1"
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APPENDIX(:(BERGVILLE(ANNUAL(REPORT(
CA#Farmer#Innovation#Programme#for#
smallholders#in#Bergville#
Period:#October#2019#-#September#2020#
Farmer&Centred&Innovation&in&Conservation&Agriculture&
in&upper&catchment&areas&of&the&Drakensberg&in&the&
Bergville&region&of&KwaZulu-Natal&
"
!
Compiled)by:)
Erna&Kruger,&Phumzile&Ngcobo,&Sipho&Ntonta,&Thabani&
Madondo,&Lugelo&Buthelezi&and&Hendrik&Smith&
September(2020(
! !
2"
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Project)implemented)by:)
Mahlathini&Development&Foundation!
Promoting)collaborative,)pro-poor)agricultural)innovation.)
(
Contact:!!Erna!Kruger!(Founder!and!Coordinator)!
Address:!2!Forresters!Lane,!Pietermaritzburg,!3201,!KZN!
Email:!erna@mahlathiniorganics.co.za,!info@mahlathini.org!
Cell:!0828732289!
Time(of(operation:!2003-2020!
Legal(status:!NPC!
BEE(status:!!4.!–!Certificate!available.!
!
!
!
!
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"
"
"
!
Funded!by:!
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3"
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Contents(
Contents".................................................................................................................................................................................."3
Background"and"Organisational"Information"........................................................................................................."4
Summary"of"the"project"...................................................................................................................................................."8
Description"and"selection"of"study"areas"............................................................................................................."8
Approach"and"Methodology"..........................................................................................................................................."8
Key"activities:"October"2019-September"2020"......................................................................................................"9
Budget".............................................................................................................................................................................."10
Progress".........................................................................................................................................................................."10
Results"achieved"to"date"..............................................................................................................................................."13
CA"practice"....................................................................................................................................................................."14
Year"1(1st"level)"trial"outlines"..........................................................................................................................."14
Year"2"(2nd"level)"trial"outlines"........................................................................................................................."14
Year"3"-7(3rd"level)"trial"outlines"....................................................................................................................."14
Rainfall"and"runoff"..........................................................................................................................................................."15
Runoff"..............................................................................................................................................................................."17
Bulk"density"........................................................................................................................................................................"22
Water"productivity".........................................................................................................................................................."23
Soil"Health"..........................................................................................................................................................................."26
Soil"organic"matter"....................................................................................................................................................."33
Available"organic"Nitrogen"....................................................................................................................................."34
Soil"health"considerations;"PLFA"Bergville"2019/20".................................................................................."36
Yields"....................................................................................................................................................................................."42
Short"season"maize"....................................................................................................................................................."47
A"few"farmers’"observations"............................................................................................................................."49
Cover"crops"........................................................................................................................................................................."49
Crop-livestock"integration"..........................................................................................................................................."51
Strip"cropping"..............................................................................................................................................................."51
Fodder"supplementation"and"hay"production"..............................................................................................."54
Farmer"Centres"................................................................................................................................................................."56
Village"Savings"and"Loan"Associations"..................................................................................................................."57
Issues"and"recommendations"....................................................................................................................................."59
References"..........................................................................................................................................................................."60
"
"
4"
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Background(and(Organisational(Information(
Mahlathini" Development" Foundation" (2003-2020)"is" one" of" the" only" NGOs" in" South" Africa"
focussing" on" promoting" collaborative" pro-poor" agricultural" innovation." As" such" MDF" is" a"
specialist" NGO" working" in" the" fields" of" participatory" research," training" and" implementation,"
focussing"on"agroecological"approaches.""
The"Maize"Trust-funded"CA"Smallholder"Farmer"Innovation"Programme"(SFIP)"in"South"Africa,"as"
conceptualized" and" implemented" through" Mahlathini" Development" Foundation" (MDF)," has"
pioneered" the" use" of" agricultural" innovation" systems" as" a" methodological"approach" for" the"
promotion"of"an"appropriate"smallholder"CA"farming"system,"as"well"as"awareness"raising"and"
adaptive"research"into"specific"elements"of"this"system"(Kruger"&"Smith,"2019)."This"approach"
takes"cognizance"of"the"complexity"of"introducing"CA"into"a"farming"system,"including"working"
with" smallholder" farmers" as" partners" in" the" knowledge" co-creation" process" through" on-farm"
research" and" experiential" learning," as" well" as" embedding" the" process" into" the" existing" socio-
political" environments" and" economic" value" chains."The" overall" goal" of" the" CA" SFIP" is" the"
mainstreaming" of" CA" by" grain" farmers" to" ensure" sustainable" use" and" management" of" natural"
resources"while"enhancing"national"and"household"food"security"and"income."
The"IS"model"applies"a"family"of"approaches"and"methodologies,"such"as"the"Farmer"Field"School"
(FFS)" approach" and" participatory" monitoring" &" evaluation" (PM&E)," to" facilitate" awareness,"
learning,"implementation"and"research"all"together."The"key"voluntary"participants"of"this"process"
are" farmers" from" a" locality" or" village" who" should" be" organised" into" learning" groups" (farmers"
generally"are"already"organised"into"structures"such"as"savings"and"credit"groups,"associations"or"
cooperatives)." A" number" of" farmers" in" that"group" volunteer" to" undertake" on-farm"
experimentation,"which"creates"an"environment"where"the"whole"group"learns"throughout"the"
season"by"observations"and"reflections"of"the"trials’"implementation"and"results."They"compare"
various" CA" treatments" with" their" standard" practices," which" are" planted" as" control" plots." This"
provides"an"opportunity"to"explore"all"aspects"of"the"cropping"system,"its"socio-economic"context"
and"feasibility,"as"well"as"the"grain"and"legume"value"chain"in"the"area.""The"whole"value"chain"is"
considered:"input"supply,"production"aspects,"harvesting"and"storage,"processing"and"marketing"
Horizontal"expansion"(scaling"out)"from"village"nodes"to"surrounding"farmers"and"villages"in"the"
area,"working"with"organised"farmer"groups"(or"IPs)"in"collaboration"with"stakeholders"in"the"
region"has"shown"great"promise"for"expansion"of"interest"in"and"longer"term"sustainability"of"the"
implementation"of"CA"practices"among"smallholders.""It"means"that"a"number"of"villages"in"close"
proximity" become" involved" and"this" provides" an" opportunity" for" organising" farmers" around"
issues" in" the" value" chain" such" as" bulk" buying," transport," storage" and" marketing." It" creates" an"
option"to"set"up"farmer"service"centres"at"central"nodes"that"can"provide"easy"access"to"inputs"and"
services."The"model"also"provides"for"learning"over"a"period"of"time,"which"has"proven"essential"
to"allow"each"participant"farmer"to"experiment"with"and"master/adapt"the"CA"principles"for"at"
least" 4" years." The" more" experienced" farmers" become" mentors" to" the" new" entrants" and" some"
5"
"
undertake"the"role"of"local"facilitation"and"support"to"their"villages"and"groups."It"also"provides"a"
platform"where"other"farmers"and"interested"parties"in"the"area"can"engage"and"become"involved"
"
To"date"this"model"of"working"with"learning"groups"and"farmer"level"experimentation"has"had"
impressive"results."The"table"below"outlines"the"progress,"using"a"range"of"output"and"impact"
indicators"that"have"been"monitored"for"the"Bergville"area,"between"2013"and"2019."
!"#"$%&'()*(+)$',,-(&%.)#"/"#)01'$"!!)
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(524/534,P<75359.?54512J,MA/5F<257122,21/6531,9/:65;1/2J,'\&2,,
6"
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Table 1: Innovation systems indicators for the Bergville area 2013-2019
CA#innovation#system#indicators#for#smallholder#farmers#in#KZN;#2013#and#2018#
Social#Agency#indicators#
Indicator#
Description/#comments#
Participants#
No"of"CA"experimentation"participants,"from"
farmer"registration"lists"across"all"three"areas"
Learning#groups#
Count"of"no"of"village-based"learning"groups"
Gender#
Percentage"of"women"undertaking"CA"
experimentation."Obtained"from"farmer"
participation"lists"across"all"three"areas""
Local#savings#
and#loan#
associations#
Percentage"of"all"learning"group"members"
involved"in"VSLAs"(Village"savings"and"loan"
associations);"from"savings"groups"registers"and"
learning"group"membership"lists""
Innovation#
platforms#
No"of"platforms"set"up"that"include"farmers"and"
external"stakeholders"
Value#chain#indicators#
Months#of#food#
provisioning#
No"of"participants,"shown"as"a"percentage"who"
can"provide"enough"maizemeal"for"their"family"
for"different"month-based"categories;"from"
annual"review"interviews"for"an"average"of"50"
participants"annually."
1#to#3#
4#to#6#
7#to#9#
10#to#12#
Local#sale#of#
crops#
No"of"participants,"shown"as"a"percentage"who"
sell"maize,"beans,"cowpeas"and"sunflower"
produced,"locally;"from"annual"review"interviews"
for"an"average"of"50"participants"annually."
Saving#for#inputs#
No"of"VSLA"members"who"used"their"savings"and"
small"loans"for"agricultural"inputs,"shown"as"a"
percentage;"from"savings"group"records"for"150"
participants,"averaged"for"a"3-year"period"
Farmer#centres#
No"of"farmer"centres"set"up"for"sharing"CA"
equipment,"providing"advice"and"sale"of"
agricultural"inputs"and"produce"between"2013"
and"2018""
Cooperatives#
No"of"cooperatives"registered"for"CA"
smallholders"between"2013"and"2018"
Co-financing#of#
local#
infrastructure#
No"of"learning"groups"who"took"advantage"of"the"
matching"grant"funding"to"finance"local"mills,"
threshers"and"water"infrastructure"or"
supplementary"irrigation"
" "
7"
"
Productivity#indicators#
Reduced#labour#
in#CA#plots#
No"of"participants,"shown"as"a"percentage"who"
indicated"a"reduction"of"labour"throughout"the"
cropping"season;"from"annual"review"interviews"
for"an"average"of"50"participants"annually,"across"
all"three"areas."
Reduced#
weeding#in#CA#
plots#
No"of"participants,"shown"as"a"percentage"who"
indicated"reduced"weeding"in"CA"plots"compared"
to"conventionally"cropped"plots;"from"annual"
review"interviews"for"an"average"of"50"
participants"annually,"across"all"three"areas."
Use#of#CA#
planters#
"
Hand%hoes%%
No"of"participants,"shown"as"a"percentage"using"
different"CA"planters"introduced"through"the"
programme;"from"planting"and"crop"monitoring"
forms,"completed"for"between"50-200"
participants"annually,"across"all"three"areas"
Hand%planters%%
Animal-drawn%
planters%%
Tractor-drawn%
planters%
Maize#yield#for#
CA#plots#(t/ha)#
Yield"data"measured"and"averaged"for"between"
50"to"200"participants"annually"across"all"three"
areas.""
Crop#rotation#
No"of"participants,"shown"as"a"percentage"who"
practised"intercropping"of"maize"and"beans;"
from"planting"and"crop"monitoring"forms,"
completed"for"between"50-200"participants"
annually,"across"all"three"areas"
Intercropping#-#
maize#and#beans#
No"of"participants,"shown"as"a"percentage"who"
practised"intercropping"of"maize"and"beans;"
from"planting"and"crop"monitoring"forms,"
completed"for"between"50-200"participants"
annually,"across"all"three"areas."
Intercropping#
maize#and#other#
legumes##
No"of"participants,"shown"as"a"percentage"who"
practised"intercropping"of"maize"and"other"
legumes"such"as"cowpeas"and"Dolichos"beans;"
from"planting"and"crop"monitoring"forms,"
completed"for"between"50-200"participants"
annually,"across"all"three"areas."
Winter#cover#
crops#
No"of"participants,"shown"as"a"percentage"who"
undertook"planting"of"a"winter"cover"crop"mixes"
(Saia"oats,"fodder"rye,"fodder"radish,"vetch,"
fodder"peas)"from"planting"and"crop"monitoring"
forms,"completed"for"between"50-200"
participants"annually,"across"all"three"areas."
Cover#crops:#
summer#mix##
No"of"participants,"shown"as"a"percentage"who"
undertook"planting"of"a"summer"cover"crop"
mixes"((sunflower,"millet,"sun"hemp,"sorghum)"
from"planting"and"crop"monitoring"forms,"
8"
"
completed"for"between"50-200"participants"
annually,"across"all"three"areas."
Seed#saving#
No"of"participants,"shown"as"a"percentage"who"
undertook"seed"saving"of"OPV"maize,"legumes"
and"cover"crops;"from"planting"and"crop"
monitoring"forms,"completed"for"between"50-
200"participants"annually,"across"all"three"areas."
Fodder:#
provisioning#for#
livestock:#
through#cut#and#
carry,#hay#
No"of"participants,"shown"as"a"percentage"who"
cut"and"baled"hay"from"their"CA"plots"and"veld"
grass"for"winter"feeding"of"livestock;"from"
planting"and"crop"monitoring"forms,"completed"
for"between"50-200"participants"annually,"across"
all"three"areas."
Reduced#run-off#
in#CA#plots#
No"of"participants,"shown"as"a"percentage"who"
saw"less"run-off"in"their"CA"plots"when"
compared"to"their"control"plots;"from"planting"
and"crop"monitoring"forms,"completed"for"
between"50-200"participants"annually,"across"all"
three"areas."
Increase#in#
percentage#
organic#carbon#
Percentage"organic"carbon"measured"and"
calculated"for"5"participants"from"each"area,"
annually,"after"being"averaged"across"all"CA"plots"
for"each"participant."
Midlands%(2017%to%
2018)%
SKZN%(20162018)%
Bergville%(2015–
2018)%
"
"
In"addition,"this"learning"approach"has"ensured"that"farmers"have"adopted"CA"as"their"farming"
approach"in"all"their"fields,"not"just"the"farmer"level"trials.""A"survey"of"those"farmers"in"Bergville"
involved"now"for"5"to"7"years"has"shown"that"100%"of"them"have"fully"converted"to"CA."""
Summary(of(the(project(
Description+and+selection+of+study+areas+
Work"in"the"Bergville"(KwaZulu-Natal)"site"continued"with"the"existing"19"village"learning"groups,"
The"number"of"farmer"participants"in"farmer"level"trials"for"2019-2020"is"225"compared"to"205"
in"2018-2019."The"overall"area"planted"to"trials"is"13,92ha."""
Approach(and(Methodology(
In"this"season"(2019-2020)"we"have"continued"to"focus"on"the"following"elements"of"the"model,"
namely:""
9"
"
a)"Support"farmers"who"are"in"their"1stto"7th"""seasons,"
b)"Conscious"inclusion"of"crop"rotation"to"compare"with"inter"cropping"trials"
c)"Inclusion"of"summer"cover"crops"in"the"crop"rotation"trials"
d)"Continuation"with"experimentation"with"winter"cover"crops,"but"planted"in"separate"
plots"rather"than"in-between"maize"
e)"Inclusion"of"ultra"and"medium"early"maize"varieties"to"accommodate"for"late"planting"
f)"More"focussed"introduction"of"fodder"crop"species"and"winter"fodder"supplementation"
in"selected"villages"and"
g)"Initiation"of"nodes"for"farmer"centres"that"can"offer"tools,"input"packs"and"advice.""
Key(activities:(October(2019-September(2020(
Two"hundred"and"twenty-five"(225)"participants"have"planted"their"farmer"level"trials"across"17"
villages,"with"substantial"support"for"inputs"from"the"KZN"LandCare"unit."Summer"cover"crop"and"
livestock"fodder"farmer"level"experimentation"have"been"included"for"a"selection"of"the"villages."
In"addition,"ultra"-early"and"medium"early"maize"varieties"have"been"included"in"the"experimental"
protocols"as"an"adaptive"strategy"to"deal"with"the"late"onset"of"rains."Local"facilitators"(8)"are"
taking"on"much"more"responsibility"and"this"bodes"well"for"sustainability"of"this"process."
Yield"measurements"for"CA"trial"and"control"plots"were"undertaken"for"77"participants"from"10"
villages."Average"CA"maize"yields"were"3,6t/ha"for"CA"trial"plots"and"2,8t/ha"for"CA"control"plots"
(maize"only)."Participants"who"have"been"implementing"CA"for"6-7"years"have"achieved"much"
higher"average"maize"yields"(4,5t/ha-5,6t/ha)"than"those"who"have"only"been"implementing"for"
2-3"years"(1,8-3,2t/ha)."Bean"yields"average"1t/ha.""
62"Participants"undertook"experimentation"with"cover"crops"(SCC"plus"turnips)"across"9"villages."
Although"growth"was"reasonable"for"most"of"these"participants,"as"monitored"mid-season,"grain"
yields"for"cover"crops"could"not"be"obtained,"due"to"substantial"rainfall"late"in"the"season,"which"
led"to"high"weed"loads"as"well"as"predation"by"birds."
Crop-livestock"integration"has"been"tackled"through"perennial"strip"cropping"trials,"as"well"as"
summer" cover" crop" options" and" winter" fodder" supplementation"and" making" of" hay"was"
undertaken"in"three"villages"with"11"participants."
Rainfall"and"runoff"records"have"been"kept"for"the"2019/20"season,"as"in"previous"seasons."The"
general"trend"of"reduced"runoff"under"CA"cropping"systems"has"again"been"indicated."
In"addition,"bulk"density"and"water"productivity"calculations"were"made"for"a"selected"number"of"
participants." Average" soil" bulk" density" has" remained" similar" for" the" 2018-19" and" 2019-20"
cropping"season"for"6th"and"7th"year"CA"participants."Water"productivity"has"been"shown"to"be"
much" improved" under" a" CA" system" when" compared" to" conventional" cropping" and" further"
improved"in"a"multi"crop"rotation"under"CA"that"includes"intercropping"with"legumes."
Soil"health"samples"have"been"taken"for"12"participants"across"five"villages,"along"with"soil"fertility"
repeat"samples"for"20"participants"and"new"soil"samples"for"6"participants,"to"build"a"body"of"
information" about" the" soil" fertility" and" soil" health" status" of" the" CA" trial" participants." Carbon"
accumulation"for"the"CA"system"as"a"whole"(experimentation"plots"and"control"plots)"is"between"
0,2"and"0,5tC/ha/"annum"
10"
"
The"elven"(13)"VSLA’s"(Village"savings"and"Loan"Associations)"have"continued"and"members"from"
4"of"these"groups"have"received"small"business"development"training."
The"relationships"with"KZNDARD"and"LandCare"have"been"strengthened,"although"many"of"the"
gains" have" now" been" forfeit" due" to" austerity" budget" instituted" post" the" COVID-19" lockdown.""
Stakeholder"engagement"has"been"hampered"since"March"2020."Two"presentations"have"however"
been"given"in"a"webinar"entitled"“Heal"the"land,"heal"the"people”"in"early"June"2020,"hosted"by"the"
Integra"Trust."
The" book" chapter" for" CABI" entitled" ‘CA" innovation" systems" build" climate" resilience" for"
smallholder"farmers"in"South"Africa’,"has"been"finalised"and"edited"for"publication."
Budget+
To"date"(end"July"2020),"R595"576,00"of"the"allocated"budget"of"R670"228,00"has"been"spent."
Expenditure"is"on"track"and"the"project"will"be"completed"within"the"provided"budget.""
Progress+
The"project"is"now"operational"across"17"villages"in"the"Bergville"area,"with"a"total"of"225"farmer-
level"trials."""
The"basic"experimental"design"was"followed"for"all"1st"year"participants"and"most"of"the"2nd"year"
participants" as" well." Variations" for" 3rd"to" 7th"year" participants" have" included" crop" rotation,"
intercropping,"summer"and"winter"cover"crop"mixes,"planting"of"lab-lab"beans,"fodder"crops,"early"
maturing"maize"varieties"and"late"season"planting"of"beans."
