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  • The wait for El Niño is on. Most computer forecast models continue to suggest an El Niño event will begin evolving in September and it may be a significant event for a few months during the heart of the Northern Hemisphere winter. This year already has been an interesting year for crop weather with drought still lingering in Europe, and dryness from eastern Ukraine into Russia’s Volga River Basin and in Canada’s Prairies.

  • At a land indaba on 3 October City Press and Rapport will bring decision-makers together in Johannesburg to critically evaluate land reform since 1994 and examine solutions to the political and economic challenges that we as a nation face.

  • ONGOING CONCERN WITH CONTRACTS AND WORKERS IN PLACE - OWNER TERMINALLY ILL WANTS TO SELL ASAP! Owner is prepared to stay on for 6months to a year to assist. Workers and managers in place! 

  • Soil is the material found on the surface of the earth that is composed of organic and inorganic material. Soil varies due to its structure and composition. Learn about the different types of soil and soil structures in this video lesson.

  • Crop protection is a vital part of growing quality and ensuring good yields in any crop. It is necessary to provide farmers with products, experience and insights into solving the challenges faced in crop protection and plant health management. These insights would typically include the “right product or program” applied with the “right equipment” at the “right timing” considering the cost to benefit ratio at all times.

  • In 1993, President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was then secretary-general of the ANC, spoke at the Land Redistribution Options Conference in Johannesburg, where a future plan for land reform was being thrashed out. He said in his opening remarks:

    "The massively unequal distribution of land is not merely an unfortunate legacy of apartheid; it is the totally unacceptable continuation of apartheid."

  • You may have seen robotic dairies where cows approach a machine to be milked when they want. You likely have seen "rotary" parlors that put more than 100 cows on a merry-go-round to be milked by people.
    In April, the family installed a "robotic, rotary" dairy parlor — only the fourth in North America and the 15th in the world.

  • The world was formally introduced to the concept of “drones” through the use of unmanned, remote-control airplanes used in tactical military missions around the turn of the 21st Century. It seemed like science fiction, and much of how they worked was shrouded in controversial secrecy.

    It wasn’t long until the first consumer drones hit the market, replacing spy photography gear or weapons with consumer-grade cameras that fit on tiny helicopter-looking contraptions that fly using a standalone remote control or a connected app via smartphones.

    In the years since, Jeff Bezos has boldly claimed that Amazon will one day use an army of drones to deliver packages even faster than it already does, while virtually every Instagram photographer has started using drones to achieve a unique perspective on otherwise-common images.

    In addition to the far-flung and the trivial, drones are already transforming many jobs and industries, with more to come in the near future.

    How Drones Work

    Almost everyone who looks at a consumer-grade drone will sum it up as something along the lines of “a remote control helicopter.” Drones and helicopters both use rotating blades to generate vertical lift, but the four diminutive blades on most drones act to provide a more stable flight with more potential for micro adjustments than a single blade would provide.

    Plus, a set of two or three inch blades can’t inflict nearly as much damage as a single 12-inch blade might!

    Like helicopters, the rotating blades generate lift through thrust. The faster the blades spin, the more thrust a drone generates. Thanks to the incredible amount of computing power packed into even the most entry-level drones, users can pilot a drone using a simple joystick interface while the software behind the scenes makes a staggering amount of calculations.

    Want to tilt the whole drone a few degrees to change the camera angle, while still flying slowly forward? Two joysticks handle pitch, horizontal travel, and vertical climb or descent. But the four propellers are all playing off each other in incredibly complex ways, acting to generate differing amounts of lift fore and aft to create a suitable angle for the camera, then holding that angle while adhering to the user’s desired control inputs.

    If you go to YouTube and watch any videos made by the latest round of drones, the stability is staggering; the videos often have an almost eerie quality to them because of drones’ unique ability to fly lower and maneuver more quickly than helicopters, all while the drone operator previews video footage in real time.

    The four blades offer a surreal, stable, silent flight pattern that means drones have replaced helicopters for even the majority of professional and high budget film projects.

    Uses for Drones

    Aside from putting amateur photographers in the sky to capture shots that just a decade ago would have required an expensive helicopter charter, drones are enjoying  widespread adoption across a wide array of industries.

    Here’s a look at a few of the ways drones are already transforming our world by placing cameras in the sky.

    Safety
    Security cameras have been in use for decades, but now cameras can be operated beyond the realm of traditional mounting points on buildings or pillars.

    For special events, tough-to-secure areas, and even tactical search and rescue missions, drones allow all different types of first responders to monitor situations using livestreaming of video or infrared cameras.

    From border patrol to seeking out missing persons to simply monitoring large crowds, drones are making the world more secure and providing a tool that dramatically cuts down on costs and the environmental impacts associated with helicopter flights, all while minimizing the disturbance created by choppers at low altitudes.

    Firefighting
    Infrared camera-equipped drones are especially useful for identifying and fighting forest fires in remote areas. Drones are augmenting or replacing traditional fire watch towers across forest districts, allowing small, centralized teams to monitor massive amounts of forest for hot spots or emerging fires.

