
middle of the photograph represents about 1ha of a mixture of cover crops
planted in February 2016.
Three of the participants, Mr Hadebe, Mr Mncwabe and Mr Mzikayifani,
managed to harvest their crops. They also planted in the cover crop mixtures
around February 2016. These cover crops germinated and grew, albeit under
duress.
Younger members of the community have been drawn in. They are specifically
interested to pursue a process of linking their small enterprises and growing fodder for livestock and poultry as
well as food. A cooperative has been formed in the community to continue with this process.
Above left to right: Mr Mlungelo Hadebe’s plot in April 2016. Maize has not grown well and plot has been invaded
by kikuyu grass. The cover crops planted in shallow furrows has struggled to grow, showing yellowing and
stunting (fodder rye and saia oats are visible); some cowpeas have survived in between the grass and are still
growing and around 1,5kg of beans have been harvested from the plot.
22
Above Left: Mr Gcina Mzikayifani’s trial plot on 15 January 2016. He planted in mid December. The plot shows poor
germination and growth due to drought and heat, but now with evidence of run-off due to recent rains. Above
middle: In April 2016 the growth of the trial plots of maize and cowpeas were reasonable, given two hailstorms
followed again by very hot and dry conditions. Beans have been harvested. Above right: the cover crops planted at
the ned of February 2016 have not grown well in Mr Mzikayifani’s plots. Some fodder radish and saia oats are
visible.
Above left: A similar situation of patchy and limited germination was evident for Mr
Themba Mncwabe, who planted on the 8th of December. Above right: Mr Mncwabe’s
plot on 4 February 2016. Here it is evident that the control is doing better with
patchy germination showing in the CA trial plot in the foreground, though
subsequent growth has been reasonable.
Right: Mr Mncwabe shows the Matracca jab planter that he bought for himself at a
store in Kokstad.
23
Far left: Mr
Mncwabe’s plot in
April 2016, shows
the effect of hail
storms and
subsequent heat
and drought. A lot
of run off has
occurred and the
soil is hard and
capped. Middle
left: The Fodder
radish seed
planted in shallow
furrows using
hand hoes had all washed out towards the bottom of the plot nod germinated there. Near left: Rows of saia oats
and fodder rye showing severe drought stress and lack of growth.
List of members for the Mzongwana cooperative
1.Mr Joseph Macala
2.Shadrack Hlenti
3.John Hlenti
4.Themba Mncwabe
5.Malungelo Hadebe
6.Wilfred Mabese
7.Mngankosi Hadebe
8.Tryphina Wawa
9.Nkosinathi Macala
10.Zwelakhe Zwajani
Matatiele; Nkau progress
For this season, the local facilitator Bulelwa Dzingwa took it upon herself to find more enthusiastic people and
set up an experimentation group with 7 participants. Six (6) participants have implemented the basic 1st level
experiment and Mrs Dzingwa has worked on the adaptive trial as well as a number of other options.
24
The group has now set up a cooperative with the assistance of the Department of Agriculture to continue their
farming and experimentation process with CA into the
future. See a list of cooperative members below.
Bulelwa Dzingwa also did the mulching experiment and a
5x10m plot of the summer cover crops. The latter
however did not germinate at all.
Right: Bulelwa’s mulching trial. In the foreground is the
beans plot and behind that the Maize and bean intercrop.
On the right hand side are the same plots without mulch.
The mulched plots germinated and grew better than their
unmulched counterparts. Mulch had to be redone a few
times during the season given the tendency to blow away
and get washed away in storms.
Clockwise from top left: Bulelwa’s maize and cowpea intercrop plot in March 2016. The cowpeas have recovered,
but maize has not done well. The beans in the mulched
plot performed a lot better than the un-mulched plot. Both
plots however did show signs of stress and yellowing of
plants.
List of cooperative members in Nkau
Nkau Coop (Matatiele)
1.Jacki Ndlovu
2.Jabulani Hlathi
3.Makamelo Nkejane
4.Mapontso Ranqabang
5.Zanzima Sturuman
6.Nuh Mpitsa
7.Bulelwa Dzingwa
8.Nomzwakhe Sturuman
25
Above: Mr Zamama Sturuman in fact had reasonable germination in his trial in spite of the weather and lack of
weeding. Left: Maphontso Ranqabang’s trial plot, shows reasonable growth but patchy germination. Her ploughed
control plot shown here has shown impressive growth for this season
Khutsong
Mr Mapheele invited a number of the slightly larger maize farmers from the area who have their home plots of
around 1200m2 to join the CA experimentation process. These farmers had also recently started to participate
in the Department of Agriculture supported process in their fields. Again interest waned considerably when
farmers realised that the Grain SA process does not do the actual ploughing and planting for farmers. Given also
the drought conditions in the area, only Mr Mapheele implemented in this group.
Below left and right. Mr Mapheele planted his trials as a maize and bean intercrops with tramlines using an
animal drawn planter. The results were extremely disappointing and there was almost 0% germination
26
Above left to right: The low organic matter content and sandiness of Mr Mapheele’s soil reduces germination and
growth considerably; germination of a winter cover crop mix planted end February 2016, in the plot where maize
did not germinate; A large plot of Lucerne has been planted to build up soil fertility over a period of time before
trying to plant maize again. This will be provided with supplementary irrigation during winter and a bag of teff
fodder harvested from his plots, ready for grinding for fodder.
Mr Mapheele installed an electric pump linked to a borehole close by and has been irrigation his cover crops with
remarkable results, Above left: Visible are the three plots the cc mix (saia oats, fodder rye and fodder radish),
turnips and lucerne. Above middle: A view of the cc plot now showing almost complete cover. And Above right:
Mr Mapheele’s pump for irrigation.
Mr Mapheele has also planted a large plot of turnips in his household
plot. This has grown well. He sells greens to the community and also
uses the greens as fodder for his livestock sheep, horses and cattle.
Right: Mr Mapheele’s household plot of turnips, used as a winter rotation
crop for his maize.
