Field Crops in South Africa

©Glenneis Kriel
Wheat derived from natural grasses.

Wheat evolved from wild grasses more than 10 000 years ago in areas now occupied by Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. It is a cereal crop with edible kernels.

Jan van Riebeeck planted South Africa’s first wheat in 1652, with original varieties brought in by trading vessels travelling between Europe and the East Indies. Production was well established in the Cape by 1684, according to the Agricultural Research Centre’s Production Guidelines for Wheat. Evaluation of cultivars started in 1891 and the first wheat breeding programme was initiated in 1902.

Fertilisation of Wheat

Soil analysis should be done every few years, to guide fertilisation decisions and correct nutrient imbalances and shortages before planting wheat....more

Wheat Cultivation

Farmers generally use wider row spacing under dryland and narrower row spacing when cultivating wheat under irrigation....more

Wheat Pest Management

Farmers should regularly scout their lands to identify insect and disease problems before these get out of control. Certain pests and diseases may be treated curatively, while others should be treated preventatively if conditions foster their development....more

Wheat Production

Wheat is used for the production of flour and bread, while durum wheat is used to produce pasta....more

When To Harvest Wheat

Wheat should be harvested early enough to prevent shattering, pre-harvest sprouting and bird damage, but late enough for the grain to have dried....more