The" table" below" outlines" activities" related" to" objectives" and" key" indicators" for" the" period" of"
October"2019"to"September"2020.""""""""""
!Table 2:!SUMMARY!OF!PROGRESS!(OCTOBER!2019!!SEPTEMBER!2020)!RELATED!TO!OBJECTIVES!AND!KEY!ACTIVITIES+
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A"performance"dashboard"is"indicated"below."This"provides"a"snapshot"of"performance"according"
to"suggested"numbers"and"outputs"in"the"proposal."
Table 3:!PERFORMANCE!DASHBOARD;!FEBRUARY!2020+
Outputs!
Proposed!(March!2019)!
Actual!(August!2020)!
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Although"the"number"of"beneficiaries"through"this"process"was"meant"to"be"reduced"in"this"season"
to" around" 120" farmer" level" experimentation" trials," the" assistance" of" LandCare" meant" an"
expansion"from"last"year"from"205-225"participants."There"is"a"steady"increase"of"the"number"of"
farmers"who"are"including"cover"crops"in"their"experimental"protocols"and"a"significant"interest"
13"
"
in" diversification"of" cropping" into" the" production" of" fodder" species" for" livestock" (cattle" and"
poultry)"
Results(achieved(to(date(
The"table"below"outlines"the"villages,"numbers"of"participants"and"experimentation"processes"for"
the"present"learning"groups"in"the"Bergville"area."
Table 4:!ACTIVITIES!AND!NUMBERS!OF!FARMERS!INVOLVED,!PER!VILLAGE!FOR!OCTOBER!2019-SEPTEMBER!2020.+
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CA+practice+
Going"into"the"3rd""and"subsequent"years,"the"farmer"experimentation"protocols"for"each"level"of"
farmer"participants"has"been"more"clearly"defined,"given"that"those"farmers"with"more"experience"
can"now"incorporate"some"of"their"own"learnings"and"preferences"in"the"trials,"but"the"1st"level"
trial" participants" still" need" to" get" used" to" the" overall" CA" planting" process" and" thus" the" close"
spacing"intercropping"trial"plots"are"‘prescribed’"for"them."
The"protocols"are"outlined"below:"
Year%1(1st%level)%trial%outlines%
Experimental"design"is"pre-defined"by"the"research"team"(based"on"previous"implementation"in"
the" area" in" an" action" research" process" with" smallholders)." It" includes" a" number" of" different"
aspects:"
Intercropping"of"maize,"beans"and"cowpeas"
Introduction"of"OPV"and"hybrid"varieties"for"comparison"(1"variety"of"maize"and"beans"
respectively)"
Close"spacing"(based"on"Argentinean"model)"
Mixture"of"basin"and"row"planting"models""
Use"of"no"till"planters"(hand"held"and"animal"drawn)"
Use" of" micro-dosing" of" fertilizers" based" on" a" generic" recommendation" from" local" soil"
samples""
Herbicides"sprayed"before"and/or"at"planting"
Decis"Forte"or"Kemprin"used"at"planting"and"top"dressing"stage"for"cutworm"and"stalk"
borer"
Planting"of"cover"crops;"winter"mix"in"Autumn"
Experimental"design"includes"2"treatments;"planter"type"(2)"and"intercrop"(2)"
Year%2%(2nd%level)%trial%outlines%
Based"on"evaluation"of"experiment"progress"for"year"1,""this"includes"the"addition"of"options"that"
farmers"choose"from."Farmers"also"take"on"spraying"and"plot"layout"themselves:"
A"number"of"different"OPV"and"hybrid"varieties"for"maize"
A"number"of"different"options"for"legumes"(including"summer"cover"crops)"
Planting"method"of"choice"
Comparison"of"single"crop"and"inter"cropping"planting"methods"
Use"of"specific"soil"sample"results"for"fertilizer"recommendations"
Early"planting"and"
Own"choices."
"
Year%3%-7(3rd%level)%trial%outlines%
Based"on"evaluation"of"the"experimentation"process"to"date"this"protocol"includes"issues"of"cost"
benefit" analysis," bulk" buying" for" input" supply," joint" actions" around" storage," processing" and"
marketing."Farmers"design"their"experiments"for"themselves"to"include"some"of"the"following"
potential"focus"areas:"
Early"planting;"with"options"to"deal"with"more"weeds"and"increased"stalk"borer"pressure."
Herbicide"mix"to"be"used"pre"and"at"planting"(Round"up,"Dual"Gold",Gramoxone)"
15"
"
A"pest"control"programme"to"include"dealing"with"CMR"beetles""
Intercropping"vs"crop"rotation"options"
Spacing"in"single"block"plantings"
Use" of" composted" manure" for" mulching" and" soil" improvement" in" combination" with"
fertilizer,"or"singly."
Planting"of"dolichos"and"other"climbing"beans"
Summer" and" winter" cover" crops;" crop" mixes," planting" dates," management" systems,"
planting"methods"(furrows"vs"scatter)"
Seed"varieties;"conscious"decisions"around"POVs,"hybrids"and"GM"seeds""
Experimentation"with"annual"and"perennial"fodder"specie"
Inclusion"of"early"maturing"maize"hybrids"
Cost"benefit"analysis"of"chosen"options"and"
Farmer"level"monitoring"of"trials"for"selected"individuals."
Rainfall(and(runoff(
In"general,"the"average"annual"rainfall"for"the"Drakensberg"region"ranges"between"750"mm-1350"
mm."The"actual"amount"of"rainfall"has"not"been"seen"to"vary"much"over"time"(besides"a"potential"
20"year"periodicity),"even"for"long"term"studies"over"50-years,"but"the"monthly"variability"has"
been"increasing"reasonably"dramatically""(Nel,"2009)."
Rainfall"variability"relates"to"the"amount"of"annual"rainfall"as"well"as"its"seasonal"distribution."
This" periodicity" affects" the" growth" of" crops" and" the" potential" surface" run-off," as" well" as" sub-
surface"and"basal"flows"in"a"catchment.""
To"illustrate"this,"the"following"two"figures"indicate"the"monthly"rainfall"averages"in"the"2016/17"
and"2019/20"seasons,"which"clearly"indicates"a"shift"to"later"onset"of"summer"rains"and"increased"
late"season"rainfall"between"these"two"seasons"in"the"Ezibomvini"study"area,"Bergville"district."
"
Figure'1:'Monthly'rainfall'averages'(mm)'for'Ezibomvini;'2016/17'
"
Figure'2:'Monthly'rainfall'averages'(mm)'for'Ezibomvini'2019/20'
Septembe
rOctober November December January February March April May
Monthly Rainfall2,640,3 118,4 98,710297,544518
0
50
100
150
Rainfall (mm)
Monthly Rainfall in Ezibomvini 2016-2017
October November December January February March April May
Rainfall mm4,375,4 152,2160,8304,3 87,6 134,10,0
0,0
200,0
400,0
Rainfall(mm)
Monthyl Rainfall in Ezibomvini 2019-2020
16"
"
These"seasonal"rainfall"differences"have"implications"both"for"runoff"and"crop"performance."Late"
onset"and"erratic"rainfall"still"plagued"the"participants"this"season."This"is"the"fourth"consecutive"
season" that" rainfall" has" not" been" ideal" for" dryland" cropping." Planting" was" done" from" late"
November" through" to" mid" to" late" December," with" further" fodder" and" early" maturing" maize"
plantings"done"in"mid"to"late"January"2020."
Rain"gauges"for"this"season"have"been"installed"in"five"villages;"the"two"gauges"in"Mhlwazini"and"
Thamela"were"moved"to"Emabunzini"and"Vumbukhalo,"to"two"participants"who"were"considered"
more"likely"to"take"regular"and"more"accurate"records."Participants"take"records"for"both"rainfall"
and"runoff"for"the"cropping"season,"usually"October"to"April."The"period"however"depends"on"the"
start"and"end"of"the"rainy"season."
Table"5" below"indicates"the" number" of" rainfall" events" recorded" for" each" participant," with" the"
number"of"run-off"events"recorded"in"brackets"alongside."The"number"of"rainfall"events"recorded"
need"to"coincide"closely"with"the"number"of"run-off"measurements"taken."It"is"not"expected"that"
the" number" of" rainfall" events" recorded" should" be" the" same" across" the" villages," as" it" is" quite"
common"in"this"mountainous"region"that"rain"can"fall"in"one"village,"but"not"another,"due"to"the"
increasingly"localised"pattern"of"rainfall"events."
Table'5:'Outline'of'rainfall'data'recorded'across'four'village'rain'gauges'in'Bergville'(2019/20)'
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Record"keeping"in"Stulwane,"Ezibomvini"and"Ndunwane"are"considered"reliable."In"Eqeleni,"in"
addition"to"the"mismatch"between"the"number"of"rainfall"events"and"run-off"measurements"taken,"
all"the"run-off"measurements"were"recorded"as"0,5L"or"1L,"indicating"to"the"team"that"these"were"
mostly" fabricated." In" this" case," Mrs" Zikode" tasked" her" matriculating" daughter" with" the" record"
keeping," given" that" she" is" not" herself" literate." The" Eqeleni" runoff" results" will" thus" not" be"
considered."Rainfall"records"for"both"the"two"new"villages,"Emabunzini"and"Vimbukhalo,"were"not"
well"kept."
Table 6: Average monthly rainfall across 5 villages, compared to weather station data; October2019-April 2020
Monthly rainfall averages (mm/month) for rain gauges in Bergville; 2019-2020
Villages
Stulwane
Ezibomvini
Ndunwane
Eqeleni
Emabunzini
Weather station (Didima)
Month
Rain (mm/
month)
ETc
(mm/month)
Oct-19
60
4,3
131,03
Nov-19
108,3
75,4
172,57
Dec-19
135
152,2
143,47
Jan-20
40,5
540
267
400
160,8
99,11
Feb-20
160
145
225
11
304,3
86,06
Mar-20
92
101,5
59
47,3
66,7
87,6
49,17
17"
"
Apr-20
101,5
32,5
90
82,2
34,5
134,1
17,68
Totalsfor
2019/20
394,0
1122,3
641,0
540,5
101,2
919
699
Totals for
2018/19
595
699
937
1029
728
868
Runoff+
Runoff"(stormflow"or"surface"runoff"of"rain"water)"is"generated"by"rainstorms"and"its"occurrence"
and"quantity"are"dependent"on"the"characteristics"of"the"rainfall"event,"i.e."intensity,"duration"and"
distribution"(Schulze,"2011)."There"are,"in"addition,"other"important"factors"which"influence"the"
runoff" generating" process." These" factors" include" the" infiltration" capacity" of" the" soil," the" soil"
moisture"content"when"the"rainfall"event"occurred,"the"soil"type,"presence"of"capping/crusting"
and"slope."
In"addition,"the"presence"of"above"ground"vegetation"intercepts"some"of"the"rainfall"and"reduces"
raindrop" impact" and" thus" crusting" of" the" soil." Vegetation" also" has" a" significant" effect" on" the"
infiltration"capacity"of"the"soil."The"root"system"as"well"as"organic"matter"in"the"soil"increase"the"
soil" porosity" thus" allowing" more" water" to" infiltrate." Vegetation" also" retards" the" surface" flow"
particularly" on" gentle" slopes," giving" the" water" more" time" to" infiltrate" and" to" evaporate." Thus,"
vegetation"reduces"runoff"substantially,"compared"to"bare"ground"(Critchley"&"Siegert,"1991)."
For"the"purposes"of"comparing"the"effect"of"Conservation"Agriculture"on"runoff"in"the"context"of"
an"agricultural"cropping"field,"only"surface"runoff"has"been"considered."
Runoff"plots"are"used"to"measure"surface"runoff"as"well"as"erosion"through"removal"of"sediment"
under"controlled"conditions."In"this"instance"runoff"microplots,"as"designed"previously"by"UKZN"
researchers"(Mutema,"et"al.,"2017),"have"been"used."
Runoff"microplots"consist"of"galvanised"metal"sheeting"frames"1mx1m,"inserted"10"cm"into"the"
ground"and"leaving"another"10"cm"above"ground"to"eliminate"run-on"water"during"rain"events."A"
spirt"level"was"used"to"keep"the"runoff"plots"levelled"and"the"slope"has"been"considered"(runoff"
plots"were"not"installed"on"slopes"higher"that"7"%)"when"installing"the"runoff"plots."Surface"water"
and"sediment"generated"are"collected"into"a"protected"gutter"through"openings"in"a"downslope"
side"metal"sheet."The"gutter"is"fitted"with"a"delivery"pipe"connected"to"a"reservoir"(in"our"case,"a"
25"L"bucket,"with"a"lid)"about"1.5"m"downslope."After"each"rainfall"event,"the"total"runoff"volume"
(ml)" from" each" micro-plot" replicate" was" measured" with" a" measuring" cylinder" (Dlamini," et" al.,"
2011)."Sediment"was"noted"on"occasion,"but"not"recorded.""
The"aims"of"the"experiments"are:"
1.To"ascertain"differences"in"runoff"when"comparing"minimal"tillage"to"conventional"tillage"
and"
2.To" ascertain" differences" in" runoff" between" different" cropping" options" between" the" CA"
trial"plots."
18"
"
"
METHOD:"
Runoff"pans"/"microplots"were"installed"for"four"participants"across"four"villages"in"the"Bergville"
area," for" the" 2019-2020" planting" season;" Nelisiwe" Msele" (Stulwane)," Phumelele" Hlongwane"
(Ezibomvini),"Boniwe"Hltashwayo"(Ndunwane)"and"Ntombakhe"Ziode"(Eqeleni)"
The"microplots"were"installed"in"four"of"the"ten"CA"trial"plots"in"Stulwane,"Ezibomvini"and"Eqeleni"
and"in"one"of"the"four"CA"trial"plots"in"Ndunwane."Runoff"values"for"the"4"subplots"in"the"CA"trials"
we"combined"to"provide"the"CA"trial"runoff"values."One"runoff"pan"was"installed"in"each"control"
plot"respectively.""
Table'7:'Percentage'rainfall'converted'to'runoff'for'three'villages'in'Bergville'(2019/20)'
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*Note!1:!The!control!plot!for!Boniwe!Hltashwayo!in!Ndunwane!was!also!a!minimum!tillage!plot!(0%-15%!soil!disturbance),!
planted!to!single-cropped!maize!with!different!spacing!and!fertilizer!application!regimes!to!her!CA!trial!plot.!
Note!2:!Conventional!control!plots!in!Stulwane!and!Ezibomvini!consisted!of!tilled!plots!(>30%!soil!disturbance),!planted!to!
single-cropped!maize!with!different!spacing!and!fertilizer!application!regimes!to!her!CA!trial!plot.!
Note!3:!Weather!station!data!from!the!Ezibomvini!weather!station!was!lost!and!replaced!by!data!from!a!SAEON!weather!
station!at!Didima!(~12km!away)!
A'runoff'microplot'installed'in'a'
CA'trial'plot'with'maize'and'
beans'
Instilling'a'runoff'microplot'
installed'in'a'conventionally'
tilled'plot'with'maize''
In'season'maintenance'of'collection'
buckets'
19"
"
The" rainfall" results" as"recorded" for" the" rain" gauge" at"
Ndunwane," most" closely" resemble" the" data" obtained" from"
SAEON"for"a"weather"station"at"Didima"(KZN"Parks);"641"mm"
and" 687" mm" respectively." This" makes" sense," as" the"
community"is"very"close"to"the"edge"of"the"national"park"and"
at"a"similar"elevation.""We"suspect"the"rainfall"data"in"Stulwane"
to"be"an"under-estimate"and"that"for"Ezibomvini"to"be"an"over-
estimate."The"averaged"data"across"the"three"sites"however,"
closely" resemble" the" rainfall" data" from" the" weather" station"
used."
From"the"table"above"it"can"be"seen"that"the"percentage"run-
off" in" the" conventional" control" plots" in" Stulwane" and"
Ezibomvini"are"1,46%"and"5,26%"higher"than"for"the"average"
CA"trial"plots"in"these"villages."In"Ndunwane,"runoff"in"both"the"
CA"trial"and"control"plots"was"negligible.""
Rainfall" and" run-off" measurements" were" initiated" in" 2016/17" in" Phumelele" Hlongwane’s"
(Ezibomvini)"CA"experimentation"plots.""The"table"below"gives"a"summary"of"her"runoff"results"
for"the"last"four"cropping"seasons."She"has"practised"CA"for"6"consecutive"seasons."
Table'8:'Comparison'of'percentage'rainfall'converted'to'runoff'for'Ezibomvini'2016/17'to'2019/20'
"
From"this"table,"it"can"be"seen"that"the"%"rainfall"converted"into"runoff"depends"on"the"season,"
and"is"not"directly"related"to"the"overall"amount"of"rain."The"runoff"is"much"more"closely"related"
to"intensity"of"individual"rainfall"events"and"the"number"of"such"events"in"a"rainy"season"as"well"
as"the"soil"moisture"at"the"time"of"the"rain,"as"well"as"bulk"density"of"the"soil,"compaction"and"soil"
cover."The"percentage"conversion"of"rainfall"into"runoff"is"consistently"lower,"by"an"average"9,5%"
in"the"CA"trial"plots"when"compared"to"a"conventionally"tilled"plot."These"results"are"similar"to"a"
study"conducted"in"Potshini"village""in"Bergville"(Mchunu"&"Chaplot,"2012)"which"has"shown"that"
minimal"tillage,"even""with"<10%"crop"residue"cover,"has"the"potential"to"significantly"reduce"soil"
and"soil"organic"carbon"losses"by"water"under"small-scale"agriculture.""
Stulwane#
The" layout" of" the" CA" experiment/" trial" is" a" combination" of" 10" single," inter-cropped" or" multi-
cropped"plots,"which"are"rotated"on"an"annual"basis"(see"Table"9"below).""
'
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"
Table'9:'Runoff'measured'in'different'plot'within'Neiliswe'Msele’s'experiment;'Stulwane'(2019/20)'
!6=E\<F4T)(4E797\4),94E4)VJKLM^JKJKX)
Rainfall%
"<7:@@,
0E@6)L)V#X)
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$@F6?@EV#X)
(mm)%
2018/19%
M+CP%
M%
B%
SCC%
M%
%
2019/20%
LAB%LAB%
B%
M%
M%
M%
%
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394%
Note:'M+CP'='maize'and'cowpea'intercrop;'M=maize'single'crop,'B='bean'single'crop;'SCC='summer'
cover'crop'mix'of'sunflower,'millet'and'Sun'hemp;'LAB'LAB='Dolichos'beans'
Data"indicates"increased"runoff"with"increased"monthly"rainfall,"which"is"to"be"expected."It"also"
indicates"quite"large"variations"in"runoff"between"the"CA"trial"plots"monitored,"even"though"the"
average"runoff"across"these"plots"is"lower"than"the"runoff"on"the"conventionally"tilled"control"plot."
The"highest"recorded"runoff"amounts"are"for"February"and"April,"with"highest"monthly"rainfall"
for"the"single"cropped"legume"(LAB"LAB"and"B)"plots"and"the"maize"control"plot."Legumes"have"
not"provided"good"soil"cover"and"neither"has"the"maize"in"the"control"plot,"planted"to"a"wider"
spacing"than"the"CA"plots."
The"lowest"recorded"runoff"amounts"are"for"early"season"rain"in"January"for"the"single"cropped"
CA"trial"plots"(B"and"M),"that"follow"on"a"rotation"of"a"single"crop"(M"and"B"respectively)."It"appears"
that" the" prior" multi-crop" rotations" (M+CP" and" SCC)"led" to" increased" runoff" early" in" the" rainy"
season"for"these"CA"plots."
