Return to basics, grain farmers told

Weak maize production could often be linked to basic issues, including faulty planters and incorrect plant populations and planting depth.

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This was according to consultants at the annual Pannar Delmas Extravaganza held at the Delmas research station recently. Joe Payne, agronomist of Pannar, said hybrid cultivars were designed to ensure maximum yield when planted with precision. Some farmers underestimated the importance of maintaining a quality, functional planter to guarantee correct spacing and plant populations. “Make sure your planter is in order,” he said.

According to agronomist AK Geldenhuys, farmers should reconsider planting depth. Seed planted 6cm to 8cm deep showed more effective germination than seed planted 2cm deep. “Many people say 6cm to 8cm is too deep. But at 2cm, the variation between night and day temperatures can be 15°C or more. At greater planting depths around 6cm, the variation is about 3°C.”

He said trials had shown that maize planted at 8cm was up before maize planted at a depth of 2cm and yielded up to 4,7t/ha more under irrigation.

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