WHY GROW BERRIES?:
Berries are a high-value, nutrient – dense crop. Farmers grow them for the market to bring in extra cash. Berries are the cherished fruit of every farm, and once planted, they often produce for seasons to come. Find out which berry types will give you instant gratification and which are easy to care for.
They are easy to grow once you get the hang of the pruning routine, and the large, juicy berries will yield their first harvest in the second summer. Although they are delicious, they are farther down on the popularity ranking and fewer farmers are growing them.
Be aware that raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are all perennial fruits.. This means that you only get one chance to set up their site properly. You should plant them 2 1/2 feet apart in rows. Clear the planting area of weeds and work in compost and other spoil amendments before planting. Spring and fall are the best times to plant perennials.
Blueberry shrubs are slow-growing and usually take about three years to begin bearing fruit. If you’re busy setting up a new farm, this is one crop that you can plant right away and then get on with other tasks while they get established.
For the best harvest, choose a site that is in full sun. Blueberries will enjoy a north – facing slope or the north side of a building in order to prevent damage from late- spring frosts, and it’s essential that the site be well-drained. Blueberries have specific soil needs. The pH must be between 4.5 and 5.0, and the soil must be amended if it doesn’t meet this requirement. They grow well on slopes or in raised beds where drainage is ideal. Plant them either in spring or fall, spaced about 4 feet apart.
Strawberry plants will produce a heavy yield in the late spring of their secind year. June – bearing strawberries should be planted in full sun for the maximum yield. They like rich, loose soil that drains well. For this reason, they are often planted on slopes or in raised beds. Plant them in the early spring, after the soil had dried a bit, spaced 12 inches apart.
In the first year, remove runners and flowers, in order to enciourage the plants to put energy into developing strong root systems. Keep plants well-watered in the first year.
Ground Cherries or husk cherries, strawberry tomatoes, or husk tomatoes- are an annual in the nightshade familiy that will produce heavy harvests like other nightshade vegetables, such as tomatoes. They’re golden, tart – sweet berries with a strawberry pineapple- like flavor. They are reminiscent of cherry tomatoes except that they grow inside a paper – like husk. They can be eaten fresh and are popularly used to make jams, preserves, baked goods or salsa. Unfortunately, because they’re frost sensitive they’ll need to be replanted each year.
Try “Aunt Mollys”, a heritage variety from Poland known to be prolific and super sweet. Practice good crop rotation, as ground cherries are susceptible to many of the same diseases as other nightshades.
Raspberries are one of the most popular berries to grow, and some varieties produce two crops – one in spring and another in fall. This type is called everbearing or full-bearing. Everbearing raspberries that are planted in the spring will usually produce a harvest in the fall of the first year. No waiting – outside of the usual growing season, that is!
Raspberries are self- pollinating, so you can grow a single plant or a whole stem of them. Site your raspberries in full sun spaced 2 feet apart in rows with good drainage. They’ll enjoy a north – facing slope or the north side of a building in order to protect them from late-spring frosts. Keep the plants well-watered in their first year, and use a trellis system to keep canes and berries off the ground and to make the canes more manageable.
Elderberry (European Black Elder) is a truly multi-purpose plant and can be used for a hedge, wildlife attractant, landscaping and for their abundance of fruit. This Elderberry plant is easy to grow, care for and can grow up to 6m high. This variety is self pollinating, but will bear even better quality fruit when pollinated with another Elderberry plant. Elderberry fruit is a glossy dark purple to black berry, 506 mm in diameter, produced in drooping, sometimes numerous clusters in late summer.
Like most other berries, Elderberries are full of antioxidants and contain high amounts of Vitamin C which aid your immune system in preventing and fighting off colds and flu. The Elderberry is easy to grow. The plant should be placed in full sun, but tolerates party shade. A soil PH level of 5.5 – 6.5 is optimal. The plant prefers loamy to sandy soil, but will also tolerate clayey soil.
Planting any edible perennial requires patience, as they usually take from one to three years to begin producing a monthlu yield. Luckily, there are a few quick-yielding crops to note that will help take you over.
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Goat Farming in South Africa can be a very lucrative business if done right. Choose the right breeds of goats for your location and you could raise superior livestock. Goats are hardy animals and can survive under harsh environments. They have survived centurie’s of periodic drought’s and harsh temperatures. They also have the reputation of being resistant to the majority of tropical diseases and parasites.
