To reduce the number of pesticides they use, more and more farmers in Mzansi are planting biotech, disease-resistant crop types. In order to safeguard beneficial insects and entice away dangerous insects, farmers are building insect refuges in and around their agricultural fields.
In this edition of Farmer’s Inside Track, we discuss the three biotech crops grown in Mzansi – maize, cotton, and soybeans – with Charles Matlou, the developing market manager of Corteva Agriscience Pioneer Seed.
According to Matlou, the sole difference between cultivating biotech crops and farming traditional crops is that biotech crops are easier to handle.
In terms of insect management, he says that using biotech, the BT or insect tolerant one, can control the insects. Spraying is required to control insects while growing conventional crops.
“With weed control, the herbicide-tolerant one allows for easy management. You are easily spraying your weeds to control them. With the conventional one, you will have to use other methods, including chemical which is a bit intensive and maybe even the cultural method – the mechanical way of controlling weeds.”
Save a lot of time
“So, the management of biotech crops is a bit easier, and it saves a lot of time for the farmers when they are planting.”
Matlou suggests that farmers do their own experimentation by planting a mixture of conventional and biotech seeds in about equal proportions.
Farmers may also compare the upfront costs of growing biotech crops with those of conventional crops, as well as the final profits. Matlou says this will push farmers to choose between farming methods.
In the episode, Matlou discusses:
- A comparison of commercial and small-scale agricultural methods.
- Considerations for funding biotech farming; and
- Input costs between conventional and organic farming.
Want to know more? Listen to the full episode of Farmer’s Inside Track.
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