A Boschendal case study: How does your choice of trellising system affect your carbon footprint?

Increasing global understanding of the impact and effects of climate change has seen increasing emphasis and pressure on reducing carbon emissions across the supply chain. However, when it comes to agriculture it is not always easy to implement the necessary changes due to various factors such as cost barriers, and a lack of understanding about where emissions are coming from and how they can be reduced. There is a common perception that reducing carbon emissions will be both costly and difficult, requiring changes to existing systems that have no additional benefit to the farm.

This is in fact, not the case. At farm level, carbon emissions and input cost savings go hand in hand. Measuring and reducing emissions at farm level can have a significant effect on reducing a farm’s input and operating costs. What’s more, making these reductions does not necessarily require costly investments into capital intensive equipment. This can be clearly illustrated by Boschendal Farm in the Western Cape.

Boschendal’s commitment to farming sustainably is evident the minute you enter the farm gates. The innovative and sustainable practices used throughout and the commitment to environmental and social sustainability is impressive. One of the innovative practices that has been employed by the farm is a new trellising system for plums. The case study below explores this innovation in greater detail, explaining how this reduces farm level carbon emissions, and how this is having a long-term positive effect on farming operations.

The case study can also be accessed in PDF format from the following link: Boschendal case study


2 replies
  1. Arthur Chapman
    Arthur Chapman says:

    This is a great article about increases in efficiency. Is fruit quality affected in any way, positive or negative? Also, for the sake of innovation, it would be useful to track changes in soil carbon storage. If farmers can show positive trends in soil carbon storage, this will contribute to lower or even net positive carbon stores (apart from the benefits to soil quality). One day there might even be a financial incentive for net soil carbon storage from farming operations.

    • Anel Blignaut
      Anel Blignaut says:

      Dear Mr. Chapman

      Thank you for your comment on the Blue North Sustainability case-study and we are glad to hear that you have enjoyed reading the article. It is my understanding that this system ensured an increased yield of about 20-40% and the trees produced fruit sooner. I did not enquire specifically on the quality aspect but I assume that this would have been considered.

      With regards to the soil and carbon storage, yes, I agree that this is an important aspect to monitor carefully both in terms of soil quality but also in terms of potential carbon markets both abroad and in South Africa. Definitely a space to be watching.

      Please feel free to engage with us further on this topic or any other questions that you may have relating to the work of Blue North Sustainability.

      Kind regards


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