Ezibomvini#
The" layout" of" the" CA" experiment/" trial" is" a" combination" of" 10" single," inter-cropped" or" multi-
cropped"plots,"which"are"rotated"on"an"annual"basis."
"
Table'10:'Runoff'measured'in'different'plot'within'Phumelele'Hlongwane’s'experiment;'Ezibomvini'
(2019/20)'
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Note:!M+CP!=!maize!and!cowpea!intercrop;!M=maize!single!crop,!B=!bean!single!crop;!SCC=!summer!cover!crop!mix!of!
sunflower,!millet!and!Sun!hemp;!LAB!LAB=!Dolichos!beans!
21"
"
Data" indicates" the" highest" runoff" amounts" in" January," which" was" the" month" with" the" highest"
rainfall,"for"all"the"plots"(both"CA"and"control),"which"is"expected"and"in"March,"again"for"all"the"
plots" (both" CA" and" control)," which" is" not" expected." Very" low" runoff" amounts" in" February,"
coincides"with"a"relatively"high"monthly"rainfall"for"the"CA"plots."This"could"indicate"increased"
soil"permeability"due"to"some"moisture"in"the"soil"already"present,"which"temporarily"increases"
infiltration"until"field"capacity"is"reached,"which"could"also"explain"the"increased"runoff"in"the"
following"month.""
Generally,"the"overall"runoff"for"all"the"CA"plot"are"similar,"but"they"are"lowest"for"the"M+CP"and"
SCC"plots"and"highest"for"the"two"M+B"plots,"which"can"be"explained"through"the"increased"cover"
provide"by"the"higher"biomass"mixed"crop"plot"when"compared"to"that"which"beans"provide.""
"Overall"runoff"on"the"conventionally"tilled"plot"is"higher"than"all"the"CA"plots."It"is"also"higher"
towards"the"end"of"the"rainy"season;"an"effect"that"has"been"well"recorded"in"the"past"("(Mchunu"
&"Chaplot,"2012)."Early"in"the"season,"more"water"can"infiltrate"into"the"disturbed"soil,"but"later,"
as"the"soil"settles"and"compacts,"more"runoff"is"generated."
Ndunwane#
The"layout"of"the"CA"experiment/"trial"is"a"combination"of"4"single"or"inter-cropped"plots,"which"
are"rotated"on"an"annual"basis."
"
Table' 11:' Runoff' measured' in' different' plot' within' Boniwe' Hlatshwayo’s' experiment;' Ndunwane'
(2019/20)'
(G=\<F4T)H@F7\4)bE<96S\<;@)VJKLM^JKJKX)
1<7FA<EE)
,
$*)BE@6)V#X)
5@F6?@E)V#X)
>>)
2018/19%
M%
M%
,
2019/20%
M+B%
M%
,
^.7$KN,
NJfOO,
NJRBS,
Kad,
-1F$KN,
NJdfK,
NJdBO,
KK`,
P./$KN,
NJB`S,
NJBOK,
`R,
M9/$KN,
NJKOS,
NJKa`,
RN,
%@6<E9)
JRKKQ)
JRKJ`)
_`L)
Note:'M+CP'='maize'and'cowpea'intercrop;'M=maize'single'crop,'B='bean'single'crop;'SCC='summer'
cover'crop'mix'of'sunflower,'millet'and'Sun'hemp;'LAB'LAB='Dolichos'beans'
Data"indicates"extremely"low"runoff"amounts"for"both"the"CA"and"control"plots"throughout"the"
season." Higher" runoff" coincides" with" higher" monthly" rainfall" averages." Overall," the" runoff" is"
negligible,"indicating"very"well"-structured"soils"with"high"organic"matter."This,"in"some"ways,"
represents"the"ideal"situation"possible"for"these"Bergville"villages.""
Conclusions#
Conservation" Agriculture" reduces" annual" runoff" when" compared" to" conventional" tillage." Soil"
cover"provided"by"a"mixture"of"growing"crops,"closely"spaced,"also"reduces"runoff."Single"cropped"
beans"increase"runoff"due"to"lack"of"soil"cover"and"low"rooting"capacity,"which"also"reduces"the"
infiltration"capacity"during"the"season.""
"
22"
"
Bulk(density(
The"soil"bulk"density"(BD),"also"known"as"dry"bulk"density,"is"the"weight"of"dry"soil"(mass"of"solids)"
divided"by"the"total"soil"volume"(Vsoil)."The"total"soil"volume"is"the"combined"volume"of"solids"
and"pores"which"may"contain"air"(Vair)"or"water"(Vwater),"or"both."
Samples"were"collected"from"the"top"5cm"of"soil"using"sampling"rings"(7,2cm"diameter)"using"the"
following"procedure:"
ØThe"ring"was"pushed"(buried)"into"the"ground"using"a"piece"of"wood"and"a"hammer"(the"
piece"of"wood"was"used"to"protect"the"ring)"
ØA"spade"was"used"to"dig"the"ring"out"of"the"soil""
ØExcess"soil"sticking"out"of"the"ring"was"cut"using"a"knife"to"ensure"the"soil"fit"perfectly"into"
the"ring"(making"sure"the"volume"is"the"same"for"all"samples)."
ØThe"soil"samples"(in"the"ring)"were"wrapped"with"aluminium"foil"and"transported"to"the"
lab"for"analysis"
ØAt"the"lab"samples"were"unwrapped,"placed"in"aluminium"dishes,"weighed"and"assigned"
codes"and"put"in"an"oven"(at"100°C)"for"48"hours"to"dry"
ØAfter"48"hours,"samples"were"weighed,"and"the"masses"were"recorded"for"calculation"of"
dry"mass."
"
"
Figure 3: Above Left to Right: Sampling procedure for bulk density.
The"equation"used"to"calculate"the"total"soil"volume"is"as"shown"below."
!"#$%&'!"#$%&' ()*'+ ,
" "
Where,"π"is"Pi"and"r"is"radius"for"the"ring"and"d"is"depth"of"the"ring"and"the"volume"was"calculated"
in"cm3"while"the"mass"of"the"sample"was"measured"in"grams"(g)"
Average" dry" mass" for" all" samples" collected" in" the" same" plot" was" used" in" calculation" the" bulk"
density"and"the"same"volume"(based"on"the"dimensions"of"the"ring)"was"used.""Equation"2"was"
used"to"calculate"the"BD"
-$#.',&/0123'
4
-5
6
(7800'"9'0"1#'
4
:
6
!"#$%&'"9'0"1#'
4
;%(
6"
Below"is"a"summary"of"the"results"of"bulk"density"calculations"for"different"cropping"practices"
within"the"CA"system"for"three"participants"in"Bergville."They"were"chosen"for"having"differing"
23"
"
periods"of"cropping"under"CA"and"for"inclusion"of"a"number"of"practices"within"their"CA"system;"
namely"intercropping"and"planting"of"summer"cover"crops"(SCC).""
Table 12: Bulk density (pb) results for three CA participants(2019)
Village'
Period' under'
CA'(yrs)'
Name' and'
Surname'
Control'CT'
Control'CA'
M'
M+B'
M+CP'
SCC'
Average'
!"#$%&'#(#)
*)
+,-&././.)0/%(123(.)
4567)
4568)
4569)
4566)
4569)
45:9)
1,34'
!;./.(#)
8)
<=%&$3>,.)?#>%@.)
)
456*)
)
45AB)
456C)
456:)
1,38'
D,3&./3)
:)
E>,-/#F.(#)?23(.)
)
)
454A)
4579)
457B)
457C)
1,10'
Average'bulk'density'
)
)
)
)
)
)
1,27'
"
Table 13: Bulk density (pb) results for twoCA participants(2020)
Village'
Period' under'
CA'(yrs)'
Name' and'
Surname'
Control'CA'
M'
SCC'
Average'
!"#$%&'#(#)
8)
+,-&././.)0/%(123(.)
4569)
45A6)
45:C)
1,36'
G=-/23(.)
C)
H/."3>,.)0/%(123(.)
45A6)
456C)
4567)
1,37'
Average'bulk'density'
)
)
)
1,36'
"
These#results#indicate#an#increase#in#ρb#over#the#period#of#involvement#in#CA.##This"trend"is"
expected."There"is"little"to"no"difference"between"the"CA"practices,"although"both"for"2019"and"
2020"the"planting"of"SCC"has"reduced"the"ρb"to"some"extent."These#results#also#indicate#that#
multi-cropping#options,#such#as#a#3-5#crop#summer#cover#crop#mix,#reduces#bulk#density#
of#soil,#which#provides#a#significant#advantage#for#the#crops#following#this#rotation.#
An"explanation"for"this"trend"is"that"ploughing"increases"the"presence"of"macro-pores"in"the"short"
term"but,"less"structural"stability"under"CT"can"lead"to"lower"porosity,"higher"bulk"densities"and"
greater" soil" strength" with" time," as" tillage-induced" pores" readily" collapse." Although" initial"
conversion"from"CT"to"CA"usually"results"in"higher"bulk"densities"it"is"unlikely"that"plant"growth"
will"suffer"markedly"as"a"consequence"of"insufficient"moisture"and"poor"aeration"status."Improved"
aggregation" and" pore" connectivity" under" CA" allow" the" soil" to" maintain" an" adequate" supply" of"
moisture"and"air""(Cavalieri,"et"al.,"2009)""
An"average"ρb"of"1,3g/cm3"is"to"be"used"for"the"water"productivity"calculations"
Water(productivity(
Crop"water"productivity"(CWP)"or"water"use"efficiency"(WUE)"relates"to"the"amount"of"yield"per"
unit"of"water"used."It"is"an"important"measure"of"the"impact"of"different"practices"on"productivity"
in"rain"fed"agricultural"systems."Methods"for"improving"CWP"at"field"level"include"crop"selection,"
planting" methods," minimum" tillage," nutrient" management" and" improved" drainage" where"
24"
"
appropriate."Average"WP"for"maize"is"1,2"to"2,3"kg/m3'(FAO,'2003)."In"this"research"process"WP"has"
been"compared"for"different"crops"and"crop"combinations"under"CA."
The"main"variables"used"in"calculating"water"productivity"(WP)"are"yields"and"volume"of"water"
used"to"produce"that"particular"yield."There"are"standard"methods"used"in"working"out"the"yield"
(e.g."putting"the"harvested"grain"or"biomass"on"a"scale"and"weighing"it,"weighing"a"sample"of"cobs"
for"maize"and"estimating"yield"using"the"plant"population)."The"challenge"is"in"determining"the"
volume" of" water" used" to" produce" the" yield." There" are" a" couple" of" methods" (simple" and" more"
complicated)"used"in"determining"the"volume"of"water"used."
In" determining" the" water" productivity," parameters" (temperature," relative" humanity," solar"
radiation,"wind"speed,"wind"direction"to"calculated"ET0)"are"required"and"these"parameters"are"
gathered"from"automatic"weather"stations."This"information"can"be"used"to"benchmark"simpler"
methods"used"in"the"field,"that"farmers"can"be"involved"in."These"ET0"values"are"then"multiplied"
by"the"crop"coefficient"to"find"the"actual"evapotranspiration"(Etc),"which"is"the"volume"of"water"
used"to"produce"the"yield."
To"calculate"the"ET0,"the"equation"below"is"used."The"weather"station"calculates"the"reference"
evaporation"ET0"using"the"Penman"Monteith"equation"shown"below""
!"
!=!"#!$%
&
'!()
*
+, "##
$%&'(-&&.)(.**
%+,&/+!"0#-&*
""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""(1)"
Where,""
!D0)I.J.I.(K.).'3L%=I3(FL#I3=#%()M&&N@3OP5)
Qn)(.=)I3@#3=#%()3=)=,.)KI%L)F-IJ3K.)MER)&-2)@3O-1P5)
S)F%#/),.3=)J/-T)@.(F#=O)MER)&-2)@3O-1P5)
D)3#I)=.&L.I3=-I.)3=):)&),.#1,=)MUVP5)
-2)2#(@)FL..@)3=):)&),.#1,=)M&)F-1P5)
.s)F3=-I3=#%()'3L%-I)LI.FF-I.)M>+3P5)
H)F/%L.)'3L%-I)LI.FF-I.)K-I'.)M>+3)UV-1P5)
1)LFOK,I%&.=I#K)K%(F=3(=)M>+3)UV-1P5)
"
Water" productivity" was" calculated" for" two" participants" in" Bergville" (2018)," Phumelele"
Hlongwane" (Ezibomvini)" and" Ntombakhe" Zikode" (Eqeleni)." Both" participants" had" been"
implementing"CA"for"a"period"of"5"years."Water"productivity"for"different"CA"cropping"options"
was"calculated"for"both"participants;"in"this"case"using"the"grain"weight"only."
The" options" were" a" M-CA" control" (consecutively" mono-cropped" maize);" M-CA" trial" (single"
cropped" maize" in" a" rotation" system);" M+C-CA" trial" (maize" and" cowpea" intercropped" plot" in" a"
rotation"system)"and"CA-M+B"trail"(maize"and"bean"intercropped"plot"in"a"rotation"system)."The"
aim"was"to"ascertain"whether"the"different"cropping"options"within"the"CA"system"provide"for"
different"water"productivity"outcomes."The"results"are"shown"in"the"figure"below."
25"
"
"
Figure 4: Water productivity for different CA cropping options for 2 participants (2018)
A" similar" process" was" undertaken" for" 2020," but" in" this" case" WP" calculations" were" done" for" 4"
participants"across"4"villages,"to"expand"the"investigation.""
Figure 5: Water productivity for different CA cropping options for 4 participants (2020)
In"comparing"Figures"20"and"21"the"following"trends"can"be"seen:"
ØWater"productivity"for"both"Phumelele"Hlongwane"and"Ntombakhe"Zikode"are"lower"for"
the"2020"season"than"in"2018."The"WP"for"Phumelele"Hlongwane"for"the"2018"season"
were"exceptionally"high,"as"were"her"yields.""During"the"2019-20"season"they"have"fallen"
more"squarely"within"the"range"suggested"by"the"FAO"(1,2-2,3kg/m3)"
ØIn"both"seasons"Phumelele"Hlongwane’s"water"productivity,"for"all"the"crop"combinations"
tested"are"higher"than"that"of"the"other"participants."
ØFor" both" seasons" intercropped" CA" plots" (both" M+B" and" M+CP)" are" higher" than" single"
cropped"CA-M"plots."
ØWater"productivity"for"conventionally"tilled"maize"is"lower"than"the"CA"control"plot"maize."
CA-
M+B CA-M
CA:M
-
Contr
CA-M CA-
M+B CA-M Contr
-M CA-M
CA-
M+C
P
CA-M CA-M
Conv.
Contr
-M
CA-M CA-
M+B
CA-
M+B CA-M CA-
M+B
CA:M
-
Contr
CA-
M+B
CA:M
-
Contr
CA-
M+C
P
NZNZNZNZNZNM NM NM NM NM NMPH PH PH PH PH PH PH BH BH BH
EqeEqeEqeEqeEqeStu Stu Stu Stu Stu Stu EziEziEziEziEziEziEziNdu Ndu Ndu
BERGVILLE
Water Productivity (kg/m3)1,55 1,03 0,75 0,86 1,54 0,71 1,56 1,21 1,99 1,40 0,85 0,58 1,16 2,37 1,93 1,67 2,38 1,16 1,11 1,10 2,19
0,00
0,50
1,00
1,50
2,00
2,50
Water Productivty (kg/m3)
WP (kg/m3)
PH -Phumelele
Hlongwane
NZ-Ntombakhe
Zikode
NM-Nelisiwe Msele
BH-Boniwe
Hlantshwayo
M=Maize,
B=Beans,
C=Cowpeas
Eqe=Eqeleni,
Stu=Stulwane,
Ezi=Ezibovini
Ndu= Ndunwane
M-CA
trial
M _CA
Control
M+C- CA
Trial
M + B-
CA Trial
M-CA
Control
M + B-
CA Trial
M + B-
CA Trial
M+C- CA
Trial
PH PH PH PH NZ NZ NZ NZ
WP (kg/m3)2,18 3,53 3,17 4,40 1,04 1,15 1,33 0,86
0,00
0,50
1,00
1,50
2,00
2,50
3,00
3,50
4,00
4,50
5,00
Water Productivty (kg/m3)
WP (kg/m3)
PH -Phumelele Hlongwane
NZ-Ntombakhe Zikode
M=Maize, B=Beans, C=Cowpeas
26"
"
Water#productivity#for#CA#maize#grown#as#an#intercrop#with#beans#or#cowpeas#is#higher#
than# single# cropped# CA# maize# and# water# productivity# for# CA# plots# are# higher# than#
conventionally#tilled#plots.#Despite#annual#differences#in#water#productivity,#these#trends#
remained#the#same#across#two#seasons.#
The"CWP"was"also"calculated"for"the"above"
ground" maize" plant" material," (stalks" and"
leaves)."Again,"there"is"a"very"clear"trend"of"
much" improved" WP" for" the" maize" when"
intercropped"with"either"beans"or"cowpeas."
The" small" figure" alongside" provides" an"
average"for"Bergville"(4"participants"across"
4" villages)" for" the" 2019/20" cropping"
season.#
Soil(Health(
The"intention"is"to"compare"the"soil"health"characteristics"for"a"number"of"cropping"options"within"
the"CA"trials,"with"conventionally"tilled"mono-cropped"control"plots,"over"time.""
The"Haney"soil"health"tests"(as"analysed"by"Soil"Health"Solutions"in"the"Western"Cape"and"Ward"
Laboratories"in"the"USA)"provides"insight"into"microbial"respiration"and"populations"in"the"soil,"
organic"and"inorganic"fractions"of"the"main"nutrients"N,"P"and"K,"and"assessment"of"organic"carbon"
and"percentage"organic"matter"(%OM)."An"overall"soil"health"score"(SH)"is"also"provided"for"each"
sample."
Method#
Sampling:'
Sampling"is"done"at"the"same"time"every"year"during"September,"after"harvest"and"prior"to"start"
of"seasonal"rain,"according"to"international"protocol"(Stolbovoy,"et"al.,"2007)."
CA"plots:"10x10m"plots"are"marked"and"10cm"depth"cores"are"taken"(with"a"soil"auger),"
taking"20"samples"along"a"zig-zag"pattern"across"the"plot."These"are"combined,"thoroughly"
mixed"and"then"500g"is"placed"in"a"plastic"bag"and"sealed."These"bags"are"kept"in"a"cool,"
dark"place"until"delivery"to"the"soil"health"analysis"laboratory"–"usually"within"4-6"weeks"
of"taking"the"sample"
Control" plots;" 20" samples" are" taken" in" a" zig-zag" pattern" across" the" dimension" of" the"
control"plot;"these"vary"from"one"participant"to"the"next"and"are"otherwise"treated"in"the"
same"manner"as"the"CA"plot"samples"above."
Veld"samples:"This"changed"after"the"first"two"seasons,"to"reduce"potential"variability"in"
the"samples."A"patch"of"undisturbed"veld,"as"close"as"possible"to"the"participant’s"cropping"
field"is"chosen,"to"also"have"the"same"basic"visual"characteristics"as"the"field"in"question.""
4"sub-samples"are"taken"at"10-15cm"depth"at"the"4"compass"positions"adjacent"to"the"
cropping" field." " NOTE:" It" has" been" the" team’s" experience" that" the" values" of" the" veld"
samples"vary"substantially"even"in"the"same"village"or"the"same"vicinity"as"a"field."The"
practise"of"using"one"veld"sample"for"two"to"three"different"farmers"in"the"same"village"
CA:M-
Contr CA-M CA-
M+B
CA-
M+CP
Conv.
