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					GRAIN MARKETING FOR THE EMERGING FARMER Cultivating and harvesting is not the end of successful farming – knowing and understanding the basic principles of grain marketing is necessary to maximise the productivity of the farming enterprise. In a free market economy there is a need for farmers at all levels to market their products in the most efficient manner. This perhaps holds true, more significantly, for the emergent commercial farmer, who stands at greater risk with regards limited resources and the need for expansion and profitability. Factors affecting the grain price It is pertinent that the producer knows and understands the factors that determine the price of his/her product as this directly affects profitability and growth of the enterprise. These factors are: Supply and demand: Low demand results in an oversupply, thus resulting in a decline in the price. High demand bears subsequent higher prices. Monetary exchange rates: The US dollar/local currency exchange rate plays an influential role. A stronger local currency results in a lower import parity as well as a lower export parity, thus saturating the market with imported grain and making exports unprofitable. Local prices will thus be lower. A weaker local currency will lead to increased import /export parity, making imported grain expensive and export prices for the local producer / trader feasible due to higher prices. International grain price: When the grain price is on an increasing trend, import of such a commodity will be uneconomical and export profitable.

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Subsequently, a decline in the grain price results in increased importability which will lower the grain price. Other factors: These include interest rates, inflation rates and environmental factors such as the forecasted climate. Import and export parity Import parity is the maximum price that grain can be traded at, within the international market. This is basically the actual cost to import grain. This is determined by the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) price, the local currency / US $ exchange rate and the delivery cost to the destination. Export parity is the minimum price that grain can be traded at. This is the competitive price at which grain can be exported. This is also determined by CBOT. Import parity is expected when grain production is low and export parity is evident during times of overproduction. What is ex silo? This is the price of grain before handling and delivery cost is considered, with all standards determined by the grain industry.
Source: Diutlwileng, P. Noordwes Nuus, Jul/Aug 2004. pp 25-27.

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SHEEP DIPPING Everyone who will be involved in the dipping operation MUST be properly trained and competent. All dip products contains hazardous substances. If mishandled they can make you ill, harm the sheep or pollute the environment. Make use of properly designed and sited dip facilities

HINTS FOR DIPPING SHEEP All sheep on the farm should be dipped. When lambs dry off after birth, they can become infested by lice and they should therefore also be dipped. Dipping fluid • Make sure that the dipping-fluid is suited for the purpose intended, such as getting rid of scab, lice or both.

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Read the label before mixing the dipping-fluid. Do not add anything to the dipping-fluid, unless it is recommended on the label. Make sure that the dipping-tank is clean before mixing the dipping-fluid. Strictly follow the instructions concerning the replenishment and storing of the dipping-fluid.

Dipping do’s • • • • • • • • Try to postpone dipping until after lambing, or dip the sheep before the start of the lambing season. Lice can only survive on sheep. Make sure all sheep are dipped. Contamination by lice can only occur if there is contact between animals. Animals should be submerged in the dipping fluid for at least I minute. The head should be submerged at least 3 times. Dip the sheep in one pen and make sure hat they have all been wetted thoroughly, especially the neck folds and the skin at the back of the neck. Dip horned rams separately. Dip young and valuable sheep first. Dip sheep with lumpy wool last. Take good care to ensure that sheep with mated or lumpy wool have been wetted thoroughly.

Dipping don’ts • • • Do not place ewes and lambs in the tank simultaneously. Sheep should not be driven over long distances before and after dipping. Never dip thirsty sheep.

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Start dipping early in the morning and do not continue until late afternoon. Sheep should get the opportunity to dry off sufficiently before the evening. Watch the weather and avoid dipping of there is a possibility of rain or cold weather. Do not put too many sheep in the drying pen. Diseases such as lumpy wool can be transmitted and the sheep will take longer to dry off. Do not keep the sheep in the drying pen for long periods because contamination by faeces counters the effectiveness of the dipping-fluid. 5-10 minutes will be enough. Do not dip recently shorn sheep. Allow a period of about 14 days for shearing wounds to heal. Do not dip sheep with long wool. If lice infestation is a problem in the case of long-woolled sheep, other measures have to be applied until shearing can take place at the normal time.

Prevention • • • • Sheep scab and lice can only be transmitted from infested to uninfested animals if there is contact between animals. Preventive dipping of uninfested animals does not ensure long-lasting protection. According to the law concerning sheep scab, uninfected sheep of immediate neighbours should be treated. In the case of lice immediate neighbours having uninfested sheep are recommended to dip their animal of treat them using a registered pour-on remedy. Currently no injectible remedy is available against red lice on sheep. Dipping or using a pour-on remedy should eliminate the problem.

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All purchased stock should be regarded as a source of potential contamination and should be treated according to legal guidelines before coming into contact with other sheep on the farm.

