As the growing season draws near, now is the time to refresh you with proper contemporary farming methods and techniques that will make your agribusiness a burgeoning venture in this period of temporary economic decline. Bearing in mind the type of crop to plant, Government policies, prevailing crop presence, Market survey, Type of soil as well as rainfall pattern, crop farming is a gold mine waiting to be fully exploited. Kindly Follow carefully as we guide you through harnessing this gold mine.
Type of crop to plant
In our last post we emphasized that agriculture is a business and treating it as a business sets us on the right path to creating more wealth. Knowing the type of crop to plant would involve having a fore-knowledge of the crop that would yield the highest profit at the end of a particular planting season as well as doing a market analysis to know what crop will be in demand in the year to come. Proper analysis and consequent farming of the crop makes you a smart entrepreneur already.
Policies promulgated by the government are also factors that can influence the kind of crop to produce. Take for example, the ban on the importation of urea by the Nigerian government due to its use by insurgents in creating explosives led to an exponential increase in the prices of urea available for farming activity, thus increasing the cost of production.
Prevailing crop presence
This buttresses the fact that there needs to be an awareness of the crop that is majorly in circulation in the market as opposed to one that has a demand which greatly exceeds it supply. It is imperative to identify this gap and plant this crop the next planting season.
Type of soil
Certain crops would thrive well in a particular kind of soil, identifying the right kind of soil would ensure optimum yield of cultivated crop.
A good knowledge of the rainfall pattern of a particular area will guide your choice of seed, as it is advisable to go for early maturing seeds in areas with longer rainfall pattern, while in areas with limited rainfall it is advisable to cultivate early early maturing crops. For example maize taking 60days.
Having taken all of these into consideration, you may now proceed to carry out pre-planting operations. First of which would include: –
Plethora farms present you an opportunity to have your soil tested to validate and affirm the presence of certain crucial micro elements for optimum crop production offering a guide to making the right choice of the kind of crop you need to plant to the kind of nutrient available in the soil. Some of the parameters in soil testing /analysis would include Soil pH, Nitrate testing, Soil organic matter etc. The term pH stands for a measure of acidity. The pH affects whether fertilizer and other nutrients in the soil are actually available to your plants. Vegetables need a soil pH between 6.2 and 6.8. Acidity as this influences the activities of soil electrolytes in the soil. Doubtless, tomato is going to do very well as these electrolytes allow for micro-nutrients to be available to the crop. If lower or higher, needed nutrients can get tied up in the soil chemistry, making them less available to plants.
Soil testing/analysis would also help to know the bench mark proportion of the nutrient in the soil for easy supplementation of the deficient nutrients.
Soil preparation would include ploughing, harrowing, whether or not to make ridges on the said piece of land. Permit me to throw in a quick question. Do you think it is better to plant on ridges or on flat ground? Kindly send in you strong points in the comments area underneath this post. It is ideal to plant 25cm within plants and 70cm between rows. The purpose of this is to allow for more plant population on your ground, the higher population the higher your yield and the lesser the plant population the lesser your yield. Hence, vertical farming as in greenhouse has flourished in recent times due to the fact that with limited space you can have a considerably high plant population. Thus, planting maize on one hectare using the above recommended spacing, you would require 25kg for one hectare of land. Going by the modus operandi, it gives you a plant population of about 53, 333 (Fifty Three Thousand Three Hundred and Thirty Three plant population) which translates to about 70 bags of maize after harvesting. This only happens when you make use of foundational seeds. Plethora farms also offers you a bonus idea of planting beans which helps you cut down cost of ploughing and is planted within the 25cm spacing within plants as earlier stated. You are assured of a minimum of 20bags of beans. On the long run the beans also fixes nitrogen in the soil in readiness for the next planting season.
In addition to soil preparation, you would also need an understanding of the direction of flow, as well as direction of planting.
Direction of Flow: – Planting ought to be done against the direction of flow. Identifying the direction of flow and planting against it will allow for the velocity of the water to be slowed down by the first ridge and as it progresses through the farm, the water starts to infiltrate into the soil. Except the infiltration capacity of the soil is poor.
Planting along the direction of flow only makes the washing away of the ridges easier by velocity of the flowing water.
Presence of shade
It is imperative to look out for the number of trees that are present on your field, the higher the number of trees the greater the shade. Thus accommodating insects on the farm as well as hindering photosynthetic processes. As a smart entrepreneur taking all of these into consideration keeps you on course to mining gold out of crop production.
Seeds are basic and critical input for enhancing agricultural production and productivity.
There are three classes of seeds.
1. Open pollinated Seeds
2. Hybrid seeds
3. GMO (Genetically Modified Seeds)
The seeds which seeds companies sell in the market and our farmers grow are commonly “certified seeds”. The certification of seeds is a legally sanctioned system for quality control of seeds that are used to cultivate crops. The certified seeds are grown under stringent production requirements and they have improved traits such as better yield, pest resistance, drought tolerance, herbicide tolerance etc. The certified seeds are outcome of few years of research and development to get these improved traits. This Research and Development is done on their parent plants. On this basis, there are five different categories or processes through which seeds are produced viz. Nucleus Seeds, Breeder’s Seeds, Foundation Seeds, Registered Seeds and finally certified seeds. The Offspring of breeder seeds is foundation seeds to registered seeds to certified seeds.
Everybody plants seeds, but there is the “foundational seeds” which are of unique relevance. The nucleus is worked on in the laboratory to arrive at a particular variety. This does not in any way have to do with Genetic Modification. The breeder then mass produces the Nucleus, because they are like the recipe (formula) and are usually small. The F1 Generation known as the Foundational seed is then obtained as the result of the work done by the breeder; the potential of the foundational seed is very viable. The certified seeds are those seeds that are sold to you by seed companies, and they go to purchase the foundational seeds from the breeders and mass produce these seeds. As I draw a conclusion to this edition of this article, we implore that you follow closely.
Note that whenever you plant your harvest because of its high yield, you lose 15-20% of your harvest.
For example, If you harvested 20bags last year and because of how well your crop (maize) did, you decided to keep aside 1 bag for planting in the next year. We have proven it over time that you will always lose up to 15-20% of your harvest. 20% of 20bags is 4bags. If 1 bag of maize sells for N15, 000. It means that you have lost N60,000.
Hence, the traditional farming system keeps you practicing the same methods and expecting a different result. But you will agree that it is not possible to do the same thing, same way and expect a different result. As we earlier stated, Proper contemporary farming methods and techniques will make your agribusiness a burgeoning venture keeping you on the path to effectively mining the gold that agriculture provides in this time of economic decline.
For your foundational seeds, kindly place your orders at plethora farms office, Suite 104, Turaki Ali House, Kanta Road Kaduna or call 09073737335, 08122255513, 09053250032.