Most farmers think that, most yields are achieved through employment of good agricultural practices such as use of certified seeds, proper land preparation as well as fertilizer application. However, soil plays a major role, hence the need to conduct soil test. A research was carried out recently in one of the counties to search out the soil condition for farmers who wanted to plant irish potatoes, maize, green peas, beans and many more. when conducting soil test, two aspects of the soils were examined, namely, soil fertility and the prevalence of microorganism wilt.
Soil test: Soil fertility
On soil fertility, the standing of macro components such, phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium (NPK), Ca and magnesium and small components like Mn, copper, Zn and iron were examined.
Other factors that were examined embody the unfavourable soil characteristics that contribute to plant nutrient uptake and physical characteristics like pH and soil organic matter.
The results indicated that each one (100 per cent) of the sixty soil samples had a pH of between 3.77 and 5.9, that was termed as extreme to moderately acidic for growing of the meant crops.
Further thirty per cent of the samples during soil test had inadequate soil organic matter content, whereas eighty-one per cent and fifty-six per cent had inadequate phosphorus and magnesium, respectively.
It was, therefore, counseled that the soil pH be maintained optimum for various crops. This could be achieved through avoiding of acidifying fertilisers like diammonium phosphate (DAP) and urea and at the same time apply fertilisers like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N: P: K) 17:17:17, 23:23:0, and 20:20:0.
The zero for metal (K) was utilized wherever there was no deficiency of the nutrient. Within the extreme acidic cases particularly wherever magnesium was conjointly inadequate, broadcasting of stone lime (magmax) on the affected farm was counseled.
The encouraged application rates were between two hundred and 400kg/ha depending on severity. Since lime reacts comparatively slowly, it must be in place well before planting acid-sensitive crops to allow adequate time for the pH modification to occur.
Generally, it takes 3 months for lime to react with the soil. Therefore, apply one month before planting and bear in mind that lime needs water to react with the soil.
A November application will therefore be most popular for a crop to be planted in March of the subsequent year. Further, lime reacts quicker once mixed well with the soil so guarantee to use before any tillage and administer even unfold on the entire plot as well as the perimeters.
Where organic matter was low, application of well rotten manure mixed with the fertiliser was conjointly recommended.
On microorganism wilt, over 1/2 the samples (52 per cent) were positive. This interprets to very large crop loss particularly the potatoes and a few farmers with affected items of land have claimed to lose the maximum amount as ninety per cent of the turn out through microorganism wilt.
To address the problem, crop rotation of Irish potatoes with maize, beans, sweet potatoes, kales, cabbages, and strawberry is suggested.
Planting crops of like capscum, eggplant, tomatoes, and tobacco at the side of potatoes was discouraged as they act as alternate host to the bacterium.
After cleansing the infected field, one is suggested to continually keep the sphere free from weeds as they act as alternate hosts. it’s additionally smart to uproot and destroy all the morbid plants as shortly as they’re detected.
In addition thereto, disinfection of farm implements like operating tools, gumboots and shoes is supported. A cleansing resolution of dilution 500ml/1l of water will be used for the farm equipments whereas soil fumigants like metham sodium or basamid granular will be applied before planting.
Farmers Should Avoid Recycling Seeds
The modification of the planting fertilizer failed to have an effect on topdressing fertilisers like CAN and foliar feed for crops that require them.
It was also noted that Zinc and copper within the soil have gotten depleted in most of the farms thus limiting crop yield. Of all the collected soil samples, thirty-seven per cent had inadequate Zinc and twenty-six per cent copper.
This is against a background whereby Zinc has been found to extend yield of some crops like maize by up to forty per cent.
To correct copper and Zinc deficiencies, around 5kg/acre of cupric sulfate and zinc sulfate, severally, was steered for the exhausted substance.
It is advised that application of fertilisers should be synchronic with wetness handiness to optimise uptake. One potato farmers’ cluster that enforced the soil take a look at results magnified their production from fifteen bags of 100kg per acre to eighty-five bags/acre.
Recycling of seeds is discouraged and farmers are inspired to use certified seeds to cut back pests and illness incidence and improve on yields and quality.
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