Contr-
M
Total 6,297,0613,66 12,473,17
0,00
5,00
10,00
15,00
kg/m3
Maize biomass CWP
27"
"
was"thus"discontinued"and"a"decision"made"to"use"a"section"of"veld"as"close"as"possible"to"
the"cropping"field."In"addition,"Veld"in"smallholder"farming"areas"under"communal"tenure,"
cannot"be"regarded"as"“pristine”,"given"heavy"grazing"patterns"and"frequent"burning."It"is"
however"assumed"that"the"soil"is"undisturbed"in"terms"of"tillage"and"gives"an"indication"
of"the"general"conditions"of"the"soil"in"the"vicinity"of"the"cropping"fields."
Samples"were"air"dried"and"stored"for"a"period"of"2-4"weeks"at"room"temperature"(20-24°C),"prior"
to"analysis."
For"the"2018/19"cropping"season"soil"health"analysis"was"undertaken"for"10"participants"across"
five"villages"in"Bergville;""
Eqeleni"(2)"Stulwane"(2);"6th"year"of"implementation"
Ezibomvini"(2);"5th"year"of"CA"implementation"
Mhlwazini"(2);"3rd-year"of"CA"implementation"
Ndunwana"(2);"3rd"year"of"CA"implementation"
"
For"the"2019/20"cropping"season"soil"health"analysis"was"undertaken"for"8"participants"across"
three"villages"in"Bergville:"
Stulwane"(3);"7th"year"of"implementation"
Ezibomvini"(3);"6th"year"of"implementation"
Ndunwane"(2):"4th"year"of"implementation."
"
Laboratory'analysis'
Laboratory"analysis"was"undertaken"by"Soil"Health"Solutions,"linked"to"WARD"Laboratories"in"the"
USA."Each"soil"sample"received"in"the"lab"is"dried"at"50°C"for"24"hr"and"ground"to"pass"a"4,75"mm"
sieve."The"dried"and"ground"samples"are"scooped,"with"the"weight"recorded"using"a"Sartorius"
Practum"2102-1S,"into"two"50"ml"centrifuge"tubes"(4"g"each)"and"one"50"ml"plastic"beaker"(40"g)"
that"is"perforated"and"has"a"Whatman"GF/D"glass"microfiber"filter"to"allow"water"infiltration."The"
two"4"g"samples"are"extracted"with"40"ml"of"DI"water"and"40"ml"of"H3A"respectively,"for"a"10:1"
dilution"factor."The"samples"are"shaken"for"10"minutes,"centrifuged"for"5"minutes,"and"filtered"
through"Whatman"2V"filter"paper."The"water"and"H3A"extracts"are"analysed"on"a"Seal"Analytical"
rapid" flow" analyser" for" NO3-N," NH4-N," and" PO4-P." The" water" extract" is" also" analysed" on" an"
Elementar"TOC"select"C:"N"analyser"for"water-extractable"organic"C"and"total"N."The"H3A"extract"
is"also"analysed"on"an"Agilent"MP-4200"microwave"plasma"for"Al,"Fe,"P,"Ca,"and"K."
The"40"g"soil"sample"is"analysed"for"CO2-C"ppm"after"a"24-"our"incubation"at"25o"C."Initially,"the"
sample"is"wetted"through"capillary"action"by"adding"18"ml"of"DI"water"to"an"8"oz."glass"jar"(ball"
jar"with"a"convex"bottom)"and"placed"in"the"jar"and"then"capped."Solvita"paddles"can"be"placed"in"
the"jar"at"this"time"and"analysed"after"24"hrs"with"a"Solvita"digital"reader."Alternatively,"we"use"a"
system"that"we"call"HT-1,"where"at"the"end"of"24-hour"incubation,"the"CO2"in"the"jar"can"be"pulled"
through"a"LiCor"840A"IRGA,"which"is"a"non-dispersive"infrared"(NDIR)"gas"analyser"based"upon"a"
single"path,"dual"wavelength"infrared"detection"system."
SOM%"is"a"gravimetric"expression"of"the"organic"material"fraction"lost"from"combustion"at"360°C"
for"3"hours."Also"termed"the"loss"in"ignition"calculation"method,"(LOI%)."
28"
"
Soil#health#tests#parameters
1
#
The" Haney" method" uses" nature’s" biology" and" chemistry" by:" (1)" using" a" soil" microbial" activity"
indicator;"(2)"a"soil"water"extract"(nature’s"solvent);"and"(3)"the"H3A"extractant,"which"mimics"
the"production"of"organic"acids"by"living"plant"roots"to"temporarily"change"the"soil"pH"thereby"
increasing"nutrient"availability."
These" analyses" are" benchmarked" against" natural" veld" for" each" participant," due" to" high" local"
variation"in"soil"health"properties,"measured"at"different"times."The"veld"scores"provide"for"high"
benchmarks"to"compare"the"cropping"practices"against."""
Soil#Respiration#1-day#CO2-C:"This"result"is"one"of"the"most"important"numbers"in"this"soil"test"
procedure."This"number"in"ppm"is"the"amount"of"CO2-C"released"in"24"hours"from"soil"microbes"
after"soil"has"been"dried"and"rewetted"(as"occurs"naturally"in"the"field)."This"is"a"measure"of"the"
microbial"biomass"in"the"soil"and"is"related"to"soil"fertility"and"the"potential"for"microbial"activity."
In"most"cases,"the"higher"the"number,"the"more"fertile"the"soil."
Microbes"exist"in"soil"in"great"abundance."They"are"highly"adaptable"to"their"environment"and"
their"composition,"adaptability,"and"structure"are"a"result"of"the"environment"they"inhabit."They"
have"adapted"to"the"temperature,"moisture"levels,"soil"structure,"crop"and"management"inputs,"as"
well"as"soil"nutrient"content."Since"soil"microbes"are"highly"adaptive"and"are"driven"by"their"need"
to"reproduce"and"by"their"need"for"acquiring"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."Carbon"is"the"driver"of"the"
soil"nutrient-microbial"recycling"system.""
Water# extractable# organic# C# (WEOC):""Consists" of" sugars" from" root" exudates," plus" organic"
matter"degradation."This"number"(in"ppm)"is"the"amount"of"organic"C"extracted"from"the"soil"with"
water."This"C"pool"is"roughly"80"times"smaller"than"the"total"soil"organic"C"pool"(%"Organic"Matter)"
and"reflects"the"energy"source"feeding"soil"microbes."A"soil"with"3%"soil"organic"matter"when"
measured"with"the"same"method"(combustion)"at"a"0-10cm"sampling"depth"produces"a"20,000"
ppm"C"concentration."When"the"water"extract"from"the"same"soil"is"analysed,"the"number"typically"
ranges"from"100-300"ppm"C."The"water"extractable"organic"C"reflects"the"quality"of"the"C"in"the"
soil"and"is"highly"related"to"the"microbial"activity."On"the"other"hand,"%"SOM"is"about"the"quantity"
of"organic"C."In"other"words,"soil"organic"matter"is"the"house"that"microbes"live"in,"but"what"is"
being"measured"is"the"food"they"eat"(WEOC"and"WEON)."
If"this"value"is"low,"it"will"reflect"in"the"C02"evolution,"which"will"also"be"low."So"less"organic"carbon"
means"less"respiration"from"microorganisms,"but"again"this"relationship"is"unlikely"to"be"linear."
The" Microbially" Active" Carbon" (MAC" =" WEOC" /" ppm" CO2)" content" is" an" expression" of" this"
relationship."If"the"percentage"MAC"is"low,"it"means"that"nutrient"cycling"will"also"be"low."One"
needs"a"%MAC"of"at"least"20%"for"efficient"nutrient"cycling."
Water# extractable# organic# N# (WEON):""Consists" of" Atmospheric" N2"sequestration" from" free"
living"N"fixers,"plus"organic"matter"degradation."This"number"is"the"amount"of"the"total"water"
extractable"N"minus"the"inorganic"N"(NH4-N"+"NO3-N)."This"N"pool"is"highly"related"to"the"water"
extractable"organic"C"pool"and"will"be"easily"broken"down"by"soil"microbes"and"released"to"the"
soil"in"inorganic"N"forms"that"are"readily"plant"available."
"
1
j.71DbL:5?,j1.?4>,*124,)7@:/0.45:7,"16C,BCN,GKNBRIC,Z.731,\<7;1/2:7J,c./;,Z.F:/.4:/512,)73C,
29"
"
Organic#C:#Organic#N:"This"number"is"the"ratio"of"organic"C"from"the"water"extract"to"the"amount"
of"organic"N"in"the"water"extract."This"C:N"ratio"is"a"critical"component"of"the"nutrient"cycle."Soil"
organic" C" and" soil" organic" N" are" highly" related" to" each" other" as" well" as" the" water" extractable"
organic"C"and"organic"N"pools."Therefore,"we"use"the"organic"C:N"ratio"of"the"water"extract"since"
this"is"the"ratio"the"soil"microbes"have"readily"available"to"them"and"is"a"more"sensitive"indicator"
than" the" soil" C:N" ratio." A" soil" C:N" ratio" above" 20:1" generally" indicates" that" no" net" N" and" P"
mineralization"will"occur."As"the"ratio"decreases,"more"N"and"P"are"released"to"the"soil"solution"
which"can"be"taken"up"by"growing"plants."This"same"mechanism"is"applied"to"the"water"extract."
The"lower"this"ratio"is,"the"more"organisms"are"active"and"the"more"available"the"food"is"to"the"
plants." Good" C:N" ratios" for" plant" growth" are" <15:1." The" most" ideal" values" for" this" ratio" are"
between"8:1"and"15:1."
Soil# Health# Calculation:"This" number" is" calculated" as" 1-day" CO2-C/10" plus" WEOC/50" plus"
WEON/10"to"include"a"weighted"contribution"of"water"extractable"organic"C"and"organic"N."It"
represents"the"overall"health"of"the"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"be"above"7"and"increase"over"time."
Soil#health#scores#
Three"assumptions"(hypotheses)"are"made"regarding"SH"scores"in"the"Bergville"study"area:"
ØThat" SH" scores" for" the" CA" trial" plots" will" be" higher" than" for" the" conventionally" tilled"
control"plots""
ØThat"SH"scores"will"increase"over"time"for"CA"trial"plots"and"
ØThat"SH"scores"for"different"cropping"combinations,"such"as"mono"cropped"plots,"inter"
cropped"plots"and"multi"cropped"plot"will"be"different"
"
SH'scores'over'time'
SH" scores" for" 5" participants" (Dlezakhe" Hlongwane," Mtholeni" Dlamini," Phumelele" Hlongwane,"
Smephi" Hlatshwayo" and" Ntombakhe" Zikode)" across" three" villages" (Stulwane," Ezibomini" and"
Eqeleni)"in"Bergville"have"been"calculated"from"2015-16"to"2019/20"
The"figure"below"provides"a"summary"of"the"results."
" "
Figure'6:'SH'scores'between'2015/16'and'2019/20'for'5'participants'in'Bergville.'
CO2 - C(ppm)Organic C (ppm)Organic N (ppm)C:N ratioSoil health
calculation
2015 132,7 118,511,712,113,6
2016 73,0 198,6 14,014,68,5
2017 86,2 280,5 19,414,015,2
2018 149,7 227,014,616,618,7
2019 70,8 267,0 21,112,814,6
0,0
50,0
100,0
150,0
200,0
250,0
300,0
2015-2019
30"
"
From"the"above"figure"the"following"trends"are"visible:"
ØSoil"health"scores"have"increased"between"2015-2018,"but"then"decreased"again"for"the"
2019/20"season."This"is"primarily"due"to"a"much"lower"value"for"the"CO2-C"respiration"
value"in"2019/20.""
ØThe"lower"respiration"value"for"2019/20"is"not"due"to"reduced"levels"of"organic"C,"which"
increased" from" the" previous" season;" meaning" that" it" could" be" due" either" to" lower"
microbial"levels"in"the"soil"and"or"lower"levels"of"microbially"active"carbon."Both"of"these"
factors"are"closely"related"to"climatic"conditions"
ØOrganic"C"has"increased"substantially"over"time,"although"the"relationship"is"not"linear."
ØOrganic"N"has"increased"substantially"over"time,"again"not"linearly."
ØThe"C:N"ration"increased"systematically"for"the"first"four"years"of"measurement"and"then"
decreased"to"12,8:1"in"the"2019/20"season."It"indicates"a"higher"proportional"increase"in"
organic" nitrogen" in" the" soil," as" compared" to" organic" carbon" through" the" CA" practices"
employed"in"the"programme.""The"lower"this"ratio"is,"the"more"organisms"are"active"and"
the" more" available" the" food" is" to" the" plants." The" most" ideal" values" for" this" ratio" are"
between" 8:1" and" 15:1." The" 2019/20" value" thus" points" towards" a" lower" microbial"
population"in"this"season,"rather"than"a"lower"level"of"microbially"active"carbon"and"is"an"
effect"of"the"environmental"conditions;"increased"heat"during"the"growing"season"
ØThe"extreme"climatic"conditions"in"the"area,"including"heat"and"dry"soil"profiles,"reduces"
the"soil"health"impact"of"the"CA"practices"and"also"increases"variability"in"the"results"for"
different"seasons."
"
The"general"assumption"here"is"that"if"the"level"of"organic"C"in"a"plot"is"high,"then"the"microbial"
respiration"will"also"be"high,"as"will"the"soil"health"score"and"vice"versa."This"is"not"always"the"
case,"as"the"relationship"is"not"necessarily"a"linear"one."
The"CO2-C"respiration"also"gives"an"indication"of"the"potential"mineralisation"of"N"for"the"soil"as"
well"as"organic"matter"content."The"small"table"below"indicates"these"relationships."
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"
For"the"above"figure"the"following"trends"can"be"seen:"
ØAll"the"CA"samples"for"all"three"villages"fall"within"the">100ppm"and"61-100ppm"C02—C"
respiration"categories;"indicating"adequate"to"high"levels"of"organic"matter,"an"ideal"state"
of"biological"activity"and"a"moderate"to"high"N-"mineralisation"potential."
31"
"
ØThese" results" indicate" an" ideal" state" of" biological" activity," with" minimal" need" for" N"
supplementation"and"adequate"organic"matter"in"the"soil.""
In"conclusion"the"soil"health"status"of"the"CA"trial"plots"is"moderately"high"to"high,"with"good"
organic"matter"content"and"ideal"states"of"biological"activity.""
2.Different'CA'cropping'options'
The"CA"experimentation"process"has"been"designed"to"maximise"crop"diversity."
The"following"progression"has"been"used:"
ØYear"1"and"2:"Single"cropped"plots"of"maize"(M)"and"beans(B)"and"inter"cropped"plots"of"
M+B"and"M+C"(cowpea)"
ØYear"3:"Inclusion"of"cover"crops;"a"3"species"mix"of"summer"cover"crops"(SCC)"including"
sunflower," millet" and" sun" hemp" and" a" 3" species" mix" of" winter" cover" crops" (WCC),"
Saia/black"oats,"fodder"rye"and"fodder"radish"
ØYear"3+:"Inclusion"of"legume"cover"crops;"Lab-lab"beans"(LL)"
ØYear"3+:"Rotation"of"the"above"-mentioned"plots"within"the"CA"trial,"which"consists"of"10"
plots"
The"assumption"is"that"the"combination"of"multi-cropping"and"crop"rotation"would"provide"for"
the"fastest"build-up"of"organic"matter"and"improvement"of"SH"for"this"smallholder"CA"system.""
The"table"below"outlines"the"cropping"pattern"or"Phumelele"Hlongwane’s"CA"trial"(Ezibomvini,"
Bergville),"consisting"of"10"CA"plot,"as"well"as"her"control"plots."Control"plots"are"planted"to"maize"
only,"using"the"farmer’s"choice"of"spacing,"maize"variety"and"nutrient"provision"(fertilizer"and/or"
manure)"
"
"Analysis"for"the"first"two"seasons"2015/16"and"2016/17,"showed"a"trend"of"higher"SH"values"for"
intercropped" and" multi-cropped" plots" (SCC)," when" compared" to" single" cropped" CA" plots" (M),"
indicating"the"importance"of"crop"diversification"for"soil"health"in"the"CA"system.""
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32"
"
The"assumption"was"then"made"that"if"crop"rotation"is"included"as"a"practise"in"such"a"multi-
cropping" system," then" the" SH" for" all" the" plots" would" increase" over" time" and" that" variability"
between"the"plots"would"decrease,"as"each"plot"undergoes"a"rotation"of"multiple"crops."
This"trend"of"higher"SH"scores,"that"are"similar"across"plots,"has"not"been"realized"for"Phumelele"
in"her"4th"season"of"crop"rotation"with"multiple"cropping"options,"as"variability"between"the"SH"
score"for"her"different"plots"is"still"quite"high."Below"are"two"graphs"comparing"her"3rd"and"7th"
year"of"implementation"
"
Figure'7:'SH'scores'for'different'CA'plots'and'cropping'options'for'Phumelele'Hlongwane;'3rd'and''
7th'year'of'CA'implementation'2016'and'2019)'
'
4-LL5-M6-SCC 9-M+B
Control
(maize
under
CA)
Veld
baseline
sample
2-M
Average of % OM3,40 3,20 3,30 3,10 5,30 4,23 2,90
Average of CO2 - C, ppm C90,20 68,70 78,40 54,50 62,70 97,47 52,30
Average of Organic C ppm C203,00 157,00 222,00 204,00 201,00 245,08 216,00
Average of Organic N ppm N13,706,5015,20 13,40 12,50 76,05 11,80
Average of C:N ratio14,82 24,15 14,61 15,22 16,08 17,43 18,31
Average of Soil health Calculation9,49 5,06 9,11 6,96 7,16 9,65 6,20
0,00
50,00
100,00
150,00
200,00
250,00
300,00
Soil%Health%for%different%CA%plots%and%cropping%options;%Phumelele%
Hlongwane;%2016%(3rd%year%of%CA%implementation)
Average of %
OM
Average of
CO2 - C,
ppm C
Average of
Organic C
ppm C
Average of
Organic N
ppm N
Average of
C:N ratio
Average of
Soil health
calculation
(new)
2 - M+B3,7 61,1280,028,6 9,8 14,6
4 - M+C3,6 48,0219,023,6 9,3 11,5
5 - LL3,940,5 191,0 16,811,49,6
6 - SCC3,5 52,8199,023,0 8,7 11,6
9 - M+B4,062,0328,028,9 11,3 15,7
(blank) - CA control M2,953,7227,016,0 14,2 11,5
(blank) - Veld4,176,4221,017,1 12,9 13,8
0,0
50,0
100,0
150,0
200,0
250,0
300,0
350,0
Soil Health for different CA plots and cropping options; Phumelele
Hlongwane; 2019 (7th year)
33"
"
The"results"from"the"figure"above"indicate"that:"
ØPlot"5"still"has"the"lowest"SH"score,"as"was"the"case"for"the"previous"two"years"of"analysis"
as"well."This"is"considered"to"be"due"to"particular"soil"conditions"in"that"plot."
ØAll"CA"plots"(2,4,5,6,9)"have"a"higher"%SOM"than"the"CA"control"plot"for"2019,"but"not"
2016,"indicating"a"build-up"of"OM"over"this"period"for"the"multi-cropped,"and"rotated"CA"
plots.""
ØVariability"between"the"plots"for"CO2-C"respiration,"organic"C"and"organic"N"is"quite"high"
for"the"2019"season,"following"a"similar"trend"as"in"2016."This"was"also"noted"for"the"2017"
and"2018"seasons,"although"the"results"are"not"presented"here"
ØThere"is"however"an"increase"in"Organic"C"and"Organic"N"across"all"the"CA"plots"(2,4,5,6,9)"
for"2019,"when"compared"to"2016"
ØThere" is" a" decrease" in" the" C:N" ratios" for" all" the" CA" plots" (2,4,5,6,9)" for" 2019," when"
compared"to"2016"
ØSH"scores"for"2019for"the"CA"plots"(2,4,5,6,9)"are"substantially"higher"than"those"for"2016.""