Goats are a great source of income. Because of their small size, adaptive feed behaviour and low management, goats are a viable option in improving cash flow.
Types of Goat Enterprises
Goat farming in South Africa is a diverse business. Goats produce dairy and have delicious meat, can be bread and even their skin can be used. As a business owner you need to explore these avenues where you can make the most money.
Decide on which area you want to focus:-
1. Meat Goats;
2. Dairy Goats;
3. Fibre Goats.
You can choose one type or combine all three systems in your operation. Your interest and abilities and physical resources on your farm should determine which type of enterprise you choose.
Goat Farming Products
- Goat’s meat;
- Goat’s milk;
- Goat’s cheese;
- Goat skin and fibre;
- Goat milk soap.
Additional sources of income:-
- Breeding Goats for sale;
- Sales of excess males from dairy operations;
- Leasing out goats to clear brush;
- Goat manure for fertilisation.
How big should I start?
Determine the number of goats you want to begin with. Pick a number that would be sustainable enough to get things moving, depending on the purpose of your farming in South Africa. It might be 300 or 500 depending on the size and location of your pasture and type of goat breed. Fewer than 150 is usually not enough to support one person or a small family.
There are many types of goats, but the breed you choose will depend on your enterprise and what products you want to sell. Carefully decide on the breeds of goats you want to farm.
Goat meat is in high demand. The meat is widely consumed and accepted as an edible meat by people all around the world irrespective of tribal or religious differences.
Goat’s milk isenriched with many necessary nutrition elements and is easy to digest. Many consumer markets are currently shifting from the consumption of other dairy products in favour of goat’s milk.
If you want to produce fibre from your farm then Cashmere and Angora goats will be most suitable.
Location and Housing
Buy a sizeable expanse of land to comfortably accomodate your goats. You will need to fence the land for security purposes. If you are near a consumer population, consider farm tourism as part of your income. If your goal is to sell milk, then there is an advantage in decreasing trucking costs when you are located close to a milk purchaser. Goats are very adaptive animals and don’t need an elaborate goat barn. A simple three-sided shed facing away from prevailing winter winds will suffice.
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As the fifth-largest agriculture industry in South Africa, milk production provides a regular income for thousands of small and large producers. Commercial dairy farming is a demanding and complex operation. To succeed at it, you need to understand dairy cattle. Highly sophisticated equipment is used for milking, and it is essential to employ skilled well-trained workers and also adhere to strict quality control regulations.
Buying a Dairy Farm
Buying a dairy farm is not a decision you should make without talking to experts and considering various factors, as it involves investing a huge amount of money. Not only do you need enough money to buy the farm, you will need money to maintain farming activities and develop the farm in future. The neighbours, locat vet, and agriculture expert at your bank can all provide valuable information and advice.
You should find out more about the following important factors:-
- Availability of dependable electricity;
- Existing milk facilities and equipment;
- Distance of the farm to the nearest town;
- Existing mik route of milk buying companies;
- Condition of the roads to the farm;
- Existing contract with a company that buys milk;
- Availability of sufficient water;
- Existing pastures and types of soil.
Getting the basics right:-
According to Milk SA preparing adequate infrastructure and establishing a market for your products are crucial for success:
1. Make sure that there is a co-op, shop, school, processor, or even a clinic that will buy your milk;
2. Find out the type of packaging your customer prefers. Some clients for example, want plastic bottles, while others may bring their own containers;
3. Refrigeration is crucial. Your customer will not want warm milk that will sour quickly;
4. If a buyer or processor collects milk from your farm ensure that the access roads are good and your reception area is up to standard;
5. A collection centre will only buy milk that has been tested.
Understand the Dairy Market
Before you can sell your milk, it is necessary that you understand some basic principles. Once you understand these principles, you will be able to expand your milk sales with confidence. The production of milk follows a process that basically consists of four steps:-
1. Rearing Animals – feeding, breeding and caring for them.
2. Collecting, Chilling and Bulking – transporting your milk to the collection centre or to your customers or the collection of milk on your farm.
