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Farming without water.


Mbali Nwoko - 9th Oct 2020 - 0 comments

Water, is a crucial resource in any farming activity therefore, you can’t farm without water. 

A serious challenge that threatens the farming industry today is drought and if farmers are already experiencing major losses due to drought, that alone should be an indication of how crucial water is to farming. 

It’s deeply concerning to read and or hear from individuals that have started farming but are unable to move to the next stage in their production because of water, after having spent a decent amount of capital. 

The truth about water is that it can either make or break your farm business, therefore, you have to know what you are doing and work with what you have. 

Field Crops

Field crop farming (maize, sugar beans, wheat, sunflower etc.) is heavily reliant on rainwater and so its always best to farm in areas with high rainfall during the growing season.

One way to know this is by having a look at your surroundings if there is little or no field crop farming activity happening around your farm, then you should know that it’s probably not the ideal place to farm field crops.

Horticulture Crops

Fruit and vegetable farming. This type of farming is more intensive and needs a consistent supply of water i.e: per hour, depending on your production plan. If your farm does not have water, then invest in a borehole ASAP!

Borehole drilling should be in the region of about R30 000 – R100 000 (and even more) however, all of this is dependent on several factors i.e: depth of the hole, size of the farm, casing, pump and motor, rates per area and the service provider you choose. 

Some farms have access to other water resources such as nearby water dams, and rivers and if you are farming in South Africa, by law, you have to have a water license that permits the usage of that water. 

Livestock

Livestock farming is also dependent on water because you need to provide drinking water for your cattle, goat, sheep, pigs or chickens.

Chicken farming is extremely intensive, similar to vegetable farming therefore, you can’t run a poultry production without good clean water which needs to be available at all times.

Livestock farmers will tell you that animal feed has become expensive which has pushed many farmers to start producing their own feed. This too requires some planning and investment (i.e: money being directed towards crop farming as a value add), not forgetting water. 

In closing, BEFORE signing on that dotted line (farm purchase/lease agreement), make sure that the farm has water (borehole, river, dam) if not, use the services of a Hydrogeologist or Water Diviner to come and assess your farm.  

If the farm already has a borehole, do yourself a favour and conduct a water test (approach companies that do this), to know how much water that borehole can deliver per hour, which will help you plan for your production. 

So….

Moral of the story is …. YOU CAN’T FARM WITHOUT WATER

See previous blog: 5 Steps to Start Farming 

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