ØSH" scores" for" the" veld" sample" are" also" much" higher." This" is" considered" to" be" due" to"
environmental"factors,"rather"than"to"a"change"in"condition"of"the"veld"where"the"sample"
was"taken."Note"that"the"veld"sample"was"taken"from"the"same"place,"in"the"same"way"for"
both"seasons."This"also"indicates"that"the"higher"SH"scores"for"2019"for"the"CA"plots"cannot"
be"only"attributed"to"the"cropping"practices."
"
In" conclusion," it" has" not" been" possible" to" contribute" differences" in" SH" directly" to" different"
cropping"options"within"a"multi"cropping"rotation"CA"system."It"has"also"not"been"possible"to"
attribute"a"decrease"in"SH"score"variability"to"rotation"of"multi-crop"options."It"is"however"clear,"
that"the"combination"of"crop"rotation"of"multi-crop"options"has"improved"and"stabilised"SH"scores"
over"time."
Soil+organic+matter+
Soil" organic" matter" is" where" soil" carbon" is" stored," and" is" directly" derived" from" biomass" of"
microbial"communities"in"the"soil"(bacterial,"fungal,"and"protozoan),"as"well"as"from"plant"roots"
and" detritus," and" biomass-containing" amendments" like" manure," green" manures," mulches,"
composts," and" crop" residues" (Motaung," 2020)." Soil" Organic" Carbon" refers" to" the" carbon"
component"of"soil"organic"matter"(SOM)"that"is"measured"in"mineral"soil"which"passes"through"a"
2mm"sieve."It"is"the"largest"component"of"SOM"(approximately"45%)"and"the"easiest"and"cheapest"
to"measure."The"SOC"content"of"agricultural"soils"is"generally"between"0.5"and"4%.""
There"is"general"consensus"among"researchers"that"CA"improves"soil"health"by"increasing"soil"
organic"matter"(SOM)."Increased"soil"organic"carbon"(SOC)"also"sequestrates"atmospheric"carbon"
and"thereby"contributes"to"climate"change"mitigation"targets"(Swanepoel,"et"al.,"2017)."
Despite"this"consensus,"some"studies"in"Africa"and"Southern"Africa"have"reported"small"increases,"
or"very"slow"build"-up"of"SOC"and"negligible"increases"when"compared"to"conventional"systems."
It"is"being"argued"that"the"build-up"of"SOM"in"CA"systems,"is"related"more"to"increased"biomass"
and"organic"mulch"than"a"reduction"in"tillage"(Giller,"et"al.,"2009)."It"has"also"been"suggested"that"
in"drier"climates"with"sandier"soils"it"may"take"up"to"10"years"to"detect"a"noticeable"difference"in"
SOC"accumulation"(GRDC,"2014)"
In"addition,"it"has"been"suggested,"that"to"get"reliable"data"related"to"changes"in"SOC"related"to"
land"use"patterns,""large"numbers"of"samples"need"to"be"taken;"between"80-500"on"average"for"
34"
"
croplands"and"undisturbed"soils"such"as"forests"respectively"(Stolbovoy,"et"al.,"2007)."This"is"not"
financially"feasible"for"small,"multi-faceted"programmes"such"as"the"CA-"SFIP.""
Methods''
Sampling"for"laboratory"analysis"of"soil"health"is"as"described"above"in"section"1;"with"20"sub-
samples"making"up"any"one"sample,"generally"within"a"100m2"area,"taken"during"the"fallow"season"
and"air"dried"and"stored"at"room"temperature"prior"to"analysis."Soil"depth"for"samples"is"0-10cm,"
as"this"is"the"depth"of"soil"where"the"most"change"in"SOC"is"likely"to"occur.""
Percentage"SOC"(Kg"C/Kg"soil"x"100)"has"been"provided"for"these"samples"(Soil"Health"Solutions"
Laboratory,"WC)."A"constant"factor"of"1,72"is"used"in"South"Africa,"to"convert"%SOC"to"%SOM"
(GRDC,"2014)"
For" the" 2018/19" cropping" season," sampling" was" done" for" 10" participants," across" five" villages"
between" their" 3rd"and" 6th"year" of" CA" implementation" and" for" the" 2019/20" cropping" season"
sampling" was" done" for" 8" participants" across" three" villages" between" their" 4th"and" 7th"year" of"
implementation"(including"all"previous"participants"from"the"corresponding"villages)."
The"table"below"is"a"summary"of"the"%OM"for"a"combination"of"all"CA"experimentation"plots"(B,"
M,"M+B,"M+CP"and"SCC),"for"a"total"of"40"plots"(n=40)"as"well"as"the"CA"control"plots"(Maize"only),"
compared"to"veld"benchmark"samples."
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*Note:'This'value'is'a'combination'of'control'plots'in'2018,'which'included'CA'control'plots'as'well'
as'conventionally'tilled'plots'planted'to'sweet'potato'–'as'an'alternative'was'sought'for'the'control'
plots,'that'could'more'closely'represent'tilled'plots.'However,'due'to'the'fact'that'the'planting'and'
crop'histories'of'these'alternative'controls'were'not'properly'considered,'they'were'removed'for'the'
2019'calculations."
SOC"and"%OM"derived"from"this,"declined"in"the"veld"samples"between"2018"and"2019,"leading"
to"a"soil"carbon"stock"calculation"of"4,2tC/ha"and"3,5tC/ha"respectively."At"the"same"time"the"CA"
plots"(which"is"a"combination"of"all"treatments"or"different"cropping"options)"and"the"CA"controls"
(which"is"for"mono"cropped"maize),"evened"out"in"2019"to"the"same"value"of"3,6tC/ha.""Carbon"
accumulation"for"the"CA"system"as"a"whole"(experimentation"plots"and"control"plots)"is"between"
0,2"and"0,5tC/ha/"annum.""This"provides"an"indication"that"CA"enhances"SOC"accumulation"even"
under"adverse"climatic"conditions"(late"onset"of"summer"rainfall,"high"temperatures"and"mid-
season"dry"spells),"although"longer"term"averages"would"need"to"be"calculated"to"verify"this"trend.""
Available+organic+Nitrogen+
In" the" dryland" cropping" system" around" Bergville," as" in" most" other" dryland" cropping" areas" in"
South"Africa,"supplementation"with"inorganic"Nitrogen"is"considered"an"important"strategy"for"
optimal"crop"growth.""In"our"CA"study"different"crop"combinations"and"cropping"options"are"being"
explored"to"assess"the"potential"of"providing"nitrogen"through"improvement"of"natural"nutrient"
35"
"
flow"cycles."Inorganic"N,"besides"being"expensive,"also"has"been"shown"to"dampen"the"natural"
microbial"activity"in"the"soil"and"can"also" be" partially" ineffective" under" extreme" conditions" of"
drought"and"heat.""
An"analysis"of"immediate"release"N"has"been"done,"as"well"as"an"estimation"of"the"rand"value"of"
inorganic"nitrogen"saved"/ha"for"different"cropping"options"under"CA."The"immediate"release"N-"
is"the"water"extractable"organic"Nitrogen,"which"is"immediately"available"to"the"next"crop,"but"the"
Rand"value"is"calculated"for"the"total"available"organic"Nitrogen"(including"the"short"and"long-
term"release"factions.)"
Samples" used" for" this" analysis" are" the" same" as" for" the" other" soil" health" parameters;" 10"
participants"across"5"villages"for"2018"and"8"participants"across"3"villages"for"2019."
"
Figure'8:Comparison'of'immediate'release'N'and'Rand'value'of'inorganic'Nitrogen'substituted'for'
organic'N'for'5'villages'in'Bergville;'2018'
From"this"figure"the"expected"progression"of"increase"in"available"N"from"a"CA"maize"monocrop"–"
a"summer"cover"crop"mix"to"a"maize"and"bean"intercrop"–"a"maize"and"cowpea"intercrop"is"clearly"
visible."The"CA"beans"only"plot"has"a"somewhat"unexpectedly"low"result."On"average"the"rand"
value"of"inorganic"N"saved"in"this"process"is"R318/ha."If"a"recommendation"of"60Kg/ha"of"N"is"
used,"this"equates"to"a"saving"of"around"47%"on"inorganic"fertilizer"–"more"specifically"for"the"
plots" that" integrate" legumes" (M+B," M+CP" and" Lab-Lab" beans)." " The" average" rand" value" for"
inorganic"N"saved"in"the"previous"season"(2017),"was"R393."It"is"assumed"that"this"value"is"higher"
because" of" the" higher" soil" water" content" (better" soil" water" distribution" in" the" soil" profile"
throughout"the"season)."This"indicates"the"effect"of"heat"and"dry"soil"profiles"on"the"ability"of"the"
soils"to"process"and"maintain"nutrients.""
For"the"2019"a"similar"analysis"has"provided"quite"different"results."The"logical"progression"of"
increased"available"Nitrogen"for"plots"containing"a"mixed"crop"of"grain"with"legumes"did"not"hold"
for"this"season.""
BConv C
SP Lablab MM+B M+CPSCC Veld
Average of N Immediate release25,0 30,5 33,0 26,5 30,7 32,2 28,7 34,0
Average of R value of Org N278,50 341,00 369,00 299,50 346,29 364,83 320,33 379,56
0,0
50,0
100,0
150,0
200,0
250,0
300,0
350,0
400,0
Immediate release N and Rand values of N for different CA cropping
options in Bergville; 2018
36"
"
"
Figure 9: Comparison of immediate release N and Rand value of inorganic Nitrogen substituted for organic N for 5 villages in
Bergville; 2019
It" is" proposed" that" in" future" research," the" hypothesis" and" measurements" are" adjusted." It" has"
become"too"complicated"to"attempt"to"compare"the"effect"of"a"particular"cropping"option,"overlaid"
on"annual"variations"due"to"climatic"conditions"and"soil"moisture,"as"well"as"the"cumulative"effect"
of"crop"rotation."This"will"be"considered"in"detail"for"a"few"individual"participants"in"the"section"
below"
A"comparison"was"then"made"of"the"overall"CA"experimentation"(average"values"for"the"B,M,"M+B,"
M+CP,"SCC"and"LabLab"plots),"CA"controls"and"the"veld"samples"for"2018"and"2019."The"results"
are"presented"in"the"table"below."
Table 14: Rand value of available organic Nitrogen for two seasons 2018 and 2019.
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For"2019,"the"available"organic"Nitrogen"(immediate,"short"and"long-term"release)"was"higher"
than"for"2018"by"20%"if"averaged"for"the"CA"plots."This"is"the"same"increase"seen"between"2017"
and"2018."However,"it"is"not"considered"a"property"of"the"CA"system,"as"similar"increases"(18-
20%)"have"been"noted"for"the"veld"samples.""
Soil+health+considerations;+PLFA+Bergville+2019/20+
Overall'distribution'of'microorganisms'
B
CA
control
M
MM+B M+CPSCC Veld
Average of N Immediate release
(ppm) 18 36 22 36 22 12 28
Average of R value of N370,00 531,49 541,25 520,56 507,78 349,25 460,62
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
Immediate release N and Rand values of N for different CA cropping
options in Bergville; 2019
37"
"
The" term" ‘soil" health’" is" widely" used" in" reference" to" sustainable" agriculture," especially" in" the"
context" of" soil" as" a" dynamic," living" organism" functioning" holistically" rather" than" as" an" inert"
substrate"(Frac,"et"al.,"2018)."Soil"microorganisms"are"both"components"and"producers"of"soil"
organic"carbon,"a"substance"that"locks"carbon"into"the"soil"for"long"periods."Abundant"soil"organic"
carbon"improves"soil"fertility"and"water-retaining"capacity."There"is"a"growing"body"of"research"
that"supports"the"hypothesis"that"soil"microorganisms,"and"fungi"in"particular,"can"be"harnessed"
to" draw" carbon" out" of" the" atmosphere" and" sequester" it" in" the" soil." Soil" microorganisms" may"
provide" a" significant" means" of" reducing" atmospheric" greenhouse" gasses" and" help" to" limit" the"
impact"of"greenhouse"gas-induced"climate"change"(Johns,"2017).""
The"most"numerous"microbes"in"soil"are"the"bacteria,"followed"in"decreasing"numerical"order"by"
the"actinomycetes,"the"fungi,"soil"algae"and"soil"protozoa."
Soil"microorganisms"consist"of"bacteria,"fungi,"saprophytes"and"protozoa,"the"overall"proportions"
of"which"provide"an"initial"snapshot"of"soil"health"and"the"balance"in"the"system."Disturbed"soil,"
which" can" also" be" fertile" and" have" a" good" soil" health" score," tend" towards" a" situation" where"
bacteria"dominate"the"microbial"population."
Bacteria"
In" general," most" soil" bacteria" do" better" in" neutral" pH" soils" that" are" well" oxygenated." Bacteria"
provide" large" quantities" of" nitrogen" to" plants" and" nitrogen" is" often" lacking" in" the" soil." Many"
bacteria"secrete"enzymes"in"the"soil"to"makes"phosphorus"more"soluble"and"plant"available."In"
general,"bacteria"tend"to"dominate"fungi"in"tilled"or"disrupted"soils,"with"higher"levels"of"nitrogen"
in" the" form" of" nitrates," because" the" fungi" prefer" more" acidic" environments" without" soil"
disturbance." Bacteria" can" survive" in" dry" or" flooded" conditions" due" to" their" small" size," high"
numbers" and" their" ability" to" live" in" small" microsites" within" the" soil" where" environmental"
conditions"may"be"favourable."These"are"perfect"conditions"for"low"successional"plants"such"as"
weeds."Protozoa"tend"to"be"the"biggest"predators"of"bacteria"in"tilled"soils."(Ingham,"2009)"
As" the" soil" is" disturbed" less" and" plant" diversity" increases," the" soil" food" web" becomes" more"
balanced"and"diverse,"making"soil"nutrients"more"available"in"an"environment"better"suited"to"
higher" plants." Diverse" microbial" populations" with" fungus," protozoa" and" nematodes" keep"
nutrients"recycling"and"keep"disease-causing"organisms"in"check."(Hoorman,"2020)"
Within" the" bacterial" populations" Actinomycetes" and" Rhizobia"species" play" a" crucial" role" in"
nutrient"availability"and"cycling"for"plant"growth."Actinomycetes"have"large"filaments"or"hyphae"
and" act" " in" a" similar" way" to" fungus" in" processing" soil" organic" residues" which" are" hard" to"
decompose" (chitin," lignin," etc)." Actinomycetes" are" important" in" forming" stable" humus," which"
enhances"soil"structure,"improves"nutrient"storage,"and"increases"water"retention."Rhizobia"are"
gram" negative," nitrogen" fixing" bacteria" that" associate" with" a" plant" host," to" fix" atmospheric"
nitrogen."There"are"also"free-living"bacteria"such"as"Azotobacter,'Azospirillum'and'Clostridium,"
which"fix"atmpsoheric"nitrogen"for"use"by"plants"(Hoorman,"2020)."
Fungi"
The"diversity"and"activity"of"fungi"is"regulated"by"various"biotic"(plants"and"other"organisms)"and"
abiotic"(soil"pH,"moisture,"salinity,"structure,"and"temperature)factors."Fungal"populations"are"
strongly"influenced"by"the"diversity"and"composition"of"the"plant"community"and"in"return"affect"
38"
"
plant" growth" through" mutualism," pathogenicity" and" their" effect" on" nutrient" availability" and"
cycling."Fungi"also"participate"in"nitrogen"fixation,"hormone"production,"biological"control"against"
root"pathogens"and"protection"against"drought"as"well"as"stabilization"of"soil"organic"matter"and"
decomposition"of"residues"(Frac,"et"al.,"2018)""
All"cultural"practices,"such"as"the"use"of"cover"and"rotational"crops,"composts"and"tillage"systems,"
besides"their"known"effects"on"soil-borne"pathogens"are"likely"to"affect"also"the"other"groups"of"
soil" fungi," especially" beneficial" fungal" populations" (Abawi" &" Widmer," 2000)." Reduced" tillage"
decreases"the"breakdown"of"hyphae"causing"fungal"populations"to"remain"more"stable,"retaining"
more"nutrients"and"providing"more"suppressive"effects"against"pathogenic"microorganisms"(Goss"
&"deVarennes,"2002)."
Mycorrhizal"fungi"improve"plant"growth"by"increasing"the"uptake"of"nutrients"and"protect"them"
against" pathogens" (Bagyaraj" and" Ashwin," 2017)." " Arbuscular" mycorrhizal" fungi" (the" most"
common"type),"live"inside"and"outside"root"cells"and"help"them"reach"for"nutrients"by"extending"
long"threads"called"hyphae"into"the"soil."The"plant,"in"exchange,"provides"the"fungi"glucose"and"
possibly"other"organic"materials"that"they"need"to"survive"(Bagyaraj"&"Ashwin,"2017)."
Saprophytes"
Saprophytes" are" microorganism" (bacteria," fungi" and" protozoa)" that" live" on" dead" or" decaying"
organic"matter."Saprophytes"recycle"organic"material"in"the"soil,"breaking"it"down"into"in"simpler"
compounds"that"can"be"taken"up"by"other"organisms."
Protozoa"and"nematodes"
Protozoa"are"single"cell"organisms,"like"bacteria"but"much"larger."Protozoa"play"an"important"role"
in"mineralizing"nutrients,"making"them"available"for"use"by"plants"and"other"soil"organisms."..."
When"they"graze"on"bacteria,"protozoa"stimulate"growth"of"the"bacterial"population"(and,"in"turn,"
decomposition"rates"and"soil"aggregation.)"
Free-living" nematodes" can" be" divided" into" four" broad" groups" based" on" their" diet." Bacterial-
feeders"consume"bacteria."Fungal-feeders"feed"by"puncturing"the"cell"walls"of"fungi"and"sucking"
out"the"internal"contents."Predatory"nematodes"eat"all"types"of"nematodes"and"protozoa."They"eat"
smaller"organisms"whole"or"attach"themselves"to"the"cuticle"of"larger"nematodes,"scraping"away"
until"the"prey’s"internal"body"parts"can"be"extracted."