Sehutlong
In this area we continued with three of the participants from the 2014-2105 season and one new participant
who all continued with the basic layout of close spaced intercropping of maize, beans and cowpeas.
27
In addition, two participants conducted a mulching trial (Matshepo Futhu and Mamolekeng Lebeoua). Only 3
participants continued due to lack of germination for the other participants.
In February 2016 a mixture of cover crops (both winter and summer) were planted into the unmulched trial
plots. Cover crops used were sunnhemp, babala/millet, dolichos beans, fodder rye, saia oats and fodder radish.
These were either scattered and raked into the soil in between the maize crops at the same time as weeding, or
planted in rows using hand hoes to open small furrows depending on the conditions in the fields at the time of
planting. Germination and growth of the cover crops were good considering the seasonal constraints.
Percentage germination of the different cover crops in the mixtures were very tricky to determine as different
combinations of the crops grew in different small patches within each plot.
Above left: Mtshepo Futhu’s mulching trial; the maize and bean intercropped plot shows somewhat patchy
germination but reasonable growth. Weed suppression was very good with no weeding required.Above Right; Mrs
Futhu’s maize only unmulched plot. Weeding had to be done 2-3 times, germination was worse than the mulched
plots and consequent ground cover was very little.
Left: A view of Mrs Futhu’s mulched maize and bean plot in April 2016. The
mulch has worked well to suppress weeds and improve growth of both the
maize and the beans for the whole season. Mrs Futhu did not weed this plot.
Above right: Here the border between the mulched and unmulched plots of
maize only plantings are clear- in the centre of the picture. The crops on the
left hand side in the un mulched portion have bene swamped by weeds, despite earlier efforts to do weeding.
28
Above left: A view of the cover crops planted into an un mulched maize plot in Mrs Futu’s trial. Here sunhemp,
fodder radish, fodder rye and Dolichos are visible. Above middle; a part of the plot showing a slightly different
combination of cover crops with Dolichos being more prevalent. And Above right; the saia oats in this view is
seeding along with fodder rye and Babala.
Mamolelekeng Lebouea’s field and trial plot were well looked after and general soil condition and fertility in
her field is better. This year her husband agreed to plant the entire field using CA having seen the potential
from last year.
Far left: Mrs Lebouea’s mulched plots in
her trial with maize only in the
foreground and maize and beans
intercropped in the top half of the picture.
Germination was reasonable, albeit a
little patchy and subsequent growth has
been good. Left: In the unmulched plots
of the trial maize grew well, but
somewhat shorter with some signs of
water stress.
29
Above left: Mrs Lebouea’s cover crop mixes grew well as relay crops in the unmulched plots of her trial. This
picture shows a patch where fodder radish and saia oats is dominating. Above middle: Here Dolichos and sunhemp
are thriving in the maize and bean intercrop plot, along with some fodder rye. Above right: A mixture of flowering
sunhemp and millet, with fodder rye and Dolichos visible.
Learning Group observations for specific areas
Towards the end of the season a focus group review session was conducted with the learning groups in the
Eastern Cape. Themes discussed included a review of their CA trials compared to the normal planting practices
and an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the approach. A discussion on inputs, supply, costs and a
cost benefit analysis of CA was done. Discussions regarding saving for inputs and bulk buying options were
included as were questions on joint actions in the learning group including joint storage, marketing and
potential for milling in the area. Cover crops were discussed including their potential for food and fodder
production and potential grazing management options in the community. See the Focus group discussion
outline in Appendix3.1.
In addition individual interviews were conducted for learning group members who agreed (See Appendix 3.2)
to glean more detail regarding specific practices for each farmer. In particular, food provisioning, sales and
incomes, and specific costs for each farmer was explored, as was other livelihoods information and specifics
regarding their farming practices.
Interviews and focus group discussions were facilitated by the project team. The review also sets the stage for
the more detailed planning for the coming season and for starting to do entrance interviews, layout of plots, soil
samples and payment of subsidises.
Mzongwana
This community also faced the harsh realities of the past dry season. Participants planted their control plots a
bit earlier than trials but growth was not good. Generally, people in the area do not grow their own food as
30
much as they did previously. A lot of fields are lying fallow and people buy way more as opposed to working the
land. The maize they grow is mostly eaten green, or dried and fed to livestock, horses and poultry.
Farmers typically keep their own seed for planting their control plots, so not much is actually spent on inputs.
The fertilizer is sourced in Kokstad and Matatiele and participants have been using 2:3:2, which they broadcast
in their plots.
Farmers appreciate the decreased labour in planting CA trials and want to buy a couple more jab planters for
their control plots. Herbicides are also part of the list of inputs they are after, but they need more training on
their handling and use. They would also love to have a plot where they’ll be using the animal drawn no till
planter. Ideally they want to plant late October and early November. The participant farmers think it is a great
idea to include fodder crops in their maize production system and are keen to continue and expand on this
process. For their control plots they are leaning more and more towards using roundup ready seed.
There is no formal savings group in Mzongwana but participants want to start one up. Presently four men have
been saving monies together for buying of inputs on a monthly basis. Each contributes what he can afford. So
far they have saved around R1150 and are continuing to save after having learned that fertilizer prices have
increased to around R480in Kokstad and R520 in Pietermaritzburg for a 50kg bag of MAP. So farmers are
aware that they have to contribute a bit more and they want to grow more maize in the hope that they will be
getting more rain than last year.
Regarding storage, rats are a huge problem and the use of Rattex in the storage rooms has not been very
successful. A better storage method would need to be used. Before people used to go to Hanover Farm to have
their maize milled (R20/50kg bag), but as production has decreased so much this is no longer done. A local mill
sounds like a good idea, but farmers are worried that not enough maize is being produced to justify this.
