Let’s adopt sound agronomic practices to increase productivity
EDITOR — As we prepare for the coming agricultural season, there is need to go down to the very basics of agronomy that can lead to increasing crop productivity in Zimbabwe. Achieving high yields per unit area hinges on farmer willingness to adopt sound agronomic practices.
Productivity forms the basis of agricultural systems as it determines resource use efficiency and profitability of any farming venture. Farmers should have a good understanding of rain fed agriculture.
Farmers should know that the crop factory functions effectively by capturing resources from the soil and air. With that in mind farmers should be aware of the soil and atmospheric processes that have an interaction with a crop from time of sowing or planting until that crop is harvested.
The Meteorological Services Department forecasted that there will be normal to above normal rainfall in Southern Africa. However it is important that a farmer has farm specific weather data and this can be achieved by investing in small weather stations at the farm.
Emphasis this season should be on production, which is increasing yield per unit area. Growth in agriculture should be driven by increased yield per unit area rather than by expansion of the cultivated land.
There is a constant need to improve the efficiency of crop production and this can be through an appreciation of crop responses to a given environment. This forms a fundamental basis for the development of methods for realising increases in crop production efficiency.
Farmers should sustainably manage their own land so as to realise the most profitable yield from the land year after year. The management has a huge bearing on crop production and is a great contributor to sustainable crop production. Every farmer has the responsibility to decide on the choice of crop (species, variety); cropping system and the use of available resources be it natural from the environment and those applied, such as irrigation water or fertilisers. Ronald Rusere, Via email.