FARMERS, particularly in dry regions, have been challenged to adopt good agronomic practices in order to reduce the effects of climate change.
BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
SeedCo agronomy and extension service manager John Bhasera said good agricultural practices will enable farmers to unlock the genetic potential of the crop seed varieties they would have chosen.
“Farmers should adopt good agricultural practices so that they can be able to unlock the genetic potential of the varieties. Good agronomic practices entails that the farmer should plant on time, yes, of course ,with the first rains.
“If a farmer receives more than 35mm within two or three days, then we recommend that the farmer should plant. So to plant early helps the crop to develop rigorous rooting system which will be able to suck moisture from the lower depth of the soil profile, so this also helps mitigate against mid-season dry spells and terminal droughts.”
Bhasera urged farmers to adhere to optimum and recommended crop population levels in order to achieve high yields.
“We recommend those farmers in low rainfall areas to adhere to recommended population levels ranging from 37 000 plants per hectare to around 45 000 plants per hectare, so in this case the spacing configuration should be 90cm by 28cm so that at the end of the day they achieve 37 000 to 45 000 plants per hectare.
“In high potential areas, these are region1, region 2A, region 2B and some wetter parts of region three, we recommend that they should adhere to 50 000 plants per hectare to 60 000 and the spacing configuration in this case will be 90cm by 20cm to 22cm at one plant per station.
He said pest control was one of the important aspects in ensuring a healthy crop, adding that pests could destroy up to 30% of the crop, thereby affecting output.