Agri Kultuur September / September 2016 - Page 26

duction. Continuing with “chemical warfare” against the competitors is also losing face especially in view of pesticide impacts on wildlife. So, what do we do? We have to rapidly shift our crop and animal production to integrated management systems where preventative cultivation, breeding, natural pest management, chemical pest management and habitat conservation all play an equally important role. Underlying all of this is to study and understand the biology and ecology of the competitor species. It is simply futile to try and manage a competitor if you do not understand how it operates in the crop or in the herd. A good knowledge base brings forth preventative and curative control measures. A poor knowledge base brings forth someone with an elephant rifle while a .22 would have been suitable. Knowledge will eventually bring it into better harmony with competitor species and not simply relying on chemical pest control. It is against this background that I plead with farmers to become agricultural scientists and yes, it is rewarding to attend a grower symposium and hearing the wisdom of farmers based on science. Yet, there is still a tendency to fight a pest, disease or weed without fully understanding its biology and why it is impacting on our crops or our animals. I think more time needs to be spent behind a mug of boeretroos and a scientific reference book than in the bakkie!! Contact the author: nesher@tiscali.co.za 082-446-8946 A specimen of Harmonia axyridis in South Africa, freshly out of its pupa. Its black spots will develop as its exoskeleton hardens By JonRichfield - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16466015