It seems there is no greater delight for a farmer, than showing a city slicker what it really takes to be a farmer. And Boeta Gelderbloem is no exception. At realIPM, we ensure every single member of our staff understands what being a farmer truly means and there is no better way to experience this than spending time out in the fields, with farmers.

Our marketing team needed to get some in field experience and so we sent Mel to the Free State to learn a few things. Sitting in a cool barn, Boeta explained how his father originally bought the farm in the 1990’s, but due to his unforeseen and early death, Boeta’s mother was forced to sell off and lease the majority of the farm. This hardship didn’t deter Boeta, and with the support of his young wife and family, Boeta and his close friend, Magnus set out to start rebuilding the farm.

Over the years Boeta has grown Fortuinspruit into a healthy and booming farm with over 2000ha of arable land. He first approached realIPM when he was trying to get a difficult patch of sclerotinia under control. The fungus was affecting areas of his soy crops.
‘You have to treat soy like a vegetable – you have to go out into the field every day and check on it’ explains Boeta.
At first Boeta tried a molasses mix (sugar water) as a foliar spray to supplement nutrition in the 2011 and 2012 seasons. He had seen farmers in the USA use this method, and although the mix was cost efficient (only 8% if his input cost), it was a hassle to mix and spray, and didn’t fit with his overall spray programme.

Boeta then began looking for products online, beyond home-made solutions and he came across the likes of Gabe Brown on YouTube, as well as Argentinian and Brazilian farmers, and what they had achieved. This exposed him to Trichoderma, and Boeta contacted realIPM to find out more about their biological product, Real Trichoderma TRC900.

Boeta was advised by realIPM to add Seabrix into his spray mix, which he did, including a minimal amount of PopUp. Results were good, and since then Boeta has increased the amount of PopUp. Boeta believes that the use of PopUp enhances the hardiness of the plants, increasing their ability to grow under difficult climatic conditions – such as hail and excess rain.

Boeta is a businessman, as well as a farmer, and works his lands to yield optimal results. By combining focused chemical usage, as well as biological products, he has found a happy medium that works for his farm. He opts for intensive scouting to pinpoint areas of infection or pest issues, and will use chemicals when and where necessary. At the same time, he provides his soy with nutritional supplements such as Biotrissol – a ‘flower bomb’ as Boeta affectionately refers to it as. Biotrissol strengthens the plant and assists in the formation of blooms – a key success in soybean production being an increased number of flowers, and eventually pods.

Boeta has also taken up the use of cattle post his soy harvest, and one can’t help but notice his leaning towards regenerative practices, as long as they work. He also applies additional Phosphorus and Potassium to his soil post soy harvest as these two main elements are extracted by the soy, depleting quantities of the elements in the soil. Using soil analysis, Boeta ensures he achieves a balanced soil – this regular intervention, ensures he knows exactly what to add to his soil, further reducing wastage and input costs.


Boeta took Mel for a walk through his soy fields, and together with Steve, realIPM’s technical representative in Boeta’s area, they unpacked the intricacies of scouting for pests and sclerotinia. His hands-on approach to his farming practice is evident in his understanding of the mechanics of his plants and soil and although Boeta is indeed a smart businessman, he is definitely a farmer first.

We’d like to thank Boeta for the opportunity to visit his farm and the time he spent with realIPM’s team.

We’re glad to report that no city slickers were harmed during the making of this article 😊

For further information on the advantages of combining biological products into your farm’s spray programmes, contact us.