Lots of rain a mixed blessing

2011-01-07 00:00

ALTHOUGH the first week of the new year has dumped more than half the month’s expected rainfall on many parts of KwaZulu-Natal, many farmers don’t yet expect 2011 to be a year of plenty.

KZN Agricultural Union (Kwanalu) president Robin Barnsley said the severe storms have damaged infrastructure.

However, the week-long soaking has topped up the water tables, which had dropped very low during the drought of 2009.

“For now we have received average rains and very wet ground. This is something we have not had for two years.

“I doubt if it would be correct to say that this is going to be the year of plenty. But I’m sure it is going to be a good year,” said Barnsley.

He said farmers now need sunshine to allow the seeds — which they should have planted by mid-December — to germinate.

“Maize, sunflower and soya beans should have been planted between October and December to give them enough time to grow.”

The rains will help farmers to have enough underground and stream water to last throughout the winter season.

Barnsley said the heavy rains have damaged agricultural infrastructure in some parts.

“Roads have been damaged, making it difficult for farmers to do their business.”

Barnsley also warned that despite the past week’s precipitation, South Africa remains an arid country.

He urged farmers to continue to use water sparingly.

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