COMMENTS FROM FARMERS
Mr Themba Mncwabe: Mzongwana.(1st year). “CA is great
for me. It is less work and it costs less. There was less erosion
in the CA plot and the crops grew well. We planted in these dry
sandy soils, knowing that little would come up but did so in
recognition of our animals. Cover crops were good enough to
provide grazing for my animals for about two weeks. This past
season was a terrible one; yields were very low while others
didn’t get anything at all.I cannot say my yield has increased
with CA, it was my first attempt and an unfortunate dry one as well”. Mr
Mncwabe feels that his control did somewhat better than the trial
because he happened to plant early and his crops were able to recover
from the hail events more than the CA trial with maize. All the maize
produced will be fed to livestock and is currently stored in feed bags
that are kept in dry and cool rondavel huts. He has bought a jab planter
and has already started to use this for planting his control plots as
well.
Mrs Bulelwa Dzingwa: Nkau, 3rd year:I feel excited and grateful that
such a project has found its way to our area. We were used to planting
our maize but it yielded very little. I would always encourage my
neighbours to do CA as it is an easy way to work the land and an
31
affordable way to feed our children. I feel the three years I’ve been part of the project have been worth it. I thought
it wouldn’t work for us. I knew of herbicides but thought it required heavy big machinery. Through the CA project
I’ve worked with herbicides and the smaller planters suited for us.My yield specifically beans has increased a lot,
maize cobs have just slightly increased with big full cobs.We all want more for less, so mixing cropping with maize
and beans is a complimentary combination also to rebuild and cover the soil as much as we can.
I have learnt about the importance of not disturbing the soil
and how one can maintain and rebuild the soil. CA saves a lot of
money and labour. My soil has gone somewhat darker - a lot of
organic matter has been replaced; especially on the intercrop
plot. My soil is less prone to erosion and holds more moisture,
especially in the intercropped and mulched plots of this last
season.
She has learnt different ways of identifying fertile soil; soil
colour, organic matter, holding ‘shape’ in the dispersion test
and soil being more crumbly and less compact.
She felt that working with the MBLI hand planter was the best for them. It is easy also for the women to learn to
change the plates for the different seeds. The Haraka planter was good as it is just pushed, so easier and can
work larger areas, but changing the plates on that planter is a little complicated and it would be better if it
could also dispense fertilizer as the MBLI does.
She finds planting cover crops important. She lets her sheep graze as there is little food available in winter and
stray livestock will help themselves. But given the extreme winters it would be better to cut and keep fodder for
livestock.
She feels that she continues to learn new aspects every season and is ‘hungry’ to
continue.
Mrs Maphontsho Ranqabang: Nkau. (1st year) CA is the answer to effective crop
production at reduced costs both to me and the soil, I have now realized that, unlike
back when Bulelwa first told me about it. This was her first season and so she
could not see much yield difference compared to her control plots. She feels that
the herbicides do work but believes it is better to do hand weeding to also
remove the roots of the weeds. Because the soil was very dry and hard they were
obliged to use hand hoes instead of the planters. The mixed cropping idea makes
sense in terms of fighting weeds and better crop growth, but it makes the
weeding more difficult.
Mrs Matshepo Futu:Sehutlong.(2nd year) “CA works very well and I will
continue to use this method even if the project leaves. Even if you are poor and
have no money, if you work hard in your garden with CA you will harvest
something to feed your family. CA protects the soil and the work is less. Yields
are much better, except this last year because of the drought” She feels that her
soils are more fertile now and not eroded at all; there is too much work in
weeding.
32
Mrs Mamolelekeng Lebouea: Sehutlong. (2nd year) There is a difference from before; weeds are reduced, water
is held and stored in the soil a bit more and of course yields are higher. There is no erosion any more and the soil
appears to be more fertile”. The cover crops grew well, especially the saia oats and animals have been grazing on
those plots. She has a kraal close to her fenced in garden and feels that cutting and feeding there would be a
better idea, as then the cover crops will have a chance to regrow and produce more.
Mr Tsoloane Mapheele: Khutsong(3rd year). “I had heard of CA, but
was not sure it would work on the beach sand I have for soil. I find that
CA is great; there is no more erosion and the work is manageable. The
weeds are reduced over time and the yields are slowly increasing. I have
managed to try out many new crops; mostly fodder crops that are also
good for the soil. The soils are more fertile through the introduction of
cover crops and careful fertilizer use.My maize didn’t grow well this
year, so Iput cover crops on the entire plot where I had maize, broad
casted then weeded. In the previous season I had planted it between
maize rows. These cover crops grew really well. I included Lucerne and turnips as well.
Mr Mapheele works on 0,2ha of land and also has a home plot. He uses animal traction and has a small maize
mill. He still feels that there may be an issue with the planter and would like the suppliers to be there when he
plants to ensure better germination in future. He allows his animals to graze on the plots, then removes them
and waters the cover crops to allow them to regrow as a new strategy. Before he used to cut and dry the cover
crops as fodder. Both strategies work well for him. He feels more confident about which herbicides to use, as
before he depended on what others said and made many mistakes. He now understands the difference between
some of the types of herbicides.
Mr Khotso Moshoeshoe: Mt Ayliff (1st year). ´Despite the hail storm I had
a good experience with CA and I am ready for the upcoming season. I had
been told about CA before but hadn’t tried it, so I was a bit uneasy. I noticed
that the soil was a lot cooler and moister in the CA plots and the maize grew
sturdy and strong. The mixed crops grew better than my control. I now
know how you spray, I’ve sprayed before as I have my own sprayer but
obviously after CA demos I saw that I was not doing it correctly. I can now
work with the amounts required for spraying different sized areas that we
work with in CA
Cover crops (saia oats and fodder radish) were grown as a relay crop after
the hailstorm and the small livestock were put into the plot to graze. If the
growth and yields are better in the future, then Mr Moshoeshoe will cut
and feed it to his livestock and keep some for winter.
Summary of learning points for the CA participants
Intercropping reduces the presence of weeds. Maize in the inter-cropped plot grows better and is
greener than maize in single block plantings
Soil fertility is described in terms of darker soil, more organic matter present and the presence of soil
life such as earthworms. A few farmers commented on the texture being more crumbly and soils being
less compacted.