Like"protozoa,"nematodes"are"important"in"mineralising,"or"releasing,"nutrients"in"plant-available"
forms."When"nematodes"eat"bacteria"or"fungi,"ammonium"is"released"because"bacteria"and"fungi"
contain"much"more"nitrogen"than"the"nematodes"require"(Johns,"2017)"
'2.'PLFA'analysis'
Phospholipid"fatty"acids"(PLFAs)"are"an"essential"structural"component"of"all"microbial"cellular"
membranes."PLFA"analysis"is"a"technique"widely"used"for"estimation"of"the"total"biomass"and"to"
observe"broad"changes"in"the"community"composition"of"the"living"microbiota"of"soil"and"aqueous"
environments."The"basic"premise"is"that"as"individual"organisms"(especially"bacteria"and"fungi)"
die,"phospholipids"are"rapidly"degraded"and"the"remaining"phospholipid"content"of"the"sample"is"
assumed"to"be"from"living"organisms."As"the"phospholipids"of"different"groups"of"bacteria"and"
39#
#
fungi#contain#a#variety#of#somewhat#unusual#fatty#acids,#they#can#serve#as#useful#biomarkers#for#such#groups#(Wikipedia,#2020).#
PLFA#analysis#has#been#conducted#for#this#project#by#Willie#Pretorius#from#the#Soil#Health#Solutions#laboratory#in#Cape#Town,#South#Africa.#For#the#
2019/20# cropping# season# the# PLFA# analysis# was# conducted# for# three# participants;# Phumelele# Hlongwane# (Ezibomvini),# Dlezakhe# Hlongwane#
(Stulwane)#and#Lethiwe#Mofokeng#(Ndunwane).#This#is#the#2nd#consecutive#season#where#these#participants’#PLFA#analysis#has#been#undertaken.#
Table 15:Microbial population comparisons for 3 villages for CA trial vs control plots and veld benchmarks; 2019/20
Village'
Name' and'
surname'
Plot'
Sample'
Bacteria'
biomass'
Actinomycetes'
biomass'
Gram'
(-)''
Rhizobi
a'
Fungi'
Arbuscular'
Mycorrhizal'
Protozoa'
biomass'
Gram'
(+)'
Undifferentiate
d'
Ezibomvini)
Phumelele)
Hlongwane)
6)
M+B)
1518,27)
262,16)
456,7
5)
0)
102,57)
0)
0)
1061,5
2)
2078,55)
Ezibomvini)
Phumelele)
Hlongwane)
4)
M+B)
896,37)
141,48)
341,1)
0)
213,19)
68,51)
0)
555,28)
1635,18)
Ezibomvini)
Phumelele)
Hlongwane)
5)
Maize)
1603,17)
226,77)
703,0
6)
0)
298,38)
99,11)
8,67)
900,11)
1732,13)
Ezibomvini)
Phumelele)
Hlongwane)
9)
Maize)
1781,48)
278,65)
621,5
8)
0)
245,13)
66,41)
0)
1159,9)
2320,22)
Ezibomvini)
Phumelele)
Hlongwane)
2)
M+CP)
873,82)
123,37)
321,3
2)
0)
51,97)
0)
0)
552,51)
1317,67)
Ezibomvini)
Phumelele)
Hlongwane)
)
Control)
998,64)
156,2)
404,0
5)
0)
132,89)
49,28)
0)
594,58)
1428,73)
Ezibomvini)
Phumelele)
Hlongwane)
)
Veld)
44,9)
0)
21,58)
0)
0)
0)
0)
23,32)
503,22)
Ndunwane)
Lethiwe)
Mofokeng)
)
Veld)
311,21)
54,26)
70,03)
0)
13,49)
0)
0)
241,18)
904,01)
Ndunwane)
Lethiwe)
Mofokeng)
)
Control)
2440,02)
297,27)
999,9
7)
0)
407,98)
99)
0)
1440,0
5)
3037,47)
Ndunwane)
Lethiwe)
Mofokeng)
1)
M+B)
165,63)
20,13)
32,37)
0)
3,08)
0)
0)
133,26)
467,14)
Ndunwane)
Lethiwe)
Mofokeng)
3)
M+CP)
909,31)
171,82)
213,3)
0)
37,69)
0)
0)
696,01)
1637,88)
Stulwane)
Dlezakhe)
Hlongwane)
)
Veld)
80,85)
9,61)
23,63)
0)
0)
0)
0)
57,21)
375,49)
Stulwane)
Dlezakhe)
Hlongwane)
)
Control)
918,48)
145,4)
264,1
1)
0)
49,36)
0)
0)
654,37)
1465,89)
Stulwane)
Dlezakhe)
Hlongwane)
6)
Bean)
521,69)
53,59)
222,6
7)
0)
33,48)
0)
0)
299,02)
1440,56)
Stulwane)
Dlezakhe)
Hlongwane)
10)
M+CP)
948,49)
117,88)
424,1
2)
0)
98,95)
0)
3,82)
524,37)
1256,19)
#
40#
#
#
3.#Discussion#of#results#
The#figure#above#provides#the#average#counts#(in#ng/g#soil)#of#different#types#of#organisms#in#a#
range#of#CA#trial#pots,#compared#to#CA#control#plots#and#veld#benchmarks.#The#veld#samples#are#
considered#to#be#a#high#baseline#of#undisturbed#healthy#soil#in#the#same#locality#as#the#cropping#
has#been#undertaken.#
VELD#SAMPLES#
The# veld# samples# from# Ndunwane#and# more# specifically# Stulwane# and# Ezibomvini# have# low#
overall#microbial#biomass#and#diversity,#seen#here#(Figure#1#above)#in#the#low#counts#of#all#the#
different#types#of#microorganisms#included.#From#the#raw#data,#the#total#microbial#biomass#and#
diversity#indices#for#the#veld#samples#are#shown#in#the#small#table#below.#
Table#…:#Total#microbial#biomass#and#diversity#indices#for#the#veld#samples#
Village'
Total'microbial'
biomass'(ng/g)'
Diversity'
index'
Rating'
Microbial'respiration'
(ppmC)'
!"#$%&'#(#)
*+,)
-./)
0%%1)
/2.+)
345678(9)
+*2)
-.:)
0%%1)
,2.;)
<=5(78(9)
>??,)
>.>)
0%%1)
>*/.?)
!"#$%&'#(#)@AB)41#86)C)
D8#"9E)
;::*)
>.;*)
!FG9669(4)
+-.*)8(=)2-.?)@H%1)I6%4J)*)
8(=):)19JI9G4#'96KE)
#
The#results#for#all#three#veld#samples#show#a#poor#rating,#with#low#microbial#biomass#and#low#
microbial#diversity.#In#the#table,#they#are#compared#with#a#CA#maize#trial#in#Ezibomvini#(7th#yr#
CA),#which#is#an#averaged#value#for#two#CA#maize#plots#and#is#considered#a#reasonably#typical#
example#of#the#soil#conditions#in#the#CA#trials,#for#which#the#rating#is#excellent.##
For#all#three#veld#samples#the#microbial#biomass#present#is#very#low#and#is#also#heavily#skewed#
towards# bacteria# and# for# both# Ezibomvini# and# Stulwane# the# results# for# Rhizobia,# Mycorrhiza,#
saprophytes#and#protozoa#were#too#low#to#be#detected#–#so#for#all#intents#and#purposes,#only#
bacteria#were#present.#These#bacterial#populations#were#dominantly#gram#(+)#bacteria.#This#is#
unexpected,#as#undisturbed#soil#is#expected#to#contain#a#better#balance#of#microorganisms#and#a#
larger#diversity#than#disturbed#soil#and#croplands.##
Factors#that#suppress#fungi#and#Arbuscular#Mycorrhiza#(AM)#in#soils#include#low#pH,#high#clay#
content#and#low#organic#matter#content#(Goss#&#deVarennes,#2002).#The#soils#in#this#region#have#
a#very#high#clay#percentage#(40-55%)#and#pH#is#generally#low#at#3,5-4,5.#Organic#matter#content#
is#reasonable#to#high#at#between#3,5-4,8%#on#average.#This#could#indicate#a#natural#suppression#
of#fungi#in#these#high#clay#percentage,#acidic#soils,#which#is#decreased#through#cropping#(including#
liming)#and#in#particular#CA#(including#liming#and#crop#diversification).#It#has#also#been#suggested#
in#recent#research#that#bacteria#suppressive#to#AM#can#be#present#in#soil#(Svenningsen,#et#al.,#
2018).##
In#addition,#significant#reductions#in#soil#moisture,#can#decrease#microbial#populations#in#the#soil#
by#50-80%.#Rainfall#periodicity#and#timing#coupled#to#warming#can#have#a#significant#impact#on#
41#
#
microbial# communities,# primarily# on# the# size# of# the# microbial# communities,# rather# than#
composition.#It#is#also#possible#that#some#populations#may#not#recover#after#a#significant#drought#
period.#Actinomycete#bacteria#in#particular#have#been#found#to#decrease#under#such#conditions#
(Sheik,#et#al.,#2011).#
A#shift#in#the#G#(+)#to#G#()#ratio#may#indicate#stressful#conditions#such#as#low#oxygen,#suboptimal#
pH#or#water#content,#or#low#nutrient#supply.#This#has#been#attributed#to#the#ability#of#many#G#(+)#
bacteria# to# form# spores# that# may# allow# them# to# withstand# certain# environmental# conditions#
(Guckert#et#al.,#1986;#Keynan#and#Sandler,#1983;#Pennanen#et#al.,#1996).#The#lack#of#Rhizobia,#
which#id#Gram#(-)#
Further,#recent#studies#have#indicated#that#transport#and#storage#conditions#of#samples#prior#to#
PLFA# analysis# have# a# significant# effect# on# both# the# microbial# biomass# recorded# as# well# as# the#
proportion# of# different# microbial# populations.# It# has# been# indicated# that# Gram# (-)# bacteria,#
actinomycetes,#AMF#and#saprophytes#are#proportionally#more#affected,#showing#lower#results#in#
samples#that#were#not#either#immediately#lyophilized#(freeze#dried)#or#stored#at#-80°C,#prior#to#
analysis#(Veum,#et#al.,#2019).#This#is#a#factor#which#was#not#considered#by#the#research#team,#who#
have#been#storing#air#dried#samples#at#room#temperature#for#2-4#weeks#prior#to#analysis.#
As# a# result,# consideration# of# the# proportions# of# different# organisms# such# as# G# (-)/G# (+),#
fungi/bacteria#and#AMF/fungi#for#example#have#not#been#undertaken#for#these#results,#to#avoid#
misinterpretations#related#to#the#structure#of#the#microbial#population.#
CA#TRIAL#SAMPLES#
In# Ezibomvini,# Phumelele# Hlongwane’s# CA# trial# plots# have# significantly# higher# populations# of#
bacteria,#actinomycetes,#fungi,#AM#and#saprophytes#than#the#veld#baseline#sample.##Rhizobia#and#
protozoal#populations#are#however#still#low.#
In# both# Ndunwane# and# Stulwane# the# CA# trial# plots# have# significantly# higher# populations# of#
bacteria,#actinomycetes,#fungi,#and#saprophytes#than#the#veld#baseline#sample.#Here#AM,#rhizobia#
and#protozoal#populations#are#still#low.##
For# all# three# villages,# there# are# differences# in# microbial# populations# between# the# different# CA#
treatments#(Maize,#M+B,#B,#M+CP#and#CA#controls),#but#they#do#not#appear#to#follow#any#kind#of#
pattern.#It#is#not#possible#to#indicate#whether#any#of#these#crops#or#crop#combinations#within#the#
CA#plots#have#a#distinct#effect#on#the#microbial#populations,#but#it#is#inferred#for#these#results#that#
these#differences#are#negligible#when#compared#to#climatic#conditions#which#have#a#much#greater#
impact.#
Comparison#between#2018/19#and#2019/20#
The#same#protocols#were#followed#in#2018/19#n#taking#PLFA#samples#from#CA#trial#plots,#CA#
control#plots#and#veld#samples#for#2#individuals#in#Ezibomvini#and#Ndunwane#respectively.#
Below#the#veld#samples#for#2018/19#and#2019/20#are#compared#for#Ezibomvini#and#Ndunwane.#
The#assumption#is#that#as#samples#were#taken#in#the#same#place,#in#the#same#way#and#that#no#
change#in#the#land#use#management#component#is#involved,#that#the#samples#should#be#similar#
across#the#two#seasons#and#that#the#structure#of#the#microbial#populations#should#also#be#similar.#
#
42#
#
Table 16: Comparison of PLFA analysis for veld samples across two villages for 2018 and 2019
'
Ndunwane'
Ezibomvini'
ng/g'soil'
Veld'2018'
Veld'2019'
Veld'2018'
Veld'2019'
Bacteria'biomass'
>+;;.?;)
;>>.?)
??*/.;;)
++.:)
Actinomycetes'biomass'
??;.*)
*+.;)
;/2./)
-.-)
Gram'(-)''
**.:/)
/-.-)
:-+.:*)
?>.2)
Rhizobia'
-.-)
-.-)
>?2.-;)
-.-)
Fungi'
;?>./,)
>;.*)
>>*;.??)
-.-)
Arbuscular'Mycorrhizal'(AM)'
2,.>?)
-.-)
>/-./,)
-.-)
Saprophytes'
?*;.22)
>;.*)
:,?.++)
-.-)
Protozoa'biomass'
>?.:2)
-.-)
?:./>)
-.-)
Gram'(+)'
;-.?2)
?+>.?)
?2.-2)
?;.;)
Undifferentiated'
>>?,.+/)
:-+.-)
>/*-.>/)
*-;.?)
#
The#results#indicate#a#sharp#reduction#in#measured#microbial#population#biomass#from#2018#/19#
to#2019/20#for#all#populations#except#Gram#(+)#bacteria,#which#shows#an#increase#in#Ndunwane#
and# a# very# slight# reduction# in# Ezibomvini.# From# the# arguments# already#presented# above# for#
factors#influencing#microbial#biomass;#soil#properties,#soil#moisture#and#handling#of#samples,#the#
factor#that#has#changed#for#these#two#seasons#is#the#soil#moisture.#The#percentage#reduction#of#
microbial# populations# is# seen# to# be# between# 70%-100%# according# to# the# data# provided.# Soil#
moisture#related#reduction#in#microbial#biomass#has#been#estimated#to#be#between#50-80%#in#
the#literature#(Abawi#&#Widmer,#2000),#(Goss#&#deVarennes,#2002).#
This,#in#effect,#makes#it#very#difficult#to#compare#samples#across#seasons,#if#the#intention#is#to#
ascertain#changes#in#microbial#populations#related#to#changes#in#tillage#and#cropping#patterns,#as#
the#soil#moisture#stress#has#a#much#more#pronounced#effect#on#the#results.#
Yields'
Yield# measurements# are# undertaken# annually# for# both# the# CA# trial# options# (maize,# beans,#
cowpeas,#summer#cover#crops)#and#CA#control#(maize#only)#plots.##
For#maize#the#cob#and#grain#weight#for#each#participant#is#averaged#prior#to#a#count#of#the#number#
of#cobs#per#50kg#bag#and#then#a#count#of#the#no#of#bags#per#plot,#to#estimate#the#yields.##Maize#is#
assumed#to#be#between#70-80%#dry,#based#on#visual#assessments#made#in#the#field#and#this#is#
taken#into#account#in#the#final#yield#calculations.#
This#season#yields#were#estimated#for#77#participants#across#10#villages#in#Bergville.#Yields#for#
cowpeas#as#well#as#the#summer#cover#crops#(sunflower,#Sun#hemp#and#millet)#were#too#low#to#
record.#Legume#and#SCCs#did#not#fare#well#this#season,#due#to#the#late#onset#of#rains,#followed#by#
high#rainfall#later#in#the#season.#Weed#growth#often#outcompeted#these#crops.#Weeding#was#not#
undertaken# and# harvesting# was# delayed# in# favour# of# the# “food# crops”,# to# a# point# where# bird#
damage#accounted#for#100%#of#the#yield.#This#was#due#to#the#lateness#of#the#season#but#primarily#
was#an#outcome#of#the#COVID-19#lockdown,#where#participants#had#limited#access#to#their#fields#
and#were#focussed#a#lot#more#on#their#immediate#food#needs#than#is#usually#the#case.#
43#
#
This#season,#measuring#of#maize#yields#was#undertaken#for#10#of#the#17#villages.#The#decision#was#
based# on# the# observation# that# in# a# number# of# villages,# participants# reverted# to# single# crop#
planting,#when#not#‘directed”#by#the#MDF#staff#to#include#the#multi-cropping#options.#Due#to#the#
large#number#of#villages#supported,#MDF#staff#asked#most#of#the#learning#groups#to#undertake#the#
planting#of#their#CA#trials#themselves,#as#all#participants#have#had#experience#of#this.##
The# single# cropped,# wide# spaced# plantings# of# maize,# did# not# do# well# this# season# and# thus# a#
strategic#decision#not#to#include#these#villages#(Thunzini,#Emafefetheni,#Okhombe,# Nsuka,# and#
Emganweni)#was#made.#
Figure 10: Above Left; Single crop maize planted in a CA trial plot, to wide spacing in Thunzini and Above Right: the same
situation in Emafefetheni)
From#the#table#below#outlining#the#maize#yields#for#70#participants#(of#77#for#whom#yields#were#
checked,#10%#had#zero#yield)#the#average#yield#for#maize#for#the#CA#trial#plots#is#3,6t/ha#and#for#
the#CA#control#plots#is#(2,8t/ha).#CA#control#plots#have#been#planted#to#a#monocrop#of#maize#under#
CA.#The#average#yield#for#beans#was#1t/ha.#And#the#average#number#of#years#involved#in#CA#was#
4#years.#
Table 17: CA trial and control yields for 70 participants across 10 villages in Bergville; 2019-2020
Village'
Name'and'surname'
Yrs'
under'CA'
CA'trial'
yield'
(t/ha)'
CA'
control'
yield'
(t/ha)'
Beans'
(t/h)'
Max'
maize'
(CA'trial)'
Max'
maize'
(CA'
control)'
Ezibomvini)
)
Phumelele)Hlongwane)
6)
6,14)
3,49)
)
12,8)
8,7)
Zodwa)Zikode)
6)
5,16)
)
)
)
)
Masekwana)Gumede)
6)
4,79)
)
)
)
)
Gcinile)Zikode)
5)
2,79)
)
)
)
)
Tozifikile)Zikode)
5)
3,92)
)
)
)
)
Nonlhanhla)Zikode)
4)
0,49)
)
)
)
)
Thoko)Hlatshwayo)
3)
3,48)
1,32)
)
)
)
Sayinile)Hadebe)
3)
1,97)
)
)
)
)
Eqeleni)
)
Thombakhe)Zikode)
7)
3,78)
3,85)
)
)
)
Smepi)Hlatshwayo)
7)
2,29)
)
1,09)
)
)
Tolwephi)Mabaso)
7)
6,51)
)
)
)
)
Nomavila)Ndaba)
7)
4,81)
)
)
)
)
Thulile)Zikode)
7)
6,01)
)
0,7)
)
)
Sizeni)Dlamini)
6)
5,05)
)
1,3)
)
)
Stulwane)
)
Cuphile)Buthelezi)
7)
3,71)
)
2,2)
)
)
Khulekani)Dladla)
7)
6,71)
)
0,5)
)
)
Dlezakhe)Hlongwane)
7)
2,56)
1,1)
)
)
)
44#
#
Nelisiwe)Msele)
6)
9,15)
3,04)
1,31)
)
)
Bangeni)Dlamini)
6)
1,38)
3,24)
1,13)
)
)
Khethabahle)Miya)
5)
3,48)
)
0,12)
)
)
Nothile)Zondi)
5)
3,95)
)
0,75)
)
)
Matolozana)Gumi)
4)
3,43)
)
0,97)
)
)
Ntombifuthi)Mkhize)
4)
2,78)
)
)
)
)
Hluphizwe)Zondo)
4)
4,32)
3,47)
1,37)
)
)
Fikile)Hlatshwayo)
3)
2,48)
1,87)
)
)
)
Dombolo)Dladla)
3)
4,1)
)
1,5)
)
)
Eunic)Mkhize)
2)
2,67)
)
2,03)
)
)
Thembi)Mpinga)
2)
2,85)
)
)
)
)
Kamfo)Dladla)
2)
0,18)
)
)
)
)
Ndunwane)
)
Boniwe)Hlatshwayo)
5)
5,15)
8,70)
)
)
)
Shiyiwe)Zondo)
5)
2,06)
2,26)
)
)
)
Matozo)Zondo)
5)
2,27)
1,85)
)
)
)
Makhu)Mdluli)
5)
1,5)
)
)
)
)
Alexina)Hlongwane)
5)
1,68)
1,21)
)
)
)
Elizabeth)Hlongwane)
5)
1,81)
2,08)
)
)
)
Lethiwe)Zimba)
2)
2,90)
)
)
)
)
Vimbukhalo)
)
Sibongile)Mphulo)
6)
5,63)
)
1,15)
)
)
Mthobo)Dlodlo)
4)
3,04)
0,91)
)
)
)
Zweni)Ndaba)
4)
0,7)
)
)
)
)
Jerom)Ndaba)
3)
4,11)
)
)
)
)
Bangeni)Ndaba)
2)
1,18)
)
)
)
)
Dubeleni)Hlongwane)
2)
0,04)
)
)
)
)
Gebezile)Zondo)
2)
2,89)
)
)
)
)
Mahlathini)
)
Sibongile)Zikode)
3)
3,37)
)
0,38)
)
)
Sibongile)Hlongwane)
3)
1,87)
)
)
)
)
Buyisiwe)Hlongwane)
3)
8,49)
4,43)
0,34)
)
)
Phumzile)Nyoka)
3)
0,17)
)
)
)
)
Xolile)Zikode)
3)
0,36)
)
0,25)
)
)
Buyisiwe)Sithebe)
3)
3,14)
)
1,6)
)
)
Emadakaneni)
)
)
Xolisile)Gambu)
3)
4,13)
)
1,5)
)
)
Thabile)Hlongwane)
3)
4,18)
)
0,98)
)
)
Kwanele)Hlongwane)
3)
3,21)
)
)
)
)
Phetheni)Dladla)
3)
4,23)
)
1)
)
)
Dumazile)Hlongwane)
3)
7,36)
)
1,35)
)
)
Fikile)Hadebe)
3)
7,46)
)
)
)
)
Nokuthula)Mabasa)
3)
3,38)
)
0,87)
)
)
Thamela)
)
Balekile)Zwane)
4)
1,94)
)
)
)
)
Aron)Bhengu)
4)
5,29)
)
0,4)
)
)
Cabangile)Hlongwane)
3)
4,25)
2,5)
1,25)
)
)
Thoko)Mdluli)
3)
0,82)
)
0,63)
)
)
Dombi)Ntuli)
4)
4,14)
)
)
)
)
Ngoba)
)
Thembelani)Hlongwane)
5)
1,3)
)
1,25)
)
)
Vimbephi)Dladla)
5)
2,79)
2,9)
)
)
)
Lindiwe)Zondo)
5)
4)
)
)
)
)
Ntombenhle)Hlongwane)
5)
1,70)
)
)
)
)
Emabunzini)
)
Valindaba)Khumalo)
4)
4,88)
)
)
)
)
Bonisiwe)Nene)
4)
3,33)
)
)
)
)
Hlezephi)Ndaba)
4)
7,39)
)
)
)
)
Florence)Ndaba)
4)
4,33)
)
)
)
)
Victoria)Nqubuka)
4)
5,16)
)
)
)
)
Kanduna)Hlongwane)
4)
5,72)
)
)
)
)
AVERAGES'
4'
3,6'
2,8'
1,0'
)
)
)
These# yields# are# generally# disappointingly# low,# but# the# large# percentage# of# participants# who#
received#no#yields#and#very#low#yields#attests#to#the#difficult#climatic#conditions#of#the#seasonL))#
45#
#
Figure 11:Above Left; Mrs Nelisiwe Msele’s CA trial plot yields divided per plot for weighing and Above right; Phumelele
Hlonwane’s yield divided per plot for weighing. These two farmers realised high average yields of 9,15 and 6,14t/ha
respectively.
