Grow Farm

PANNAR: Let’s plant maize!

More than 300 farmers attended  PANNAR’s Groblersdal Extravanganza in February where the focus was on introducing cultivars and cultivation principles to emerging farmers.

It was held on the farm of Jerry Sefoloshe, who also took a leading role in making sure that everybody understood what the representatives from PANNAR were saying.

These are some of the lessons learnt:

Weed management

Weeds are in competition with your plants to get nutrients from the soil. It is very important to clean you lands by using weed killer (herbicide) or by taking out the weeds by hand or with a machine. It is always easier and better to control weeds early on in the planting season.

• Small weeds are easier to control because they absorb herbicides better.

• Herbicides are less effective when it is hot and plants are dry.  

• Weeds that germinate and grow with your crop cause the most yield loss.

• You can lose 35% of your yield due to weeds.

 • If your land is weed free for a 100 days in the growing season, you will have the best chance to get a good harvest.

• It is better to control weeds before they can compete with your plants.

• It is also better to destroy them before they make their own seeds, because then they will be a bigger problem next year.

Jerry Sefoloshe, on whose farm the event was held also took a leading role in making sure that everybody understood what the representatives from PANNAR were saying.

Spraying

There are different herbicides that you should use in different stages of growth, but it is better to kill weeds before your plants even begin to grow. It is also possible to make a plan to spray efficiently without using expensive equipment. (Read our series on rucksack sprayers for more information.)

Stages of growth of the maize plant

Before we look at planting and fertilising, it is important to understand the stages of growth of the maize plant. It is very important to get your timing right and to choose the right cultivar for the conditions.

Next month we will look at planting and fertilising your maize.

Weeding by hand is hard work, but can be very effective.
The plants on the right are smaller because they have to compete with the weeds. Photo: farmersguide.co.uk.
There are mechanical weeders available, but they can be expensive, and they clean between rows, but not between plants in a row. Photo: integratedweedmanagement.org
Photo: knowledgebank.irri.org.
The PANNAR Farmers’ Day at Groblersdal were very well attended.

Meet our farmers:

Alfred Mafolo from Saaiplaas said he learnt a lot from attending the PANNAR farmers’ day at Groblersdal and next year he will bring his son along, because the young people must learn to do things the right way.
Habakule Nkosi and his team from the Leolo-Dlamini Community were very impressed by the way they could learn about planting times and how to cultivate.
Makole Moropyane from Malegale said they always plant the same thing. It was very good for him to learn about the different cultivars.

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