33
Farmers have noticed a definite decrease in soil erosion in their CA plots, as well as an increase in soil
moisture in these plots as compared to their conventionally tilled plots.
Mulching suppresses weeds and increases moisture and thus growth of the crops.
Hybrid seed can withstand different conditions as they are specifically crossed to be able to do that.
It is not good to keep hybrid seed for replanting.
OPVs are similar to traditional seed and seed can be kept. That is good in these areas where people keep
and plant their own seed.
Herbicides help a lot and farmers have noticed fewer weeds and also fewer types of weeds being
present over time. They have learnt not to spray herbicides on fully grown plants, as it does not work
and also to be careful about the type of herbicide they use. Mid-season weeding is an issue on the larger
plots, as hand weeding is not possible and there are very few herbicides that work on the mixed plots.
Cover crops work quite well in out competing weeds and is a good strategy for weed control.
Farmers would prefer to store their own harvests. Presently rats are a big problem.
Farmers would prefer to use storage bins where they would control access and fumigate their seed also
against other storage pests.
Labour for land preparation, planting and harvesting is reduced. Labour for weeding however is
increased in the CA process.
Hand hoes are sometimes still the best way of planting as the MBLI planters struggle in hard dry soils
and in the areas where the soil is very sandy the seeds end up being too shallow and wash out of the soil
when the rains come.
The conception in the area is that any field larger than around 1000m2 would need tractors for
ploughing. This is a significant difference to the conceptions of hand cultivatable land sizes in the
Bergville area for example.
INNOVATION PLATFORMS
The members of learning groups are all members of local savings and credit groups in the Matatiele area. In
Mzongwana a new savings and bulk buying group has been set up. From livelihoods information gleaned from
the individual interviews the following small summary of livelihoods information can be made.
Livelihoods criteria
Units
Male/female ratio of participants
30/70
Average age of participants
54 years
No of household members
6
No of children/dependants
3
Average monthly income
R1 820,00 grants and farming; 0% employment
Savings for input costs
R300 per participant
Provisioning of food from cropping
2-3 months
Cropping for household consumption
95%
From the above it can be seen that participants are all poor, living in large households and there is a high
dependency on grants for incomes. This leads to a decreased ability to save money for buying inputs and
cropping on a small scale.
Time was spent trying to liaise with the Eastern Cape Department of Agriculture to set up a collaborative
relationship in the communal fields in a number of villages. These fields are generally planted by and through
the Department, with farmers paying a subsidised amount for the service. Farmer assist with weeding and
harvesting. The idea was to allocate certain portions of the fields to CA. The agreement was further that the
Department would provide the Ongeluksnek study group with two no-till planters (2 row). Although promises
34
were made actual actions were unforthcoming. Similarly, the relationship with the Ongeluksnek study group
collapsed due to lack of focus from the group.
A decision was made to pursue relationships in southern KZN as extension of this implementation site, given
the present difficulties in implementing a model of farmer experimentation alongside a model where the
government departments provide inputs as well as doing cultivation for the farmers.
A relationship was initiated with Mr Roy Dandala from KwaNalu (The KZN agricultural Union) and the CA team
joined in during an open day for the Creighton area and gave an introductory input on CA. Farmers in this area
were very interested in this approach and this area will be incorporated as a site going into the future.
Above left: Field visits during the KwaNalu farmers’ day in Creighton. Above right: Mazwi Dlamini from the CA
SFIP team demonstrates the use of hand held planters to the community gathering during the KwaNalu open day.
In addition, a direct relationship with the Harry Gwala DM and the Ubuhlebezwe LM (local municipality) is
being set up through discussions with the provincial managers of the DRDLR (Dept of Rural Development and
Land Reform) and Mr Nqe Dlamini (from StratAct). The concept here is to implement the CA SFIP process in
these municipalities as an example of a model of agricultural development that builds on the concept of farmer
centres and agri-hubs. A forum involving all the role players in this process is to be set up in the coming
growing season.
Sehutlong/Nkau farmers’ day
The farmers day was arranged and managed by the community in Sehutlong, supported by the local facilitator
Bulelwa Dzingwa and hosted at Mrs Lebueoa’s homestead. Around 48 participants from the local area,
including the Nkosi for Nkau who opened the day and encouraged involvement. Bulelwa gave a presentation of
the process and principles and a number of farmers talked through their experiences with CA. The field
demonstrations were visited and explained and a power point presentation was done to discuss the Grain SA
SFI programme, the trial considerations and farming options available.
35
Clockwise from top left:
Participants in the tent
listening to a farmer’s
presentation; Bulelwa
Dzingwa presenting her
poster on CA; the power point
presentation and discussions
and a group of farmers
visiting Mrs Futhu’s field –
Below Right: Bulelwa is
explaining the trial layout.
MONITORING
The use of the two monitoring frameworks for the CA scores and the VSA (Visual Soil Assessment) scores were
continued into the third season.
Similar to the situation in the Bergville
area, but even more pronounced is the
weather dependence of the CA scoring
system. As a number of participants had
complete crop failure their scores have
been a lot lower than in previous seasons.
Right: Sylvester Selala works with a number
of smallholder farmers to demonstrate how
to work out the percentage groundcover
using the small wire quadrant shown in the
picture.
The table below outlines the CA scores for
the participants for the 2015-2016 planting
season. Canopy cover is generally low due
36
to lack of growth of the crops as is the crop growth percentage. The dry season did have the advantage of
reducing pest incidence in the crops.
TABLE9:THECA SCORES FOR CA PARTICIPANTSIN THE EASTERNCAPE FORTHE2015-2106 SEASON.
Surname
Name
No of
years
under
CA
Ground
cover
percentage
at planting
Canopy
cover
percentage
(when?)
Weed
presence
on trial
plot
(when?)