Personal protection When handling concentrated dips, wear: • Non-lined synthetic rubber gloves (heavy duty gauntlet style) • Wellington boots • Waterproof leggings of trousers made of PVC or nitrile • A waterproof coat or a bib apron made of PVC or nitrile over a boiler suit • A face shield. NEVER • Leave dip concentrate in an unmarked container. • Use your hands, arms or feet to immerse sheep. • Allow untrained people to help with dipping. • Allow anyone not wearing protective clothing near the dipping. • Use dip through a knapsack or handsprayer.
Sources: http://www.nda.agric.za – Hints for dipping sheep. http://turva.me.tut.fi/iloagri/stock/dip.htm - sheep dipping

OIL CAKES

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Oil cake is a high protein by-product from the extraction of oil from oil seeds. Oil cake (meal) is the second most valuable product of oilseeds, and accounts for over onethird of the total production. The amount of oil left in meal after the extraction process affects the energy value of the meal. Oil cake is sufficient as a sole source of protein for mature ruminants such as beef cattle and sheep and can provide a major portion of the protein for dairy cows. Oil cake is a natural protein source whilst its nitrogen is effectively utilized and there is little danger of excess ammonia being produced in the rumen as occurs when synthetic protein materials is fed. Cot Pro (cotton oil cake) is a high protein product and is quite palatable, Sun Pro (sunflower oil cake) is a good source of protein and phosphorous. High quality oil cake, used correctly as an ingredient of properly formulated rations, will improve economy and efficiency of ration. Protein is one of the main building blocks of the body. It is usually measured as % Crude Protein (CP). It is a major component of muscles, the nervous system and connective tissue. Adequate dietary protein is essential for maintenance, growth, lactation and reproduction. Not all protein is the same and may be available to the animal in three forms:

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Non-protein nitrogen (NPN)

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Rumen-degradable protein (RDP) also called Digestible intake protein (DIP) Undegradable digestible protein (UDP) also called Undigestable intake protein (UIP)

Ruminants are unable to digest plant material directly, since they lack the enzymes to break down cellulose in the plant cell walls. Digestion in ruminants occurs sequentially in a fourchambered stomach. Due to the fact that the RDP and NPN protein are digested in the rumen it is converted into ammonia, organic acids and amino acids and then utilized by the microbes in the rumen. Most of the energy produced by microbes through digestion in the rumen is used for maintaining normal life functions e.g. body heat, walking, and breathing and is not utilized for growth. NPN stimulates rumen microbes and increase feed intake, so cattle consume more dry feed than normal without the added benefit of true protein utilization. Since the rumen bacteria themselves require protein, with too little protein in the diet, the bacteria will not effectively digest roughage's, while with too much protein in the diet, the protein will be deaminated (the nitrogen removed) and used as a very expensive energy source. Some of the protein consumed escapes breakdown in the rumen ("by-pass" protein) and this is the protein utilized for growth and milk production.

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High protein supplements (oil cake) normally increase intake and digestibility of roughages.
http://www.cottonseed.co.za/

OSTRICH CHICKS Ostrich chicks require special management up to three months of age. They are very sensitive to stress, extreme temperatures and diseases. Nutrition at the breeding stage plays an important role in the quality of eggs and young chicks that are produced. Excess protein during the first week can cause leg problems, but management and genetics can also be blamed for this type of complication. Chicks should be allowed to hatch out of the shell by themselves – those that get help don’t stand a good chance of survival. Special attention should be given to young chicks’ bedding. Given the chance, they will eat wet debris of any kind: this will block the gizzard and result in death. An ostrich grows about a third of a metre a month. At three months it can weigh 122 kg, which means it’s ready for slaughter. For breeding, however, it should be 18 to 30 months.
Source: Grow, Farmer’s Weekly 28 May 2004. p 4

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GET RID OF RATS WITHOUT HARMING BENEFICIAL ANIMALS Farmer Crispen Jackson was faced with the problem of finding an environmentally friendly way of controlling rats in the packhouse on Wensleydale Organic Farm, South Africa.

He needed a method that was effective and wouldn’t harm beneficial animals such as raptors and snakes that often feed off dead rats. And, since produce is packed and distributed from the pack house, the marketing companies’ standards have to be met. Mr Jackson developed a mixture of plaster of paris, brown sugar and mealie (maize) meal, which he places in areas frequented by troublesome rats. The sugar and meal attract the rats to the trap and once the plaster of paris comes into contact with the fluid or water in the rat’s bodies, it kills them. The mixture is most effective if it consists of two thirds mealie meal and a sixth each of brown sugar and plaster of paris. First mix the meal and plaster of paris to ensure

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the plaster of paris is spread evenly throughout the mixture. Soft brown sugar makes missing easier. The mixture should be placed in a bowl in area accessible to rats where it cannot get wet. The traps form part of a holistic rat-control programme on the farm. Steps to the pack house are too high for the rats to climb, and this deters them from entering the pack house. In addition to this no compost of any other litter than may attract rats is kept near the pack house. The presence of raptors and snakes that kill rats on the farm is encouraged. Care is also taken not to disturb the breeding places of owls.
Source: Farmer’s Weekly, 21 Feb 2003 p 21

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CARE FOR WINDMILLS Regular maintenance of windmills is essential to prolong their lifetime. The following have to be kept in mind: • • Windmills have to be serviced at least once a year. All nuts and bolts on the wheel and tower have to be seen to annually, as they are subjected to all possible weather conditions.

