South Africa

Good soil management requires boron

South Africa's agricultural sector is one of the world's most diverse, consisting of well-developed corporate farms and subsistence crop systems. With a climate that ranges from Mediterranean to subtropical to semi-desert, farmers can cultivate everything from citrus and subtropical fruit to wheat, sugar cane, and sunflowers. South Africa is not only self-sufficient in the production of all major agricultural product but is also a major food exporter. The greatest limitation to South African farmers is the shortage of water due to inconsistent rainfall, which can impede their ability to continue to meet the demands of a growing population.

Deciduous fruits—including apples, pears, and peaches—thrive in the cold winters and dry summers of the Western and Eastern Capes and are exported to Europe during the northern hemisphere’s winter. Growers also produce more than 1.5 million tons of grapes that are used domestically in South Africa's renowned wine industry.

Grains and cereals are also among the nation’s most important crops, while maize is a dietary staple, a source of livestock feed and an export crop. South Africa also plays a critical role in meeting the huge global demand for avocados, which thrive in both humid and drier areas of the country and are exported to Europe and Asia.

Featured Crops

Grapes affected by boron deficiency causes fruit with bunches of small seedless berries and “hens and chicks.”
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Boron deficiency symptoms first appear on the youngest leaves which become progressively smaller and malformed.
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Boron deficiency commonly causes cracking and external cork symptoms on the fruit. This may occur even though the foliage shows no symptoms.
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Improve Soil Conditions with Boron Supplementation

South Africa has limited fertile land, so most farmers need to increase the fertility of their soils to optimize crop yields. Farmers in fertile areas also need to maintain their soils, as frequent cropping depletes essential nutrients, particularly boron.

Many growers in South Africa understand the effects of boron on crops’ ability to use macronutrients, especially in dry soil, as well as different methods of boron application. A range of crops—including grapes, sunflowers, and various vegetables and grains—benefit considerably from boron supplementation. For example, boron can improve flowering, fruit set and fruit quality in grapes, which grow best in sandy soils that tend to be low in boron. Boron deficiency is also a common problem in avocados, which may require higher amounts of boron than other crops to ensure fruit set.

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U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 650 customers with more than 1,800 delivery locations globally. We supply around 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Learn more about Rio Tinto.

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