Mid-Congress Tours

The Mid-Congress Tours will be held on Wednesday 22 July 2015 from 12h00 until 17h00, except for the pastures tour which will depart promptly at 08h00.

Mid-Congress Tours

The Mid-Congress Tours will be held on Wednesday 22 July 2015 from 12h00 until 17h00, except for the pastures tour which will depart promptly at 08h00.

Cultivated Pastures and Dairy Tour

IMPORTANT NOTE: This tour will depart directly promptly at 08h00 and return before 18h00.
 

08.00: Bus departs Royal Showgrounds
08.30: Cedara Departmental Trials (Sigrun Ammann)
09.15: Agricultural Research Council Trials (Dave Goodenough)
10.00: Depart Cedara for Karkloof
10.45: Arrive at Denleigh Farm, owner Rene Stubbs
12.30-13.30: To Karkloof Club for a light lunch (sponsored by Capstone)
14.00: Meet Brian (manager for Kevin Lang) at Blairmore to view beef on pastures
14.30: Proceed to Fairfield Dairy (host Brian and consultant Rory Milbank)
15.30: Leave for Pietermaritzburg Royal Show Grounds (arrive 16.30)

Marianhill Landfill Conservancy

IMPORTANT NOTE: This tour will depart directly after the parallel session at 12h00 and return before 18h00.

 

The conservancy is managed by Richard Winn, a horticulturalist and rehabilitation specialist, to oversee the rehabilitation process. The rehabilitated cells together with the 30 hectares conservancy form a green belt. A wetland has been established which is a feat of environmental engineering. A bird hide overlooking the wetland has also been created. This rehabilitated ecosystem is also home to the endangered black-headed dwarf chameleon.

The project began with an Environmental Impact Assessment, the first landfill in South Africa to undergo such a study. It found a need to restore local ecosystem functioning, minimize the loss of biodiversity, and connect the site to other nature reserves to support natural migration patterns. The Mariannhill landfill had to be designed to prevent environmental contamination, and restore damaged areas. The key aims of the project were to collect and treat harmful landfill emissions using natural, robust and low-cost methods, and to rescue soil and indigenous vegetation removed during construction and store it in a nursery on site. Other objectives were to help mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and to provide an income to the city through the sale of electricity and carbon credits generated from the captured methane.

The tour covers the landfill which has been registered as a national conservancy site and has been acknowledged by the UN in pioneering it's first eco-friendly landfill method, recycling (methane gas is used to generate electricity), a nursery which has so far saved the municipality millions of rands in growing their own indigenous trees, wetland and bird hide (with 118 different bird species having been recorded here).

Ukulinga Long Term Grassland Research

IMPORTANT NOTE: This tour will depart directly after the parallel session at 12h00 and return before 18h00.
 

The Veld Burning and Mowing Trial (BMT) and the Veld Fertilizer Trial (VFT) are part of the grassland research programme at Ukulinga, the University of KwaZulu-Natal Research Farm just outside Pietermaritzburg. These are among the longest-running field experiments in Africa, having been initiated in 1950, and the treatments have been faithfully maintained since then. The original objectives of the BMT and VFT were primarily agricultural. Treatments in the BMT were designed to examine the influence of mowing Moist Tall Grassveld at different times in summer, and removing the aftermath in winter by burning or mowing, on the yield and quality of hay, whereas the VFT was designed to examine possible ways of increasing the yield of veld by fertilizing with various elements. However, the range of treatments applied and their particular combinations allow for an examination of many relevant ecological questions such as competitive displacement of species along nutrient gradients and the interactive effect of mowing and burning season and frequency on community composition and productivity. Generations of students have observed and measured the treatment effects, and the resultant information has influenced grassland management throughout South Africa and beyond.

Delegates on the tour will walk through the trials, observe the treatment effects and discuss the implications.

Umgeni Valley Nature Walk

IMPORTANT NOTE: This tour will depart directly after the parallel session at 12h00 and return before 18h00.

 

A walk in Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve paying special attention to the Iron Age sites and cultural history of the reserve. Hills are steep, though the walk won’t be fast-paced. Good foot-wear, adequate water, and hats a must to bring with!

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