3. Producing – milking your cows.
4. Marketing – the sales of your milk, directly to the public or to a buyer or co- operative.
Once you start selling your milk to a collection centre, you will have to agree to the testing of your milk. A centre will not buy milk if they are not sure that the milk is hygienic. If you are selling to a shop or to the community, it is your duty to supply safe, clean, fresh and hygienic milk.
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There are more than a hundred species and thousands of cultivars. The flowers vary in size and shape and are usually large and showy. Colours range from white through yellows and reds. Rose plants range in size from compact, miniature roses, to climbers that can reach 7m in length. Different species hybridise easily, and this has been used in the development of the wide range of garden roses.
The optimal temperature for spore germination is between 10 OC and 18 OC. Germination does not take place at temperatures below 5 OC and the spores are killed off when temperatures are above 27 OC. Spores survive on dried, fallen leaves for as long as one month.
Pruning took place during July and August and debudding whenever necessary through the summer months. The reason for debudding is that the stems grow longer and the plant doesn’t waste nutrition on buds that cannot be cut for bunches. It is important to leave three or four branches per plant, depending on the size and strength of the plant. To ensure better growth, the branches must not lie over each other and they should encircle the base of the plant. Pencil- thick stems are cut away to stimulate growth and length.
Cutting & Bunching
Cut roses are carried directly to the sorting table and grouped according to length, as this makes it easier to put the stems through the stripping machine, which removes leaves and thorns. Stems are then sorted into colours and similar lengths, and immediately placed in buckets of fresh water in the cold room. From here, they are bunched and wrapped in paper for delivery.
Cultivation & Propagation Methods
Rose plants are mainly propagated by the seeds, layers, by budding and cuttings. Budding is considered to be one of the best methods for propagating rose plants. They can be planted in the circular pits about 60 to 90cm across and 60 to 75cm deep. Remove all the broken and bruised leaves while planting is important in rose farming. Roses require at least 8 hours of direct sunlight for the growth. The rose plants requires Organic malter which include Farm Yard Manure (FMY) and some fertilizers at the time of planting.
If you are planning to start flower farming then a Rose Farming Business is the most profitable business for farmers to start. Roses are the king of all flowers and it is a very pretty flower which is grown in all around the world. Rose flowers and Rose Oil are very popular in the local market as well as in the global market.
Selection of the right variety of Rose is an important factor in Commercial Rose Farming. Production of quality roses are important to win in the international flower market. Roses have various uses depending on the species and varieties. They may be used as garden plantsand cut flowers. They can also used in making rose water, rose oil and gulland.
Start your Rose Farming operation in a professional way by preparing a well-planned business plan or make use of a suitable consultant to assist you in the process.
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A Hunting and Game Farm is normally run as a joint enterprise, the one supporting the other. Game animals are farmed for the purposes of meat, skin and horn off-take (culling) and tourist viewing. The culling is usually combined with sport- hunting. Game farming may also yield benefits in term of photographic safaris, fishing and many others.
The Game Farm business concept is critical to the future of the hunting industry because game farmers supply the animals that populate the nation’s preserves. In some cases, game farm entrepreneurs also engage in the process and sale of game meat or the delivery of bred game stock to individuals and commercial growers.
Requirements for the efficient management of a game farm include:
- A facility for slaughtering, processing and packing of meat;
- Trophy processing;
- Vehicles for hunting;
- A likely minimum of 1000 ha of land;
- Wildlife Management;
- Marketing of carcasses and live game; and
- Research on the needs of the species of game that will survive in the area, water sources, soil type and the like.
In terms of economics, the value of game ranching can be summarized as follows:-
1. Game ranching works essentially on four levels. The first level is the “sale of hunting trips and venison”, the second level is the “sale of live game at auctions”; the third level is the “processing of animal products”; and the fourth level is the “provision of game lodges, conferences, facilities and related services”. Job opportunities open at all 4 levels.
2. The eco- tourism industry accounts for at least R2.5 billion. There is a huge potential for future growth in eco-tourism on game ranches, mainly because its market share of the total tourism industry is relatively small in South Africa.
3. The percentage income derived from auctions, hunting and eco-tourism differs widely between the different regions and depends on the distance from the big cities and the availability of the Big Five.
One of the biggest mistakes aspiring farmers make is that they forget that while a farm is a lifestyle, it is also a business. Making a farm profitable requires planning and business savvy. Luckely there are profeassional consultants thast can help writing a sound and professional business plan for you.
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