Percentage
of pest
present on
trial plot
on
assessment
Percentage
crop growth
(germination,
height, leaf
colour)
CA
scores
2015
(out of
10)
CA
scores
2014
(out of
10)
VSA
scores
Futu
Matsepo
2
4%
15%
10%
90%
60%
3,58
5,40
13
Lebouea
Mamolelekeng
2
2%
5%
90%
90%
80%
5,34
6,50
14
Lebueoa
Malerato
1
4%
80%
90%
0%
4,35
Dzingwa
Bulelwa
2
5%
15%
75%
90%
55%
4,80
6,00
11
Nkejane
Makemelo
1
5%
40%
40%
90%
40%
4,30
11
Ndlovu
Jacky
1
10%
5%
90%
90%
30%
4,50
11
Hlathi
Jabulani
1
10%
75%
10%
90%
0%
3,70
6
Sturruman
Nomzwakhe
1
9%
15%
70%
90%
25%
4,18
11
Ranqabang
Mapontsho
1
15%
20%
40%
90%
60%
4,50
9
Sturruman
Zanzima
1
5%
15%
60%
90%
45%
4,30
11
Mapheele
Tsoloane
3
10%
10%
55%
90%
15%
3,60
5,50
11
Dihholo
Thabiso
2
8%
15%
70%
90%
25%
4,16
5,00
11
Manyala
Mamasoka
1
2%
2%
100%
90%
0%
3,88
11
Makaula
MaMbhele
1
5%
20%
50%
90%
20%
3,70
Mbunjana
Nomakhosazana
1
0%
10%
90%
90%
45%
4,70
9
Monkie
Matshezi
1
3%
2%
100%
90%
45%
4,80
8
Zondeki
Nolungile
1
3%
1%
100%
90%
0%
3,88
11
Thiyane
Patricia
1
10%
70%
10%
90%
25%
4,10
6
Ntontela
Vuyelwa
1
5%
5%
90%
90%
15%
4,10
11
Moshoeshoe
Kgotso
1
0%
2%
95%
90%
75%
5,24
13
Mncwabe
Themba
1
4%
4%
90%
90%
50%
4,76
11
Hadebe
Mngankosi
1
15%
15%
55%
90%
35%
4,20
9
Mzikayifani
Gcina
1
2%
5%
90%
90%
35%
4,44
From this table it can be seen that the percentage ground cover at planting was low this season. The percentage
canopy cover achieved by February 2016 (6-8weeks after planting) was also low due to lack for growth which
is further seen in the percentage crop growth column. 0% Growth means total lack of germination and the low
percentages of crop growth indicate that no yields were obtained for these participants. Only 9 out of 23
participants who planted this season realised any yields at all. Weed pressure was high as indicated in the
percentage weed column. A number of farmers neglected to do weeding due to low germination and overall
growth of their crops as they expected no harvests.
When comparing the ground cover and canopy cover with overall growth there is an expectation of finding
similar trends, where good ground and canopy cover is reflected in good growth of the crops. This year, due to
the extreme weather conditions however, these trends have been largely obscured. See the figure below
37
Figure 8: Comparison of ground and canopy cover scores with crop growth in Matatiele; 2015-2106 planting
season.
The figure below compares the CA scores over three seasons with the maize and bean yields over that period.
The sample size is somewhat small to make definitive conclusions but there is a clear upward trend in yields
with average yields for beans being 0,42t/ha, 0,47t/ha and 0,69t/ha in 2013,2014 and 2015 respectively and
the average yields for maize being 0,66t/ha, 0,87t/ha and 1,37t/ha for the same periods.
These is an equally clear downward trend in theCA scores. It is becoming apparent that using these scores to
base incentives on- or as the basis of a PES (Payment for Ecosystems Services) model, is going to be difficult
given the variances in weather across the years. It is considered that a simpler process for the incentives and
subsidy related criteria needs to be designed. This process will also need to include the social and
organisational criteria, such as group work and savings and should be based on implementation of the CA
principles in cropping practices; such as soil cover crop diversification (inter-cropping and crop rotation) and
inclusion of cover crops.
1 2 2 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Mo
nki
e
Dih
hol
o
Dzi
ng
wa
Fut
u
Had
ebe
Hla
thi
Leb
oue
a
Leb
ueo
a
Ma
kau
la
Ma
nya
la
Ma
phe
ele
Mb
unj
ana
Mn
cwa
be
Mo
sho
esh
oe
Mzi
kay
ifan
i
Ndl
ovu
Nke
jan
e
Nto
ntel
a
Ran
qab
ang
Stu
rru
ma
n
Thi
yan
e
Zon
dek
i
Ground cover at planting0,03 0,08 0,05 0,04 0,15 0,10 0,02 0,04 0,05 0,02 0,10 0,00 0,04 0,00 0,02 0,10 0,05 0,05 0,15 0,07 0,10 0,03
Canopy cover0,02 0,15 0,15 0,15 0,15 0,75 0,050,20,020,10,10,04 0,02 0,05 0,050,40,050,20,150,70,01
Crop growth0,45 0,25 0,55 0,60 0,35 0,00 0,80 0,00 0,20 0,00 0,15 0,45 0,50 0,75 0,35 0,30 0,40 0,15 0,60 0,35 0,25 0,00
0,00
0,10
0,20
0,30
0,40
0,50
0,60
0,70
0,80
0,90
scores
Ground and canopy cover compared to crop growth; 2015. Matatiele
38
Figure9: Comparison of CA trial yields and CA scores over three seasons in the Eastern Cape.
When comparing the CA scores and the VSA scores we were interested to see whether the trends in using these
two sets of scores are still similar to the trends noticed in previous seasons, as shown in the small table below.
CA monitoring
scores
VSA Soil scores
VSA plant scores
Yields (Maize)
Above average
≥7
>28
>15
3-8.9 tons/ha
Average
5-6.9
11-28
7-15
1-2.9tons/ha
Below average
3-4.9
<11
<7
≤1ton/ha
In general these relationships still hold and the scores fall within the same ranges as those presented in this
table.
