Staff Reporter Windhoek-Despite unfavourable environmental conditions, excitement is building as the Namibian Agronomic Board started inviting entries for the 23rd Master Agronomist for 2018 competition for the Maize Triangle, Summerdown, Hochfeld and Stampriet production areas on both irrigation and dry-land farms. The annual award goes to a farmer who is not necessarily evaluated on the size of his harvest but rather for an exceptional innovative scientific approach, good risk diversification, good labour relations and community involvement. The reigning champions are Ebbi Fischer and his wife Heidi of the farm Okongeama near Hochfeld. The Fischers started farming in 1993, initially starting part-time but taking on farming full-time in 2004. The Fischers cultivate crops under rain-fed (dry-land) conditions with maize rotated with legumes and feed-sorghum. They also grow crops under irrigation with additional crop rotation between maize, legumes and oats. This crop rotation improves soil fertility and breaks the disease cycle for the crops. Their six-year average rain-fed maize yield, including drought years, is 3.3 tons per hectare reaching a maximum of 5.4 tons per hectare at times. Their irrigation maize harvest average is 11.3 tons per hectare, at times a maximum of 12.4 tons per hectare. They also cut grass (hay) to the tune of 800 tons per year. The Fischers also farm extensively with cattle and are involved in a Brahman stud-breeding programme. In addition to the Master Agronomist award, the Namibian Agronomic Board annually selects and awards the Zambezi Region Champion Maize Farmer and the Regional and National Mahangu Champion in two categories as well as the Mega Irrigation Master Producer and the National Horticulture Champion in three categories.
2018-01-30 09:46:43 7 months ago