MADUMBI GREEN JERSEY AWARDS
Farmers Agri-Care 2019
UMZINTO – JUSTIN BOWLEY
Sharing and recognising our partner success: Farmers Agri-Care Umzinto
Justin Bowley has been at Farmers Agri-Care Umzinto for the past five years. He has made significant changes to his business over the years. His philosophy has shifted from one largely focused on herbicides and pesticides, to a one where yield enhancement and Integrated Pest Management play a more important role in sustainable solutions for farmers.
Justin is passionate about his role as a trusted advisor to clients and is committed to ‘not selling products that are not needed’. Justin clearly has a future-focused approach which has naturally resulted in a growing partnership between himself and Mark Hutton, Madumbi KAM for KZN.
The key crops in Justin’s region are sugarcane and macadamia’s, with some banana and vegetable growers. The current growth in macadamia plantings is significant in his area, as growers move out of sugar towards this more lucrative crop. ‘Every farmer is different’ and each engagement requires a tailored approach when building and establishing relationships.
The transition into macadamia farming can be overwhelming for many growers and Justin thoroughly enjoys providing ideas, advice, and investigating tailor made solutions for each farmer. His approach is based on science and when new orchards are being established, they start with soil analysis and chemistry evaluations so he can confidently advise growers on the best solutions and practices for their particular area. Measuring forms strong foundations for providing farmers with scientifically sound and proven advice and solutions.
Justin believes in the Madumbi Root Health products, which contributed significantly to the improved growth achieved in his region last year. However, he recognises that success is not achieved in isolation. Key factors that need to be considered in building a healthy orchard include understanding soil acidity and chemistry, working with the beneficial microbes in the soil and ensuring good nutrition is available to feed the roots. Practices such as mulching and pruning are critical and when combined with the ‘root health program’, will ultimately achieve results.
Justin believes that monitoring and maintenance is key to a healthy orchard. He commits to visiting each grower regularly, emphasising the need to have ‘eyes on the ground’ to evaluate what’s working and what’s not working.
In-line with Farmers Agri-Care’s “Yield Care Programme”; which drives scientifically understanding yield enhancement – Justin has invested in a permanent colleague. This supports and enhances his commitment to the programme by actively working on trials, building confidence and gaining a greater understanding of regionally proven results to share with his growers.
Together with Madumbi, Justin is trialling products on an established mature macadamia orchard where existing yields are around 1 ton/ha-1, which he believes has the ability to reach 4 tonnes/ha-1. The soil has been tested and the Root Health program is being put to the challenge, along with mulching and pruning practices. The team expects to see increased yields of 2 – 3 tonnes/ha-1 this season; we’ll keep you updated!
A final note
Justin spent several years working as an extension officer with SASRI, where he learned a lot and gained invaluable field experience. A fundamental principal that he carries closely and is quick to share is ‘One good practice, compounds the next’ How true and how inspirational!
Thank you, Justin, for sharing your story and wearing your passion and commitment on your sleeve. Madumbi congratulates you on your success and is proud to partner with agents, businesses and organisations that are driving change.