#
Figure 12: Above left; Placing cobs in bags to weigh and Above right; Lethiwe Zimba’s maize yield, which she did not
separate by plot, stored in a traditional structure.
A#difference#was#also#noticed#in#terms#of#grain#quality#for#the#CA#
trial#and#CA#control#plots.#In#cases#where#the#same#variety#was#
planted,#(generally#either#PAN#6479#or#PAN53)#in#the#trial#and#
control#plots,#it#was#noted#that#the#cobs#for#the#control#plots#were#
generally#smaller#and#not#as#well#filled#as#the#trial#maize.##
Figure 13: Right; CA trial maize cobs (left0 compared with control cobs (right), for
Smephi Hlatshwayo (Eqeleni)
In#cases#where#participants#planted#their#own#seed#in#the#control#
plots#(a#mixture#of#“traditional,#OPV#and#self-#kept#hybrid#seed),#
the#difference#in#cob#quality#were#also#distinct.#
.#
46#
#
#
!
!
#
When# the# average# yields# for# participants# is# compared# with# their# length# of# involvement# in# CA#
implementation#(between#2#to#7#years),#if#was#found#that#there#is#a#general#increase#in#yield#linked#
to#number#of#years#of#involvement,#starting#with#an#average#of#1,8t/ha#for#2nd#year#participants#
and#ending#with#an#average#yield#of#4,5t/ha#for#7th#year#participants.#A#similar#trend#cannot#be#
seen#for#the#CA-controls#which#have#remained#reasonable#constant#at#2,5t/ha#for#3rd#year#and#7th#
year#participants,#as#shown#in#the#line#figure#below.##
The#difference#in#treatments#between#CA#trial#plots#and#CA#control#plots#is#that#the#latter#has#been#
planted#to#maize#only#throughout#and#there#may#be#further#differences#in#fertilizer#application#
and#seed#type#
!
Figure 15: Yield averages for CA trial and control maize for participants’ in their 2ndto 7thyear of implementation.
The#reasons#for#the#lower#yields#for#5th#year#participants#for#whom#weighing#was#done#(n=13),#
compared#to#6th#year#(n=7)#and#7th#year#(n=8)#are#a#bit#of#a#mystery.#Results#for#each#participant#
and#each#village#are#not#necessarily#directly#comparable,#due#to#differences#in#implementation#for#
each#participant#farmer.#We#thus#did#a#comparison#of#yields#for#this#season#across#the#villages#to#
ascertain# how# big# these# differences# are.#As# shown# in# the# figure# below,# these# differences# are#
reasonably#substantial;#between#2,4#to#5,1t/ha#for#the#CA#trial#plots#and#0,9#to#4,4#t/ha#for#the#CA#
control# plots.# A# lot# of# this# variation# has# depended# on# how# well# the# CA# principles# have# been#
implemented#over#time.#
234567
Average of CA trial yield (t/ha)1,8 3,6 3,8 2,7 5,3 4,5
Average of CA control yield
(t/ha) 2,5 2,2 3,2 3,3 2,5
0,0
1,0
2,0
3,0
4,0
5,0
6,0
t/ha Maize
Yield for CA trial and control maize for 2nd-7th year participants , 10
villages, N=70
Figure 14: Right; Nelisiwe
Msele’s PAN53 CA trial maize
cobs compared to her
“traditional” CA control maize
cobs. The trial cobs weigh
almost double that of the
‘traditional’ maize.!
47#
#
#
##Figure 16: Average maize yields (t/ha) for CA trial and Ca control plots across 10 villages in Bergville 2019/20.
In#Vimbukhalo,#Ngoba#and#Ndunwane#the#participant#farmers#have#been#slow#to#implement#all#
three#principles#of#CA,#opting#repeatedly#for#wider#spacing#and#single#crop#planting.#Yields#in#
these#three#villages#have#averaged#2,5t/ha#this#season.#Eqeleni,#Ezibomvini#and#Stulwane#are#the#
three#villages#where#participants#have#most#consistently#employed#multiple#cropping#options#and#
rotations#in#their#6years#of#involvement#and#yields#for#these#three#villages#has#averaged#around#
4t/ha#this#season.#
For#the#villages#involved#for#3#to#4#years#in#CA#implementation,#as#similar#trend#can#be#seen;#the#
two# villages# where# participants# did# not# consistently# undertake# multiple# cropping# and# crop#
rotation#options#(Thamela#and#Mahlathini)#the#average#yield#is#around#3,1t/ha#and#for#the#two#
viallges# where# these# options# have# been# included# (Emabunzini# and# Emadakaneni)# the# average#
yield#this#season#is#5#t/ha.##
In# conclusion,# there# isn’t# a# linear# relationship# between# yield# and# length# of# involvement# in# CA#
implementation,#but#there#is#a#definite#trend#for#improved#yields#for#those#participants#who#more#
consistently#included#the#multiple#cropping#options#in#their#CA#trials.##
Short&season&maize&
For# the# 2019/20# season# two# varieties# of# short# season# maize# have# been# included# as# an#
experimentation# option# for# a# small# number# of# participants# (N=15)# in# Stulwane,# Ezibomvini,#
Emabunzini#and#Vimbukhalo.#
The#intention#of#including#short#season#varieties,#was#to#see#whether#these#varieties,#planted#late,#
could#be#an#adaptive#strategy#for#late#onset#of#rains,#as#were#experienced#in#this#season.#Planting#
was#done#in#late#January#(15th-31st#January).#
The#short#season#maize#varieties#included#are:#PAN#5A#291#(medium#early#–#Yellow)#and#PAN#5A#
190#(medium#early–#White).#Both#varieties#flower#at#60#days#after#germination.#
The# short# season# maize# was# used# in# the# strip# cropping# trials,# which# also# included# a# mix# of#
perennial# grass# species##(Smuts# Finger# Grass# (Digitaria# eriantha),# Poor# Man’s# Lucerne,# Bahia#
Grass#(Paspalum#notatum)#“Pensicola”,#Tall#Fescue#(Festuca#arundinacea),)#and#summer#cover#
crops##(Sunflower,#Sun#hemp,#Millet),#depending#on#the#participant#farmer’s#preference.#
Emab
unzini
Emad
akane
ni
Eqele
ni
Ezibo
mvini
Mahla
thini
Ndun
wane
Ngob
a
Stulw
ane
Tham
ela
Vimbu
khalo
Average of CA trial yield (t/ha)5,1 4,9 4,7 3,6 2,9 2,5 2,4 3,6 3,3 2,5
Average of CA control yield(t/ha)3,9 2,4 4,4 3,2 2,9 2,5 2,5 0,9
0,0
1,0
2,0
3,0
4,0
5,0
6,0
t/ha Maize
Average Maize yields across villages; 2019/20 N=70
48#
#
Strips#of#2.5#m#x#10#m#were#planted#alternately#to#maize#and#fodder#species#or#maize#and#SCC.#
Details#have#bene#provided#in#the#interim#report#(March#2020).#
Figure 17: Above Left; Nothile Zondi (Stulwane)plating her strip cropping CA trial on 15thJanuary 2020 and Aboveright;
Monitoring of her CA intercropping trial planted in late November 2019, on the same day.
Measurement#of#yields#were#complicated#by#the#fact#that#the#maize#was#still#too#wet#for#weighing#
in#early#June#when#livestock#were#let#back#into#the#fields.#Participants#opted#to#harvest#and#use#
the# maize# green,# rather# than# losing# their#
harvests# to# the# cattle.# In# addition,# due# to# the#
COVID-19# situation# participants# have# been#
harvesting# green# maize# since# early# May.#
Participants#were#asked#to#keep#a#record#of#the#
no#of#cobs#harvested.#Only#a#few#have#done#so.##In#
addition,#weights#were#reduced#by#20%#due#to#
wetness#of#cobs,#to#provide#an#estimate#of#80%#
dry#weight#of#cobs.#
Figure 18” Right; An example of the shortseason maize cobs at
harvesting it can be seen cobs have not filled completely,
which has been common and also thatthe maizeis still quite
wet.
The#table#below#outlines#the#yields#of#the#short#season#maize#for#three#participants#in#Stulwane.#
Table 18: Yields for maize varieties planted at different times for
!
2019/20!
CA-!
Maize!
(PAN!
6479)!
CA-
Control!
(PAN!
6479)!
CA-Short!
season!
maize!
(Y)!
PAN5A-
291!
CA-Short!
season!!
Maize!
(W)!
PAN5A-
190!
Beans!
(late!
season)!
Sun!
hemp!
Forage!
sorghum!
!"#$%&'()*+,&
-(.$/+0#&
1#$"2"/#&32#$#&
4567&
859:&
;57<&
&
6568&
9586&
95=<&
&
>.?*"$#&
@.(*#$#A"&
85<6&
&
B54=&
B58=&
B5B&
&
&
&
1C(*"$#&DC0%"&
8547&
&
759B&
&
95<7&
&
95==&
&
E*.$#F+0"&
G$+%$+&
;5<6&
&
&
75<;&
95=&&
&
&
HI#$#0"&
1(CJK+F*#&
D"FC%#&
85<=&
85=7&
&
:5=;&
&
&
&
#
49#
#
From#the#table#it#can#be#seen#from#the#estimated#yields#for#the#short#season#maize,#which#are#not#
very#accurate,#that#the#yields#were#comparable#to#the#longer#season#maize#planted#in#November.#
Late#planting#of#beans#has#also#provided#for#a#comparable#yield#to#the#early#planting#yield;#average#
of#1t/ha,#in#both#cases.#
Early#and#late#planting#of#beans#and#late#planting#of#short#season#maize,#thus#provide#for#viable#
alternatives# to# increase#production# under# conditions# of# late# onset# rain# and# seasonal# rainfall#
variability.#
A"few"farmers’"observations"
1.Phumelele# Hlongwane# tried# out# the# use# of# mud# painted# onto# her# maize# stems# as# a#
stalkborer#control#strategy.#She#attests#to#this#working#well.#
2.Valindaba#Khumalo#from#Vimbukhalo#commented#that#she#has#stopped#the#practices#of#
placing# two# seeds# per# planting# hole# for# maize,# as# both# germinate,# but# then# produce#
weaker#plants.#She#is#now#convinced#that#one#seed#per#planting#hole#provides#for#better#
overall#yields.#
3.Smephi#Hlatshwayo#has#continued#to#experiment#with#crossing#different#kinds#of#maize.#
Although# her# ‘experimentation’# is# potentially# questionable# scientifically,# she# remains#
convinced#that#crossing#her#traditional#maize#
with#hybrids#provides#for#a#stronger#strain#of#
“traditional”#maize.##
Figure 19: Right Smephi Hlatshwayo’s new “traditional”maize (two
cobs towards the top of the picture) crossed with PAN53, provided
‘better’ looking cobs than the PAN53 itself (cob towards the bottom
of the picture)
Cover'crops'
Cover!Crop!experimentation!!
Summer#cover#crops#consisting#of#a#mix#of#sunflower,#Sun#hemp,#millet#as#well#as#turnips#were#
distributed#at#a#rate#of#50#kg/ha#translating#0.5#kg#/#100#m2,#to#participating#farmers.#These#were#
planted#in#rows#predominately#in#separate#100m2#CA#plots,#but#on#occasion#as#tramline#intercrops#
with# maize.# Below# is# a# list# of# participants# who# undertook# cover# crop# experimentation# for# the#
2019/20#season.#
Village!
Number!of!Participants!
-(.$/+0#&
B6&
HI#$#0"&
69&
HA"KCJL"0"&
67&
1%.0/+0+&
9B&
M*+J#$+&
98&
1NCK+&
9B&
O"JK.F*+$C&
9;&
HJ+K.0A"0"&
9B&
HJ+A"JK#0"&
9;&
3*$/+A"0"&
9B&
HJ+*$+(*"0"&
96&
Total!
62!
#
In#total,#62#participants#undertook#cover#crop#experimentation.#
50#
#
Stulwane!
Cover#crop#experimentation#in#Stulwane#consisted#of#the#following:#
Practice!
Description!
P0(#QRQC?&
3+"A#&S&@#+025&3+"A#&S&>C/?#+&
-C$#&>QC?&
@#+025&GC$"R*C25&>C/?#+&
G"L#Q2"T"R+("C0&&
-.0T$C/#Q5&-.00*#J?5&3"$$#(5&M.Q0"?2&&
-(Q"?&RQC??"0N&
-.0T$C/#Q5&-.00*#J?5&3"$$#(&
#
Most#of#the#participants#have#done#well#to#maintain#their#plots#and#more#specifically#the#food#crop#
plots.#In#some#cases,#lack#of#weeding#was#evident#in#the#cover#crop#plots#
Figure 20:Above left; SCC mix for Nothile Zondi weedy withpatchygermination and growth, Above centre; a similar situation
for Cuphile Buthelezi’s Lab-Lab plot, Above Right; Cuphile’s intercropped plots of maize and SCC mix, growing very well.
#
Figure 21: Above Left; SCC mix for Matholozana Gumbi, growing reasonably well, despite heavy weed load, Above centre; her
beans only plot and Above right; Ntombifuthi Mkhize’s beans only CA plot.
51#
#
#
Figure 22: Right and Far Right; Mtholeni
Dlamini’SLab-lab plot and his SCC mix plot
in his CA trial; both well- tended and
growing well.
!
!
Emabunzini!
Valindaba!Khumalo!
The# small# table# below# provides#
an#outline#of#Valindaba’s#rotation#
and#planting#of#her#CA#trial#plots#for#2018#and#2019#
Description!
2019/2020!
2018/2019!
U$C(&6&
3&
@&
U$C(&B&
3V@&
@&
U$C(&8&
3V>&
WW&
U$C(&:&
3&
WW&
U$C(&7&
3&
3&
U$C(&;&
->>&
3&
Note:#In#the#2019/2020#season#her#cover#crop#plots#consisted#
of#four#(4)#rows#scc#mix#(sunflower,#Sun#hemp,#millet)#and#
four#(4)#rows#of#turnips#
Figure 23:Right; Valindaba’s SCC mix plot (sunflower, Sunhemp and Millet)
'
Crop-livestock'integration'
Strip&cropping&
An#experimental#layout#plan#was#considered#as#follows:#Strip;#2,5m#x#10#m,#with#4#rows/strip.#
Seeding#rate#20kg/ha#–#thus#50g#per#strip#for#perennials.##
M8N#8)O18JJ)@09(J#G%68E)
D8#"9)@3N%14)J98J%(E)
0%%1)&8(PJ)Q5G91(9)@Q9JI9=9"8E)
D8#"9)@3N%14)J98J%(E)
D%%#1#'91)&#F)@R#O#491#8)JIIE)
D8#"9)@3N%14)J98J%(E)
S866)H9JG59)@T9J45G8)815(=#(8G98E)
#
#
52#
#
Below#is#a#list#of#participants#who#wanted#to#undertake#the#experiments.#
Village!
Name!and!surname!
Strip! cropping! with! SCC!
(and!cutting!for!hay)!
Strip! cropping! with! perennial!
grasses!and!legumes!
HA"KCJL"0"&
U*.J#$#$#&X$C0N/+0#&
!&
!&
&
1(CJK#0*$#&X$C0N/+0#&
!&
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O"JK.F*+$C&
-"KC0N"$#&3?.$C&
!&
&
HJ+K.0A"0"&
O+$"0%+K+&E*.J+$C&
!&
!&
-(.$/+0#&
1#$"2"/#&32#$#&
&
!&
&
E*#(*+K+*$#&3"Y+&
!&
!&
&
>.?*"$#&@.(*#$#A"&
!&
!&
&
1C(*"$#&DC0%"&
!&
&
&
Z"F"$#&X$+(2*/+YC&
!&
!&
&
U*+2+A"$#&-"(*#K#&
!&
!&
&
E*.$#F+0"&G$+%$+&
!&
!&
&
G$#A+F*#&X$C0N/+0#&
&
!&
&
M*.$+0"&G$+J"0"&
!&
!&
&
3(*C$#0"&G$+J"0"&
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!&
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3+(C$CA+0+&[.JK"&
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GCJK"&G$+J"0"&
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GCJKC$C&G$+J"0"&
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!&
#
Strip#cropping#trials#were#initiated#in#the#middle#of#January#2020.##Ten#of#the#fifteen#volunteers#
planted# their# strip# cropping# trials.# # Germination# of# the# grass# species# was# however# extremely#
patchy#and#quite#low#in#most#cases.#Some#of#the#plots#were#over-run#by#weeds,#at#which#point#
neither#the#farmers#nor#the#facilitators#could#identify#the#grass#species#from#the#weed#species.##
Figure 24: Above Left; Nothile Zondi’sstrip cropping trial with the short season maize strips growing vigorously and the
Lespedeza strip showing some growth Above right; the Mooiriver mix (Digiteria) did not germinate
53#
#
#
Figure 25: Right; An overgrowth of weeds in Thulani
Dlamini’s strip cropping trialplot made identification of the
planted grass species virtually impossible.