Beans
2013
Beans
2014
Beans
2015
Maize
2013
Maize
2014
Maize
2015
CA score
2013
CA Score
2014
CA score
2015
Lelatso Thuso0,12 0005
Bulelwa Dzingwa1,61,81,01 3,264,8
Mamolelekeng Lebuoea0,35 1,551,256,55,3
Manyalleng Sikhosana0,16 0,735,9
Matshepo Futhu0,21 0,760,5305,43,6
Thabiso Dihollo0,670,83 0 0,661,84 05,954,2
Tsoloane Mapheele0,16 000,78 065,53,6
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
t/ha
Yields and CA score comprisons; 2013-2015. Eastern Cape
score1-
39
Figure 10: Comparison of VSA soil and CA scores for the 2015-2106 planting season in Matatiele.
These scores are all quite low, showing the below average performance of crop growth this year.
Considerations for future cycles
Generally the participation of farmers has been a lot better this season, but hampered by the extreme weather
conditions. The relationship with Lima RDF has been fruitful and cooperative and will be continued into future
seasons. Technically mulching has proved to be a key factor for the success of CA production systems in these
settings and work will continue to improve this practice, as well as other CA principles. Water and soil
conservation works will be included in the fields in future as it is a definite requirement. Work with cover crops
and crop diversification is an ongoing process.
The process will be expanded into southern KZN in future cycles as working under the specific socio-political
environment of the eastern Cape is considered unproductive at present. A focus on working with a limited
number of innovative and interested larger smallholders is envisaged and also the inclusion of working with
mechanised 2-row planters.
Mo
nki
e
Dih
hol
o
Dzi
ng
wa
Fut
u
Ha
deb
e
Hla
thi
Leb
oue
a
Leb
ueo
a
Ma
kau
la
Ma
nya
la
Ma
phe
ele
Mb
unj
ana
Mn
cw
abe
Mo
sho
esh
oe
Mzi
kay
ifan
i
Ndl
ovu
Nk
eja
ne
Nto
ntel
a
Ra
nqa
ban
g
Stu
rru
ma
n
Thi
yan
e
Zon
dek
i
Average of VSA scores8,0011,011,013,09,006,0014,011,011,09,0011,013,0 11,011,011,09,0011,06,0011,0
Average of CA scores 20154,804,164,803,584,203,705,344,353,703,883,604,704,765,244,444,504,304,104,504,244,103,88
0,00
2,00
4,00
6,00
8,00
10,00
12,00
14,00
16,00
CA and VSA scores
Comparison of VSA and CA scores 2014-2015; Matatiele
40
Appendix 1: Table. Key activities, outputs and deliverables July 2015- September 2016; planned and actual.
An amount of R41 497,47 remains for August and September 2016. The project will be finalised within the allocated budget.
INVOICES
Milestones/
Outputs
Keyactivities
OUTCOMES/
DELIVERABLES
Budgets Oct2015-Sept2016 OctNovDecJanFebMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugust September
Actual
expenditure per
budget item
Pd grainSA
TOTAL
EXPENDITURE
Farmer
experimentation
Matatiele
Reporting,
documentation,adminis
trationand sundries
Meeting and monthly
reports
Administration and
sundries
R 120000,00 R 10 000,00R 10 000,00R 10 000,00R 9 966,32R 10 600,00R 12 279,60R 29 549,00R8 365,50R11 100,00R 111 860,42
Farmer centred
innovationsystems
(including inputs)
PID plans, awarness and
training, delivery of inputs
and materials
Farmer led
experimentation
R 267607,00 R 37 694,77R 39 310,06R 14 340,73R 21 550,80R 18 250,00R 27 053,00R 8 456,40R 42 884,00R1 143,36R30 000,00R 240 683,12
Innovation platforms
and awareness
Stakeholder meetings,
platform building events
Farmer led
experimentaiton
R 10 000,00R 6 509,28R 4 440,17R 10 949,45
Monitoring and
evaluation, market
based mechanisms,
studentsand interns,
Monitoring forms,
researchoutlines,
workshop notes
Reporting and
Administration
R 142393,00 R 12 383,28R 7 788,96R 4 163,40R 9 525,60R 3 307,22R 2 034,94R 4 374,00R4 374,00R375,00 R 48 326,40
R 540 000,00R60 078,05R 57 099,02R 28 504,13R31 517,12R 44 884,88R42 639,82R40 040,34R51 698,17R 13 882,86R41 475,00R 0,00R 0,00R 411 819,39
Work plan83 008,00R 69 703,00R 32 352,00R R 32 352,00R 46 403,0046 398,00R 36 398,00R 36 398,00R 36 398,00R
R 36 398,00R 36 398,00R 47 794,00 R 383 012,00R 63 395,40R475 214,79
Difference
July remainderR 41 497,37
Jul2015-Sept2015 JulyAugustSeptember October
R40 480,40R38 174,90R51 381,54R130 036,84
106 749,00RR33 916,34R38916,33R33 916,33106749,00R
TOTAL July 2015-Sept 2016646 749,00R
Matatiele Milestones: Farmer Centred Innovation in CA.July 2015-September
2016
Sub- TOTAL:
41
Appendix 2: Soil health test results for Matatiele; 2015.