Oil has to be replaced each year. It is important to use windmill oil and not motorcar oil, as the wrong kind of oil, or used oil may add to the wear of parts. • During the annual maintenance, all gears and other moving parts have to be checked for breakages and wear and tear, and replaced if necessary. When old oil is drained, remove the gears to get rid of thick and encrusted oil before new oil is added. Bearings must be regularly greased to prevent wear and tear. The brake system has to be well maintained. If wheels are not well braked in winds of high speed, the wheel will be damaged.

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Windmills should not work unnecessarily. Automatic brake systems are therefore preferable so that the wheel will stop turning once the dam is full.

Servicing a windmill takes about 2 hours, but neglected windmills will require more time and money to repair. As with any other farm machinery, regular maintenance is the key word.
Source: Coetzee, J. Vertroetel goeie ou windpomp. In Landbouweekblad, 6 Aug. 2004. p 30 – 32.

CULTIVATION OF BEETROOT Beetroot grows best in cool weather, but it can be planted throughout the year. The best time to plant is from early spring to early summer and again late in summer and into autumn. Beetroot will grow on any soil type except acid soil. It grows well on brackish and on alkaline soils, but the soil must be well drained. When plants are watered, the water must soon drain into the ground and not be left as long-standing puddles. If this happens, compost must be worked into the soil, which will also prevent the soil from forming a crust through which the young plants can emerge only with difficulty. However, compost must not be worked into the soil just before the beetroot is sown, otherwise the beetroot can become hairy and form thick lateral roots. Already work the compost into the soil a season before the beetroot is grown. First plant a vegetable like cabbage and then follow it up with beetroot in the next season. This is rotational cropping, which means that beetroot is not planted on the same 13

patch of ground year after year. It also prevents the accumulation of diseases and insects in the soil. The most important plant nutrient required by beetroot is nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and boron (B). Beetroot requires a great deal of N, P and K, but only a small quantity of boron. It is important not to give too few or too many plant nutrients, therefore the soil must first be analysed so that the plants will not be burned, nor show poor growth. If you do not have the soil analysed, the following quantities may be given: At planting, 80g of 2:3:2 (22) with zinc (Zn) per square metre (m2). This must be worked into the soil thoroughly before the beetroot is planted. Three to four weeks after the beetroot has been planted, or when the plants have reached a height of 15 cm, or a height equal to the length of one’s hand, the following can be applied: 25g of sulphate of ammonia per m2 or 20g of limestone ammonium nitrate (LAN) per m2. (One square metre (m2) is equal to a square made by putting four shovels on the ground, their ends touching.) If there is too little boron in the soil, the beetroot will have black blotches on both the inside and the outside. It will also display black cracks and holes. If this occurs, 1g of Solubor per m2 can be worked into the soil before beetroot is planted there again. This is less than a quarter teaspoonful of Solubor per m2 of ground. Take care not to apply any more than this, because too much is toxic to the plants.

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Before beetroot seed is sown, the ground must be levelled and lumps, stones and weeds must be removed. The seed is sown in slit trenches or small furrows having a depth of 2 cm. When the plants emerge, some of them must be pulled out to leave the remainder enough growing space. The space between the plants must be about 7 cm. The space between the rows must be about 20 cm. It is very important to keep the soil moist until the plants emerge. In the case of very hot weather, a layer of grass cuttings, straw or long leaves of grass can be placed on the beds to protect them from drying out. Such a layer is called a mulch. When the plants begin to emerge, the mulch must be removed so that the plants will not be lanky. When the plants have fully emerged, the mulch can be replaced again between the plants, but the plant leaves must not be entirely covered. The mulch between the plants keeps the soil moist longer and also, to an extent, prevents the emergence of weeds. Beetroot has shallow roots and it is important to water the plants regularly. If they experience long dry periods, the beetroot will become hairy and fibrous. During cool weather, the plants can be watered once a week. During very hot weather, less water can be given two to three times a week instead of a lot of water once a week. Beetroot can be harvested when it attains a width of 7.5cm.
Source: M Jordaan Elsenburg / Cradock http://www.wcape.agric.za/info/els/index.html experiment station.

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