Farming is a challenging, stimulating occupation and lifestyle. For Carl Jordaan, farming is in his blood and no other job could compete with the pleasure of walking out into the freshness of a new day in nature. After exploring the commercial working world, under the guidance of a few excellent mentors, Carl returned to the family farm and began his journey as a fruit farmer.

Carl believes that we ‘bring who we are and what we believe, into our work’. To work hard is good for us, but it should also bring about a fair reward or profit to be sustainable. Over many years, Carl has been challenged to remain profitable in a tough economy. Carl believes that there is more to farming, than ‘doing it the way it had always been done’, and when he met Hardie and Jean from realIPM, his natural curiosity was inspired by the logical approach of the realIPM integrative farming practices. He explained that it challenged normative thinking and as an inquisitive man, who was seeking alternatives to chemical-only farming (and the ever-increasing cost of chemicals) Carl opted to experiment with the realIPM program. Carl explains that he found the honest and long-term philosophy of realIPM matched his own. Over the years, he has come to appreciate realIPM’s advice and input.

On his yellow peaches, sultanas, wine grapes and citrus, Carl now opts for mass trapping to manage fruit fly as well as lacewing insects to manage other pests. He has found that Lacewing insects have a good impact and keep pest numbers in check. In terms of maintaining tree health, Carl has the challenge of shallow soil and must irrigate frequently, in small amounts, to maintain plant health (and he must take the weather into account too – windy conditions can make foliar sprays an exercise in futility). He opts for a foliar feed which contains a cocktail of micronutrients as well as Real Trichoderma TRC900 and Real Bacillus. He endorses a preventative approach to disease – in other words maintaining healthy plants, resulting in healthy fruit, and therefore seeing less insect pressure overall. He uses only Real Metarhizium 78 for red spider mite control, which he has found to be highly effective.

Carl also uses humates and AminoK to help bind the minerals in the soil and make it easier for the plant to absorb them – vital for tree crop health. Overall, Carl has been able to reduce chemical input drastically, decreasing his overall input costs, while at the same time improving pack house fruit quality. The long-term impact being increased return on investment as well as improved soil and tree crop health.

Hardie, RealIPM’s technical representative to Carl continues to work closely with Carl in enhancing and perfecting his sustainability journey in farming.

Thank you to Carl and Erika for taking the time to meet with Hardie and the realIPM team to share their journey. It is good to be on this journey together.