Stuart Barden in Kenya

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

2017 planting in progress

We started planting a week or so ago, running 24 hours with a fairly smooth run, sort of dry planting although we recieved 10 to 14mm last week which was neither your arm or your elbow. (Not dry but not really moist enough either)
Clouds building up each day and so Friday would be a great day for the long rains of 2017 to start, I have put my order in.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

On Farm Road Building

With our land sitting weed free in fallow, we are building a 3km access road while we have a moment.
We dug the black soil out of this creek crossing down to gravel/Murrum and then put 270 ton of large rock as a base, then topped it with crusher dust.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Next years crop water is in the bank (moisture bank)

This screen shot (click on it to expand) is from a moisture probe located in a field that grew Mung Beans (Green Grams) in 2016, harvested in Aug 2016.
The graph shows that there was exactly the same % of moisture in the soil profile at 60cm on 10th of November 2016 as there was on the 1st of Sept 2016, you will see a small increase around mid November as we had 132mm over the second half of Nov which found its way down.
People are sometimes sceptical about the medium to long term capacity of these heavy black cracking soil to store water over time, tool's like this help us learn so much about soil moisture, infiltration rates and so much more.
Our soil can hold a lot more water although only time will tell how much we end up with, we will aim to plant in the first 15 days of March, the long rains usually come between the 20th of march and the 1st April. (the long rains happens over 50 days most years) i.e start around the 20th March and finish on around 10th of May.

Friday, December 9, 2016

A New Season Begins

After zero rain from the 10th June to the 10th of November we have recieved 132mm of rain for November, this has added some valuable soil moisture and caused plenty of weeds to emerge.
We are spraying these at present and looking forward to planting our next crops in March 2017.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Started harvesting Chickpeas

We started harvesting our latest (Desi) chick pea crop a few days ago, they are yielding between 1.3 and 1.4 t ha which considering we had zero in crop rainfall is quiet Ok.
The quality is very nice and they will be on supermarket shelves soon.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Japanese visitors to the farm last week


Visit from some farmers from Northern Kenya

We had a great visit from some farmers from Northern Kenya a week or so ago, lots of discussion and great interest in conservation farming, the top photo is us looking at Kabuli chickpeas and the bottom is of the latest Desi chickpeas that were planted in mid June.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Chickpeas up and away

We finished harvesting this field of wheat one day and planted chickpeas the next (370 ha), our workshop has been a hive of activity building the above land roller to make harvesting the chickpeas a happier experience. (to be painted next week)
The Chickpeas are two varieties from Tanzania, with not much (probably under 20mm total rain) expected over July/Aug/Sept and Oct they will have to show themselves the tough plant I think they are. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Spraying out Sweet Forage Sorghum for a Trial

Double Crop of Chick Peas

18 hours after finishing this fields wheat harvest and we are planting chickpeas back into the wheat stubble. We don't expect any rain for the next four and a half months so. We have a full moisture soil profile and so let's see how we go.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Chickpeas getting bulky

I took this photo today (sat), these chickpeas are going strong, my boot is at the base of the crop.
Not a lot of pods as yet although lots of flowers.(click on photo to enlarge)

Wet Over The Past 5 Days

We had some unexpected rainfall this week, as you can see from our soil moisture probe we are again at field capacity, makes it a bit hard on the Mung beans although with some sun all should be well.
Click on the image to see better

Friday, May 20, 2016

Our Annual Field Day

We held our annual agronomy Field day yesterday  (the 19th) we had recieved around 48mm of rain in the previous 36 hours and there was lots of slipping and sliding on the road in.
Around 140 people attended and from feedback today there was lots of value from the day.
Peter Schuur's who is friend/agconsultant/agronomist and lives in Uganda spoke over the day on the agronomy of various crops, he did a great job.
Bottom photo is of Annie and her friend Veena at lunch time.
We had a Aussie BBQ (Choma) for lunch with Annie cooking and icing hundreds of cupcakes and Anzac biskets for morning tea.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Sweet Forage Sorghum 85 days After Planting

Look closely, you can see Wiz next to the sorghum, Kabuli chickpeas in the foreground, Click on photo for a better look. Sugar's are rising in the plant as it goes into head. The crop will be cut soon.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mung Beans and Wheat

Above are pictures of our wheat almost ready to harvest, it was planted on the 10th of Feb so it is just on 80 days from planting,  bit to quick to be much of a crop probably only 2 t per ha.
The Mung Beans on the other hand look fantastic with many pods being added daily.