Stuart Barden in Kenya

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. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Bought some wood during the week

I bought some offcuts from these guys from the industrial area in Nairobi during the week.
The wood was for John and Wiz to do some woodwork, they are following in their big brother's footsteps who is a carpenter/builder.

Kabuli Chickpeas growing well

The above photo is Wiz in a crop of chickpeas.(note JD T shirt and Stara hat) Chickpeas planted on the 22nd of Feb.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Duma GL wheat

 This variety has only about 300 tiller/heads per square meter but reasonable head (ear) size, this photo is 68 days after planting, it has full grain and is only probably 30 days or so from harvest.
This crop was pushed by 30 degree C days and 25 to 30km per hour winds during March, even though it was on a very full profile of moisture the crop bolted and so we have low tiller numbers as the crop just raced into ear.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Bleached leaf margins in our Chickpeas

Does anyone know what may be causing the above? It looks like Simazine damage although they had no pre emergent herbicide, plus nothing residual in the fallow period.
I suspect it is some nutrient issue, probably not a drama for the crop although I would still like to know. (Click on photo to enlarge )

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Moisture readings from our AquaCheck probe

The above charts show the water use of a crop of Mung Beans planted around 50 days ago. The bottom chart shows the 100 to 200mm (10 to 20 cm) water use.
You can see that at about 11% of soil water the green line flattens out (crop could not extract any more water) before we had 34mm of rain. Then there was a rapid increase followed by a few days then another 18mm of rain. Then a few days flat and now as the crop is bulking up and using a lot more water you see the "steps" (daily use) using much more water than earlier in the crops life.
The top graph is for the 700 to 800mm (70 to 80cm) zone, as you can see the crop is also drawing on this water slowly There is obviously water left in between the above zones although I did not want to make it too complicated by adding them (click to show a bigger image)

Soil Moisture/Temperature probe data

We installed a AquaCheck soil probe a while ago, the above screenshot shows the 10cm deep soil temperature (red line), as you can see the soil temp rises and falls each day, the highest daytime 10cm deep soil temp was 32 deg C, this surprised me as it was about the same as the ambient temperature (air temp).
Then we had 34 mm of rain around the 2nd of April, as the graph shows, the temperature plummeted by 8 to 10 deg C.
 I suspect that the radical drop is also related to the Mungbean crop getting canopy cover (shading the ground).
Lots for us to learn from all this type information, the hope would be that we make better management choices based on what we learn.