AREANAMEDATESAMPLESoilpH
Organic
matter %
CO2-C (ppmC)
Organic C:N
ratio
TotalOrg C
(ppm)
PMN
(potentially
mineralizable
N= avail Org
N)ppm
TotalN
(ppm)
Column G
+inorganic N
N
available
(kg/ha)
Haney
Test
Trad eval
N (kg/ha)
Differenc
e(Kg/ha)
Financial
valuefor
the
difference
P
available
(kg/ha)
K
available
(kg/ha)
Soil
Health
Score
Cover
crop
(legume/
grass)
Matatiele
Jul-15Veld baseline samples5,94,2141,813,2217 16,418,942,451,1241,328R 740,4834,72321,6614,5540/60
Sehutlong Lelatsa ThusoJul-151st year intercrop trial5,63,865,78,9171 19,231,470,3423,74446,6R 834,8066,19337,7911,0150/50
Lelatsa ThusoJul-15
1st year intercrop trial
with cover crop
5,63,8134,1 11,2159 14,257,6128,9182,246,712R 836,95101,70340,9314,9840/60
Lelatsa ThusoJul-151st year control5,73,974,612,9185 14,365,9147,62108,938,752R 694,3346,59337,839,0360/40
Matshepo FutuJul-151st year intercrop trial5,22,347,810,8109 10,111,730,806,724,08R 431,4420,72152,436,5370/30
Matshepo FutuJul-15
1st year intercrop trial
with cover crop
5,32,8141,8 10,7119 11,116,233,948,325,65R 459,5463,17179,3115,630/70
Matshepo FutuJul-151st year control5,42,894,110,1159 15,6 21 47,268,239,09R 700,3547,71257,6012,4450/50
Mamolelekeng LebeouaJul-151st year intercrop trial6,93,2155,69,2213 23,237,884,7824,260,59R 1 085,64332,42507,5821,4410/90
Mamolelekeng LebeouaJul-151st year control6,13,186,31218015 54,2121,5283,637,97R 680,2891,17556,3010,5150/50
Manyalleng SikhosanaJul-15
1st year intercrop trial
with cover crop
5,5 2,5113,29,5130 13,621,748,6116,432,26R 577,9462,72215,7114,5240/60
Manyalleng SikhosanaJul-151st year control62,486,39,111913 18,541,4410,830,69R 549,8453,65232,6211,9650/50
Khutsong TsoloaneMapheeleJul-151st year intercrop trial5,60,816,87,863 8,111,421,5045,615,904R 284,9521,728146,3843,680/20
Tsoloane MapheeleJul-15
1st year intercrop trial
with cover crop
5,9 1,339,87,589 11,817,940,3211,428,92R 518,1652,192147,287,3670/30
Tsoloane MapheeleJul-151st year control6,20,934,77,281 11,3 16 35,7287,628,128R 503,9740,656179,9846,7570/30
Nkau Bulelwa DzingwaAug-151st year intercrop trial4,93,698,18,4133 15,8 45 100,68852,6448,048R 860,8887,024145,0414,5440/60
Bulelwa DzingwaJul-151st year control53,141,512,3120 9,714,130,3528,421,952R 393,3217,80864,6245,5470/30
42
Appendix 3.1: Focus group discussion outline
Focus Group discussions: July-August 2016
Inputs
1)What did you spend on input costs this year for your trial and normal planting? And in previous years under
normal weather conditions (Divide them up into small groups to come up with figures if it is hard for
individuals to come up with answers)
2)What did you expect from your trial compared to your usual planting?
3)How do you measure yields?
4)Are you aware of payments for input packages? What do you understand about them?
5)How much do you spend on input costs for 1ha?
6)How do you plan to pay or save for them?
(a)Do cheaper payments/subsidies assist you? ……………………………………………………………………….
(b)How does having cheaper inputs help you?
(c)Does that mean that buying inputs at their normal price is not affordable? ………………………
(d)Does what you get from your production cover cost? .............................................................
(e)Do you know how much you make after you have subtracted input costs?
7)Are you aware that the input subsidies programme is applicable for a certain period of time? (Yes/No)
8)If yes, do you have a plan to buy your own inputs? .................................................................................
Costing
1)Are you a member of a savings group? Yes/ No
2)If, yes how much are your monthly contributions in the group?
3)Do you contribute any funds directly towards the sourcing of the production inputs? Yes/No?
4)If yes, how much?
5)If no, why?
6)What factors determine the contributed amounts towards sourcing of inputs?
7)How does the amount contributed compare to actual cost of production inputs?
a)Is it a predetermined amount? (Yes/No)
b)Is it what savings group members can afford? (Yes/No)
c)Is the amount determined per growing season? Or cost of production inputs in local markets?
(Yes/No)
Yields
1)Did the use of the CA processes improve your yield? (Yes/no)
2)If yes, how has it differed compared to previous seasons?
3)How did you use your yield?
4)Do you store your yield? (Yes/no)
5)If yes, how?
6)If no, what do you do with your yield?
7)What storage issues do you face?
a)How do you deal with them?
b)From harvesting to eating, how much do you think you lose?
c)Would you need assistance on how to do it better?
8)What are your views on joint-storage of yields?
Markets and marketing options
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1.Do you sell your yield? Yes/no
a)If yes, where?
b)How much do you sell? How much?
c)If no, why don’t you sell?
2.Do you know or use any local mills? …………………………………………………………………………………………………
3.Is it a good idea to use a local mill?
Drought coping strategies
1.What has been the impact of the drought?
2.Did you plant during the drought? (Yes/No)
a)If yes, what are your adaptation strategies to ease the impact of the drought?
b)How have you tried to deal with drought?
c)Did you change your farming in any way to accommodate for the drought?
3.How did organizations work with you during the drought?
4.How did the CA work during the drought? …………………………………………………………………………………..
Cover crops
1.Did/ do you grow cover crops? (Yes/No)
a)What do you understand about the purpose of cover crops? ………………………………………….
b)Which one grew better? And why? …………………………………………………………………………………
c)Is there anyone still keeping seeds or is it possible to keep seeds?
2.Do you think using cover crops as fodder or as feed a good idea? (Yes/No)
If no why?
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Appendix 3.2: GrainSA Conservation Agriculture impact assessment questionnaire; July 2016
GENERAL INFORMATION
Name and surname……………………………………………………….M/F………………………………………..
Area/Village ………………………………………………………………ID No……………………………………..
Years under CA…………………………………………………………Size of trial…………………………………
No of h/h members………………………………………………….No of children………………………………….
Main source of income……………………….No of grants (Pension and child)………, ………..
Member of Saving’s group Y/N…………………Bulk buying group Y/N……………………
Amount saved for inputs……………………………………….
GENERAL CA
After one/two years being involved in this project, how do you feel about CA/No till?
What was your perception about CA before you join this project and what is your perception now?
What are the things you have learnt about CA?
Will you encourage your neighbours to practice CA and show them how to do it?