#
#
#
#
#
Khulekani#Dladla#made#an#attempt#to#deal#with#the#hot#dry#conditions#in#his#strip#cropping#trial#
plot#by#mulching,#which#helped#and#he#managed#to#get#the#Lesepdeza#and#Pensacola#(Tall#Fescue)#
to#grow.#
Figure 26: Above Left; Kulekhani Dladla mulched his strip cropping trail and Above Right; germination and initial growth for
Pensacola (Bahia grass) was promising, upon monitoring in early March 2020
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
Figure 27Above Left; Mtholeni Dlamini’s Bahia grass growing very well in a strip between late season beans and short season
maize.It appears soilmoisture conditions in his field were much better and we suspected an underground spring or high
water-table here. Above Right; Thulile Zikode’s Bahia grass 8 weeks after germination(early April)
#
54#
#
It#was#decided#to#re-plant#Lespedeza#in#early#March#2020#by#the#following#participants,#as#rain#
was#unusually#plentiful#this#late#in#the#season.#
Participant'
Re-planted'
Date''
0N5&96969)U6%(O78(9)
Q9JI9=9"8)
>,V-;V?-?-)
<4%&$9(N69)W#X%=9)
Q9JI9=9"8)
>:V-;)
YN569X8(#)R6868)
Q9JI9=9"8)
>:V-;)
YN94N8$8N69)D#K8)
Q9JI9=9"8)
?-V-;)
SN568(#)R68&#(#)
Q9JI9=9"8)
>:V-;)
<%4N#69)W%(=#)
Q9JI9=9"8)
>:V-;)
3$%(O#69)056%)
Q9JI9=9"8)
>:V-;)
Z86#(=8$8)YN5&86%)
Q9JI9=9"8)
>:V-;)
SN56#69)W#X%=9)
Q9JI9=9"8)
>/V-;)
<4%&$8XN9)W#X%=9)
Q9JI9=9"8)
?>V-;)
#
#
#
#
#
Figure 28: Above left; Thulile Zikode’s Lesepdeza, planted in mid-Marchgerminated and grew well.Above right; the same
plot 10weeks after germination (early June)
From# the# figure# above# and# also# from# comments# farmers# made,# the# fodder# species# that#
germinated,#established#well,#but#grew#very#little#in#the#following#months,#was#mostly#an#effect#of#
planting#so#late#in#the#season.#
In#conclusion,#further#experimentation#with#strip#cropping#only#makes#sense#if#participants#can#
plant#earlier#in#the#season,#with#careful#management#and#weeding.#The#two#most#likely#options#
to#continue#with#(those#crops#that#were#hardy#enough#to#survive#this#season)#are#Lespdezza#and#
Tall#Fescue#grass.#The#Mooiriver#mix#only#survived#for#one#participant.##
Fodder&supplementation&and&hay&production&
This#season,#the#learning#groups#in#Stulwane,#Eqeleni#and#Ezibomvini#were#assisted#through#the#
acquisition#of#a#brush#cutter,#to#be#able#to#cut#veld#grass#to#make#a#reasonable#number#of#bales#
each.#In#addition,#a#manual#baler#has#been#donated#to#these#learning#groups;#meaning#that#both#
Ezibomvini#and#Stulwane#now#have#access#to#these#manual#balers.#
A#repetition#of#the#experimental#process#of#mixing#winter#fodder#supplements#with#hay#bales#for#
feeding#experiments#have#been#undertaken.#
- 4ml#of#LS#33#to#half#a#bale#of#grass/#day#/#livestock#unit#and#
- 1#cup#(250mL)#of#Premix#450#to#half#a#bale#of#grass/#day#/#livestock#unit.#
55#
#
Participating#farmers#will#keep#detailed#records#of#the#number#of#cows#fed#alongside#the#number#
of#days#feeding#was#done.#They#will#also#use#the#body#condition#score#sheet#to#decide#when#to#
start# feeding# their#animals# and# for# keeping# track# of# condition# improvement# due# to# the#
supplementary# feeding# process.# Healthy# and# stronger# animals# will# be# used# as# a# control# and#
feeding#will#be#provided#to#pregnant#or#lactating#cows#and#weaker#/#thinner#individuals.##
Stulwane)
Thulani!Dlamini:!!He#has#made#17#bales,#with#
another# 20# to# be# done.# He# has# made# 10# veld#
grass,# bales# and# another# 7# with# a# mixture# of#
lablab# and# bean# stover.# # He# will# feed# 4# (2#
lactating#cows#with#calves)#of#his#17#cattle,#with#
premix#450#and#LS33##
Khulekani! Dladla:! Would# like# to# feed# 7# new#
calves#he#has#bought#
Dlezakhe! Hlongwane:! Will# feed# 4# of# his# 16#
cattle.#
Eqeleni!
Ntombakhe!Zikode:!She#has#collected#and#stored#her#bean#stover#(~25#bales’#worth)#and#will#
feed#two#lactating#cows#and#two#calves#and#keep#one#cow#as#a#control.#She#will#use#premix#450#
and#has#already#bought#2x50kg#bags.#
Ezibomvini!
Phumelele!Hlongwane:!!She#has#made#30#bales;#6#bales#with#sorghum#and#24#with#veld#grass.#
She#is#going#to#feed#with#LS33#as#supplement.#She#Will#feed#one#lactating#cow#with#2#calves#and#
her#other#3#cows#are#to#be#her#control.#
Ntombenhle!Hlongwane:!!She#has#cut#veld#grass#to#make#around#17#bales.!She#will#feed#her#4#
lactating#cows#and#calves#(of#a#total#of#17#cows#in#her#herd).#She#is#planning#to#use#both#LS33#and#
premix#450.#
#
56#
#
Figure 29: Above left; Ntombakhe’s enclosure for storage of bean stover, Above centre; Phumelele Hlongwane making bales
and Above Right; Completed bales.
Farmer'Centres'
The# farmer# centres# in# Ezibomvini,# Eqeleni,# Nduwana,# Stulwane# and# Emabunzini# are# all#
functioning#and#making#a#small#profit#for#their#owners.##
Records#are#kept#of#inputs#and#stock#bought#by#each#farmer#centre#and#the#assumption#is#made#
that#all#stock#is#sold#over#time.#It#is#tricky#to#try#and#understand#sales#records,#as#many#of#the#
farmers#buy#on#credit#and#pay#back#small#amounts#over#time.#Due#to#COVID-19#only#three#of#5#
farmer#centres#are#still#operational.#Below#is#a#table#that#summarizes#inputs#and#stock#bought.#
!
Ezibomvini!
Stulwane!
Emabunzini!
Total! for! Aug!
2019-June!2020!
R21#045,23#
R8#800,00#
R6#697,51#
#
COMMENTS!
Phumelele# included# a#
lot# of# basic# supplies#
and#food#stuff#with#the#
COVID# -19# lockdown.#
As# her# husband# was#
home# from# Gauteng,#
they# had# access# to# his#
vehicle# to# transport#
supplies.#
Nelisiwe#has#included#
fodder#
supplementation#
supplies;# premix# and#
SS33#in#her#stock#
Valindaba#has#run#her#
centre# more# like# a#
spaza# shop# selling#
small# quantities# of#
matches,#biscuits#and#
sweets.#
#
Figure 30: Two views ofPhumelele Hlongwane’s farmer
Centre in Ezibomvini, indicating how she has branched out into general supplies alongside the agricultural inputs.
57#
#
Village'Savings'and'Loan'Associations'
A#review#process#was#undertaken#during#the#COVID-19#lockdown#to#understand#the#impact#on#
the#VSLAs#and#also#to#suggest#focussing#on#savings#only#in#the#short#term#as#a#social#protection#
strategy#in#these#uncertain#times.#
Below#is#a#summary#of#the#responses,#according#to#the#themes#discussed#in#the#groups:#
1.Adapting!Savings!Methodology!
None#of#the#Savings#Groups#wanted#to#make#any#changes#to#the#current#savings#methodology.#
They#do#not#want#to#use#banks.#They#maintain#that#banks#are#expensive#and#would#drive#the#cost#
for#operating#Savings#Groups#up.#They#are#very#aware#of#transactional#costs#and#mainly#transport#
and#bank#fees.#They#maintain#that#the#status#quo#will#remain,#as#it#has#worked#for#them.##
Members#raised#concerns#about#their#affordability#in#terms#of#buying#of#shares#and#repayment#of#
loans.#However,#members#that#receive#social#grants#were#less#concerned#about#this.#Only#those#
members# that# are# self-employed# and# that# took# “business# loans”# before# the# lockdown#were#
concerned#and#worried#because#they#never#got#a#chance#to#make#any#sales#during#the#lockdown.####
It#was#interesting#to#note#and#confirm#a#clear#link#between#share-out#and#buying#of#farming#inputs#
in#November#and#December.#It#is#for#this#reason#that#groups#also#did#not#want#to#move#the#share-
out#month#(November)#to#any#future#date.#Main#reasons#were:#
§Food#security#would#be#compromised.#Yields#would#be#reduced.#Some#farmers#wouldnot#be#
able#to#produce.##
§Some#farmers#would#be#trapped#in#using#additional/more#money#for#household#food#–#and#
such#may#impact#negatively#in#participating#in#Savings#Groups.#
§Enterprise#development#would#be#affected#negatively.##
#
2.Government!Support!
Members#were#clear#that#little#to#no#support#was#received#from#Government#during#the#lockdown#
period.#Not#one#of#the#members#had#received#food#parcels#or#any#other#support.#Extension#officers#
were#conspicuous#in#their#absence.#There#was#a#strong#perception#that#historically,#public#sector#
employees#only#support#friends#and#those#who#would#provide#kickbacks#for#them.#Farmers#were#
very#clear#that#support#only#comes#from#non-governmental#organisations#and#mainly#MDF.#The#
implication#is#that#MDF#should#mobilise#additional#funding#and#partners.#
3.New!Opportunities!
Farmers#were#clear#about#opportunities#that#are#brought#by#COVID-19.#In#the#main,#these#are#
primary#production#and#basic#food#processing.#Some#farmers#requested#maize#(grain)#storage#
tanks.#A#request#for#mixed#broilers#was#made#in#Emmaus.#The#following#should#be#considered#by#
MDF#going#forward:#
§There#is#a#need#to#repackage#our#support#for#developing#Farmer#Centres#and#registered#co-
operatives.##
§There#is#a#need#to#mobilise#funding#for#farming#inputs#including#access#to#water#supply#and#
fencing.#
58#
#
§There#is#a#need#to#facilitate#(help#farmers)#to#sell#their#produce#locally#in#their#communities.#
Farmer#Centres#are#better#placed#for#getting#into#local#markets.##
4.General!
Other#issues#that#were#raised#are;#
§Farmers#will#consider#co-operative#buying#beyond#farming#inputs.#This#in#connection#with#
buying#of#groceries#(dry#stuff)#from#town.#
§Theft#of#produce#is#becoming#a#new#challenge.#It#is#alleged#that#non-farmers#are#stealing#maize#
from#open#fields.#This#was#confirmed#in#all#areas#including#Madzikane.##
In# conclusion,# farmers# are# better# positioned# to# produce# more# and# supply# their# immediate#
markets#(communities).#Farmers#have#requested#that#MDF#becomes#their#mouthpiece#in#raising#
strategic#issues.##
#The#table#below#provides#a#summary#of#savings#and#loans#for#18#VSLAs#in#Bergville#as#of#July#
2020.#
Table 19: Summary of VSLA progress for end July 2020
)
VSLA'
summary'
Jun-20'
'
)
)
)
)
)
No
.)
AREA)
GROUP)NAME))
NO.' OF'
PEOPLE''
#'
SHARES'
BOUGHT'
TODAY'
VALUE' OF'
SHARES'
(TODAY)'
CUM' #'
OF'
SHARES'
VALUE' OF'
TOTAL'
SHARES'
LOAN' REPAID'
TODAY'
1)
Ezibomvini))
Ezibomvini)
19)
35)
R3)500,00)
351)
R35)100,00)
R1'500,00'
2)
Ezibomvini))
Ukuzama))
12)
20)
R2)000,00)
380)
R380)000,00)
R10'500,00'
3)
Emazimbeni)
Nyonyana))
24)
53'
R5,300.00)
551)
R55,100.00)
R6,950.00'
4)
Emabunzini)
Isibonelo))
30)
107)
R10,700.00)
659)
R65)900,00)
R21,360.00'
5)
Eqeleni)
Masibambane))
20)
60)
R60)00.00)
468)
R46)800,00)
R5'000,00'
6)
Eqeleni)
Masithuthuke))
24)
69)
R6)900,00)
590)
R59)000,00)
R10'110,00'
7)
Stulwane))
Mbalenhle))
20)
60)
R60)000,00)
493)
R49)300,00)
R4'360,00'
8)
Ndunwane))
Mpehlandaba))
12)
21)
R2)100,00)
179)
R17)900,00)
R1'870,00'
9)
Emabunzini)
Sakhokuhle))
23)
73)
R7)300,00)
548)
R53)800,00)
R6'460,00'
10)
Vimbukhalo))
Ukhamba))
20)
56)
R5)600,00)
504)
R50)400,00)
R6'850,00'
11)
Stulwane))
Vukuzenzele)
21)
64)
R6)400,00)
444)
R44)400,00)
R6'140,00'
12)
Stulwane))
Umntwana))
38)
102)
R10)200,00)
912)
R91)200,00)
R10'690,00'
13)
Bethany))
Gudlintaba)
24)
90)
R9)000,00)
680)
R68)000,00)
R22'890,00'
14)
Emadakenen
i)
Azam)
11)
10)
R1)000,00)
49)
R4)900,00)
R1'400,00'
15)
Stulwane))
Ithembalethu)
36)
78)
R)7)800,00)
682)
R)68)200,00)
R'7'640,00'
16)
Emahlathini)
Sizakahle)
35)
96)
R)9)600,00)
422)
R)42)200,00)
R'3'460,00'
17)
Stulwane))
Sondelani)
30)
63)
R)6)300,00)
526)
R)52)600,00)
R'6'170,00'
18)
Stulwane))
Thuthukani)
20)
63)
R)6)200,00)
379)
R)37)900,00)
R'3'280,00'
''
Sub-totals'
''
419'
1095'
R109'
500,00'
7868'
R786'800,00'
R108'320,00'
))
Total' VSLA'
value'
))
))
))
))
))
))
R895'120,00'
#
59#
#
Issues'and'recommendations'
1.Subsidy#payments#for#CA#trial#inputs#
The#arrangement#with#the#project#participants#has#been#that#they#pay#a#subsidy#of#around#
33%#towards#the#inputs#provided#for#their#CA#farmer#experimentation#processes,#from#
their#2nd#year#of#participation#onwards.#These#sums#are#ploughed#back#into#the#budget,#to#
ensure#access#for#the#large#number#of#participants.#
In#seasons#with#late#onset#rains,#as#the#present#season#has#been,#the#farmers#are#reluctant#
to#pay#in#their#subsidies#before#the#planting#season#begins,#opting#to#wait#and#see#whether#
planting#will#be#possible#at#all,#which#makes#the#distribution#of#inputs#very#problematic#
when# the# planting# starts# to# happen# in# a# rush.# The# Local# facilitators# are# meant# to# only#
distribute#inputs#to#those#who#have#paid.#This#system#has#been#awkward#and#difficult#to#
manage#and#will#be#discontinued.###
2.Learning#groups#and#CA#experimentation#
The#Bergville#site#has#expanded#to#19#learning#groups#and#over#350#participants#within#
the# horizontal# scaling# process# piloted# as# an# awareness# raising# and# implementation#
strategy# for# CA# in# smallholder# farming# systems.# # As# a# strategy# to# manage# this# many#
participants,#Local#facilitators#have#been#trained#and#mentored#to#assist#their#learning#
groups# in# input# delivery# and# management,# the# CA# experimentation# process# as# well# as#
monitoring#of#crop#growth.#
#
This#process#has#had#mixed#success#with#around#six#of#the#learning#groups#doing#very#well#
(Stulwane,#Eqeleni#,Ezibomvini,#Mhlwazini,#Thamela#and#Vimbukalo).#These#are#also#the#
oldest#groups#who#have#had#the#most#mentoring#and#training#support#from#MDF.##
#
Some# of# the# newer# learning# groups# introduced# form# 2015# onwards,# including#
Emabunzini,#Emafefetheni,#Emazimbeni#and#Nsuka-Zwelisha#have#not#been#given#enough#
attention#by#the#implementation#team#and#have#only#half#grasped#the#CA#principles#and#
experimental#protocols.#
#
A#few#other#groups#have#been#reluctant#to#implement#the#CA#process#as#suggested#and#
have#incorporated#their#own#thinking,#mixed#with#some#ideas#from#KZNDARD#extension#
officers#and#have#mixed#ideas#from#both,#with#limited#success.#They#have#typically#been#
resistant#to#intercropping,#close#spacing#and#hand#weeding#after#crop#establishment#and#
have# tried# various# herbicides# during# crop# growth.# These# groups# include# Ngoba,#
Magangangozi,#Thunzini,#Okhombe#and#Emangweni#
#
It#is#suggested#that#in#future#the#CA#learning#and#experimentation#process#continues#only#
with#the#groups#that#have#done#well#and#potentially#the#newer#learning#groups#and#that#
the#villages#where#there#is#some#resistance#and#confusion#be#removed#into#the#future.#
#
3.Soil#fertility#analysis#(CEDARA)#
It# was# thought# that# it# would# be# possible# to# ascertain# from# these# results# whether# a#
reduction#in#the#need#for#application#of#fertilizer#was#evident#over#a#period#of#time,#in#the#
CA#implementation#process.#This#has#been#a#goal#for#the#experimentation.#
It# has# however# not# been#possible# to# quantify# any# changes# as# differences# in# climatic#
conditions#from#one#year#to#the#next#has#a#much#larger#impact#on#the#soil#fertility#results#
60#
#
than#the#CA#implementation#has.#In#addition,#most#of#the#smallholders#have#not#improved#
their#soil#cover#through#crop#residues#substantially#given#the#local#practice#of#grazing#of#
stover#over#the#winter#months.#This#practice#is#reducing#the#ability#of#the#CA#cropping#
system# to# improve# soil#fertility# and# soil# health# conditions.# This# aspect# of# the# research#
process#will#be#discontinued#in#favour#of#a#much#more#concerted#effort#in#provision#of#soil#
cover#with#analysis#of#the#soil#characteristics#under#these#conditions.##
It#will#mean#working#with#participants#to#provide#fenced#areas#within#which#to#do#these#
experiments.#
#
4.Cover#crops#
The#importance#of#mutli-species#cover#crops#in#mainting#and#imporving#soil#fertility#and#
soil# health# has# come# to# the# fore# in# the# last# few# years.# Unfortunately#there# are# still# no#
coherent#ways#to#produce#seed#for#these#cover#crops#locally#and#the#seed#needs#to#be#
bought;#this#is#problematic#in#the#longer#term,#as#farmers#are#unlikely#to#purchase#the#
seed#for#themselves.##
Thus,#the#strategy#to#integrate#cover#crops#with#livestock#fodder#production#and#design#
and# develop# an# integrated# crop-livestock# system# is# crucial# in# maintenance# of# the# CA#
farming#system#into#the#future.#
A#number#of#aspects#of#fodder#flow#management#still#need#consideration#and#exploration#
5.While#the#exploration#of#soil#health#parameters#has#been#an#interesting#exercise,#it#has#
also#been#very#confusing.#A#more#rigorously#scientific#approach#is#important#going#into#
the#future,#as#is#the#need#to#find#a#local#service#provider#who#can#undertake#the#laboratory#
analysis.#
References'
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#