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Saturday, 8 February 2014

Farmers advised on proper way of planting and seed use

By Bob Aston
Farmers in Sipili Division in Laikipia County have been urged to prepare their farms early ahead of the planting season. Speaking during a meeting on February 7, 2014 convened by Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society, Charles Nyakiongora from Kenya Seed Company Ltd said that farmers should practice good husbandry in order to get good returns from their farms.
Nyakiongora said that good farmers are getting good returns per acre by practicing good husbandry, using hybrid seed and fertilizers. He advised the farmers to grow their maize properly by following modern farming methods.
“We must ensure good agricultural practices in order to increase production. Planting well is the only way of ensuring that we increase wealth,” said Nyakiongora.
Nyakiongora addressing farmers in Sipili
Nyakiongora urged farmers to prepare their farms early enough. Farm inputs should be bought early while the farm should also be ploughed on time so that immediately it starts raining they can plant their crops.
“It is essential to plant early, at the beginning of the rains. Yields are greatly reduced by late planting,” said Nyakiongora.
He said that land reduce in fertility by continuous maize growing, while land choked with grass and other weeds will not produces good maize crops.
“Ensure that you take good care of your farm. Not using certified seeds, correct fertilizer and not pruning will lead to low yield,” said Nyakiongora.
Farmers have also been urged to choose the correct hybrid depending on the altitude and rainfall condition of the area. He said highland maize varieties are the ideal type for Sipili and its environs. These varieties perform well at altitudes between 1500 and 2800m above sea level.  
The maize seeds varieties that are ideal for planting in Sipili are: H6218 which is blight tolerant and has good husk cove cover. H624 which is tolerant to grey leaf spot, leaf blight and rust. H6210 has good husk cover and is tolerant to lodging and leaf blight. H629 produce big maize, has good husk cover and is leaf blight tolerant. H628 produce long maize cob, normally produces more than one cob, tolerant to lodging and most leaf diseases. H626 is tolerant to lodging and most leaf diseases. H614 is heavier compared to other maize, can dry in the farm, tolerant to blight, weevil attack and leaf and ear diseases. H520 matures early, tolerant to leaf  rust, lodging and grey leaf spot. H624 tolerant to grey leaf spot, leaf blight and rust.
Nyakiongera addressing farmers
“High yields can only be obtained if the correct number of plants per acre is grown. You are also supposed to ensure there is good management during physiological maturity,” said Nyakiongora.
Nyakiongora said that farmers should also ensure that they use top dressing. Good top dressing should be done twice. The first top dressing should be done 21 days after planting while the second one should be done 3- 4 weeks after the first top dressing.  He advised the farmers to do split application where half of the quantity is applied during the first top dressing while the remaining is applied during the second top dressing.

He said that once maize has been planted it will now need proper nutrition for the development stage. This is when the crop requires nitrogen for its development. Top dressing using Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) will help increase yield as it gives a boost in the developmental stage. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for healthy vegetative growth which ensures hastened maturity and a high yield.
Farmers have also been urged not to top dress when there is no rainfall.
Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society has been registered as agents of Kenya Seed Company Ltd.
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