What change have you observed in you plots ever since it’s been planted CA method? Eg (Positive and negative
and describe)
1.Erosion
2.Soil Fertility
3.Moisture…
4. Productivity/ yield ……………………………………………..
SOIL HEALTH
Do you know how to identify a fertile/infertile soil?Yes/No
What are the characteristics that you look for to identify a fertile soil?
1.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
2.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
3.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
4.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
5.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
By your own observation, has the CA improved the soil fertility in your trail plot?
Yes/No Why? ....
COVER CROPS
Have you planted cover crops? Yes/No……………2015…………………………………2104…………………
If yes, which ones did you plant?
Summer
Tick
Winter
tick
Millet
Black oats
Sunflower
Fodder raddish
Sunnhemp
Fodder rye
Cowpeas
Vetch
Sorghum
How did you plant the cover crops?(In between maize or separate)………………………………………………
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Please comment on the growth (Which ones grew well, which did not and why……
Which Cover crops do you prefer and why ?(Food, fodder)
Have you harvested seed from any of the cover crops?( Which ones, estimate amount or yield)
Grazing of summer and winter cover crops? Please explain how this happens
Is there a better way to manage the razing? (Give some ideas)
Cutting and taking to kraals? Or drying and storage for later use? Please comment on these options
FARMER TRAINING
Has the training (demonstrations and workshops) helped you to increase you knowledge about CA
Yes/No How has it helped ?
Are you able to practice the principles/guidelines of CA training on your own? Yes/No
Why?
Did you follow principles that you learnt from CA training to plant your control plots at planting?
Yes/No Why? Would you want to get some more training about CA? Yes/No
Would you recommend CA training to other community members? Yes/No
Why? ..................................................................................................................................................................
EXPERIMENTAL PLOT QUESTIONS
Please describe which planters you have used and how this has worked for you (MBLI, Matracca, Animal
drawn,.. Haraka) (Incl comments on how to use, how to calibrate, maintenance)
Do the planters work better than the hand hoes Y/N. Please explain why or why not
Based on your observations, are the herbicides/pesticides we have been using before planting effective?
Yes/No Why
Do you know the dangers/disadvantages of herbicides? Yes/No
Do you know how to use herbicides/pesticides? Yes/No
How effective are herbicides compared to hand weeding?
Has it ever happened that herbicides did not work in your plot? Yes/No
Do you know why sometimes herbicides don’t work?
What is the contribution of inter crop in weed control?
Has the number or type of weeds decreased/increased in your tail plot ever since you started planting CA
method? Yes/No
How do you think farmers can improve the method of weeding in No Till plots?
Which maize/bean seed did you like and you have seen more productive? (trad. OPV,Hybrid, GM) Do you know
the differences in these varieties? Yes/No Why?
1.………………………………
2.……………………………….
3.………………………………..
4.…………………………………
5.…………………………………
Which type would you prefer to continue planting?
1.
2.
3.
Do you know how planting all these different types of maize close together affects the seed?
Yes/No
Is the crossing between the different types of maize a problem? Yes/No
If so, what suggestions do participants have about keeping different types of seed pure?
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What were the challenges you encountered during the planting season?
What time do you think is conducive to start planting?
How is planting using mixed planting method different from single planting?
Have you observed the benefits of mixed-cropping in your trial plots?
Yes/No Why?
Would you extend mixed cropping to your control plots? Yes/No
Why?……………………………………………
Do you know any other methods of CA planting apart from mix-cropping and have you ever used them? Have
the yields in trial plots improved? Yes/No ,... By how much?
If not what do you think is the problem?
If yes, what do you think has influenced the increased in yields?
CROP GROWTH
What are your perceptions on using generic fertilizer recommendations
Do you use these recommendations on your control plots Y/N…. .. If not, please explain why
Please describe what pest and disease issues you have noticed on the trial plots and what you did to solve these
problems
Have you noticed any differences in crop growth and yields from the first and second years on your trial plots?
(Please describe how crops have germinated and grown this season and compared previous years if you
planted before) Yes/No
Have you wanted to commit to increasing your sizes of land for cropping?Yes/No
Give estimates of how much food there is now compared to previously (maybe in no of people in a household
and how long they can eat form the harvest)
Is it possible to give an indication of what has been sold, some idea of how much and to whom? And the income
you have generated (for both maize and beans)
HARVESTING AND STORAGE:
What is your perception around the harvesting process?
Do you have any suggestions to make it more efficient?
How do you tell whether the maize is dry enough, both for harvesting and later for storage?
Does the present system of storage work well?
What are the problems?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
What are some suggestions to make storage more efficient?
1.
2.
3.
4.
Are there problems with mould and fungi as well as pests in the stored maize? Please describe these problems
and how participants deal with these?
Any further thoughts about individual/ joint storage options that would work for participants?
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Social issues
LABOUR:
What are the issues with labour with CA as compared to conventional cropping?
1.
2.
3.
4.
Is there a saving in labour? Yes/No
Is it more or less for preparation, planting, weeding etc?
What size of land can one person comfortably work on by themselves?
How has working together in teams worked?
Do you have any suggestions about dealing with some of the problems that may arise with this?
What size land can be hand cultivated, cultivated with oxen drawn planters and what size will need a tractor
drawn planter?
What is the present situation with access to tractors and ploughing, what are the options for using tractor
drawn no till planters?
COSTS:
Do you have an idea of how much inputs costs for 1ha? Yes/No
What inputs do you normally buy?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
What inputs do you think you will need to buy as well to ensure that you maize grows better?
1.
2.
3.
4.
How much can you afford to pay? Please give a minimum and maximum range.
For those participants who are saving, how much will you save for your input costs?
EXPERIMENTATION:
Are there other people in the community who want to join in the experimentation?
Yes/No (List)
Can you as more experienced CA participants give advice to newcomers? Yes/No
Can you buy as a group/individually some of the tools and equipment? Yes/No
Is it an idea to have input packs available in the community for sale?Yes/No
Is any individual interested to try and run this as a business, or would they rather do it as a small group?