    Infrared technology paired with the flight abilities of drones allows firefighters to identify blazes the moment they ignite, long before smoke may be visible on the horizon. And some fire agencies are now testing unmanned firefighting drones which actually can deliver flame retardant like today’s firefighting planes and helicopters.

    Farming

    Farmers have made impressive use of drone technology. There are early versions of drone crop dusters and specialized fertilizers, and these applications are poised to grow as commercially available drones grow in size and power.

    And instead of walking the rows to monitor crop health and yield, drones allow farmers to survey massive amounts of land in minutes instead of hours–or even days. The increased efficiency of crop monitoring will lead to more efficient farming, while infrared technology again allows yield and health to be monitored at more precise levels than ever before, thus minimizing waste and maximizing crop production.

    Scientific Exploration
    From massive drones that glide high above where most airplanes fly and can circumnavigate the globe without stopping to tiny drones that ride wind and oceanic currents to study how they work, scientists are using drones to study wildlife, identify weather patterns, monitor the ozone layer, and plenty of other amazing uses.

    From minimally-invasive photography and videography to massive surveying and mapping projects, drones are capable of going places that humans cannot; and are much cheaper and safer to operate in hazardous conditions like hurricanes or remote environments with no developed landing strip.

    Revolutionize Photography and Inspection Procedures
    Aside from the consumer-facing uses that remote-control flying cameras provide, drones have revolutionized industry applications like real estate photography and inspections and even hazardous industrial inspection procedures.

    Whether it’s providing an aerial video tour, inspecting buildings for structural damage, or providing routine inspections to risky structures like power plants or offshore oil rigs, the ability to get a camera up close and personal while maintaining a safe distance is potentially a life-saver in more ways than one.

    Plus, who doesn’t like seeing a bird’s eye view when shopping for new houses?

    Future Drone Applications

    Perhaps the most notorious futuristic drone application is Jeff Bezos’ bold vision to deliver Amazon packages via a fleet of drones. His plan was immediately met with huge amounts of skepticism and naysayers who envision the logistical and safety nightmares associated with automated drones zipping all over urban areas while hoisting boxes full of who-knows-what. 

  •  
    SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, U.S. — S&W Seed Co. and AGT Foods Africa Pty Ltd. are partnering to form a new joint venture in South Africa that will produce and commercialize seed products in Africa. The new company will be called SeedVision SA Pty Ltd., and will be 50.1% owned by S&W and 49.9% owned by AGT Foods Africa.

  • In the midst of the latest merry-go-round with China, once more foreign aid takes centre stage with a bouquet of loan offers, cancellations and grants concocted for the continent. This helps, but is far from the answer to our medium- and long-term development goals. The answer lies with fairer trade and with the continent looking within itself for products and markets. 

  • Last week, two very important documents were gazetted for public comment, namely the revised National Greenhouse Gas Inventory and the biennial report to the United Nations on South Africa’s greenhouse gas emissions under the UNFCCC. Both documents are extremely important for agro-processing and other manufacturing industries as it contains an estimate as to amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere each year by the various industries in the South African economy. - Theo Boschoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence

  • A first in the world: a legally binding employment contract that uses images with minimal text South African berry and citrus farms introduce comic contracts Creative Contracts is a Cape Town-based firm that serves the relationship between the employer and employee on a growing number of South African citrus, berry and vegetable farms, where the temporary labour force is often vulnerable and semi-literate.

  • KUHN Farm Machinery has upgraded its range of PROFILE trailed mixer wagons with the addition of a telescoping and tilting distribution conveyor belt.

  • The economy will not recover as long as the ANC continues with its socialist and communist political and economic systems that destroy economic growth and prosperity. Therefore, a short-term stimulus and recovery package will not make any difference because economic growth is a long-term process that must be based on economic principles, "says independent economist, Fanie Brink.

  • This morning President Cyril Ramaphosa tabled the government’s economic stimulus and recovery plan. The plan entails a range of measures covering a number of sectors, which will be implemented immediately. This is aimed at igniting economic activity, restoring investor confidence, preventing further job losses and creating new jobs.

  • On September 19, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University presented an update of its seasonal weather outlook, which remained somewhat unchanged from the previous month’s outlook. By this, I mean there is over 60% chance of El Niño developing over the 2018-2019 summer season. This corroborated the message shared on September 11 by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology which indicated a 50% chance of El Niño developing. 

  • The presence of the polyphagous shot hole borer (PSHB) had not been detected in South Africa until researcher, Dr Trudy Paap, noticed in February last year that it had infected the historic plane trees in the Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens. 

  • August 2018 marked the start of the Autonomous Greenhouses Challenge as five international teams try to grow cucumbers at a distance with the use of artificial intelligence at the facilities of Wageningen University & Research (WUR). The goal is to convert knowledge about cultivation into algorithms that can enable computers to regulate cultivation automatically in the future, even in places where such knowledge is lacking. So, the question is: Can computers do as well as farmers?

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