WHEN BIG BULBS TURN TO HAUNT THE FARMER

Any farmer in the country will always want more yields,better yields and good quality products.

These quality parameters in a crop such as onion are also inclusive of the bulb size: the bigger the size,the better the yields in terms of tonnage and “of course ,quality’’….but in most cases,this comes around to haunt the farmer where his produce is rejected by the buyers and the ‘’most interesting part’’ is because of the BIG SIZE/HIGH QUALITY bulbs.

So,what do we need the farmer to do?…. underfeed the crop to ensure he gets small to medium bulbs only? Avoid varieties which can give bigger bulbs?

Is it time for the farmer to get smarter?

 

 

Onion

YES it is, Agroinfokenya strongly advises that to beat around this,a farmer intending to do two acres of onion can use the principle of averaging in getting better returns from his harvests-this works if the market targeted is local and undefined. By using the knowledge of spacing and crop nutrition.variation of these two in each acre will guarantee the farmer big bulbs in one acre and medium bulbs in the other acre,then at harvesting,MIX the two and sell to the buyers.

………………what is your story in line with this, what is your experience?

 

THE TELEPHONE FARMER AGONY

After planning on how to go about farming ,the engineer was sure that he will manage as a telephone farmer-any way,what was the essence of Watsapp if not to help him in farmind?

Planting went well ,germination was superb and he was happy,after all,seeing all this transformation while on leave away from nairobi was what he had been longing for.

Done with the lave and could only coe on site after every three weeks,he decided as a good kenyan,put all his trust in the “farm manager” whom he was HANDSOMELY paying ksh 6,000 per month! To manage his 5 acre investment of the watermelo(you know what this investment means)

Back in the office,he happily shared with friends what he is currently doing so that he can get more income as he saw featured in some media on Saturday/Sundays

To motivate the workers,he bought a motorbike to be used to reach the nearest town for chemicals and fuel for the pumps.after all he only needed to call the agrodealer and instruct him to give a particular chemical(which he had widely read about on the internet) and pay via mpesa

Week 3,he couldn’t go to the farm as he was ‘’too busy” to get to the farm,so the best option was to use technology-ask the worker to sent current photos of the farm and specifically te crop condition through watsapp.This,he got after some 1hr as the worker had gone to the market and couldnt take the pics immediately.

Looking at the crop,he was not very happy as they appeared wilted but on inquiry,he was assured that with more watering frequency-which meant more fuel,this will be sorted(as jua ilikuwa imewaka saaana).he promptly increased the fuel allocation

………………….week 5

He got the time off to the farm,and what he found out,was hertbreaking-.THE PHOTOS HE WAS RECIEVING WERE OF A NEIGBOURING FARM whose owner is a peasant farmer and NOT HIS,all his investment was a shaddow of what he envisioned!…

His harvest was some few good looking fruits with the majority classified as sekete and ferried by probox buyers.

PAY YOUR WORKERS WELL!!!!

 

FARMING THE EXCEL WAY-DIY ,ASK AND dont struggle inventing the wheel

Healthy Spinach stalks

You are a doctor,a banker, policeman,an engineer,a nurse…..and while looking for a place to “diversify ” your wealth and increase your income sources, you have found it through different platforms that farming is the thing.

the extrapolations with respect to the costs and profits in relation to the time frame excite you. You are assured of huge untaxed profits within a period of three months by JUST PLANTING watermelons, and the profits are…wow.

you quickly (because you are an expert in analysis, go to excel and create sheets ,link them and what you see is more or less similar to what you have seen trend on social media groups regarding the ROI

you ask yourself what you have been doing all this time, why you did not realize this long time ago and you immediately start thinking of resigning from your current job to concentrate on farming, after all you have the cash, four times more that what the excel sheet tells you that you need to accrue profits that will surpass all that you can get in two years if you continue staying on that Job!

BUT

have you asked for the UNTOLD stories?

do you know that agriculture is not done on paper but in the field?

PICTURE THIS

a farmer buys a tin f seeds worth 60,000.buries all this in the soil and goes home with no security at site to watch over the seeds which of coz he cannot get back even if they don’t germinate as they do not have a warranty!

yesterday, I bought a electric gadget worth 4000 ksh and i have a warranty of 1 year. Yet a seed of 60K has none.

So ,before you trust all those excel formulas, before you are excited by these figures ,before you dive into the agricultural waters, talk to the accredited divers, ask for the stories, listen to the challenges and what they found out. specifically, find the story of one who started with the excel and now he is successful. after all, you don’t need to invent the wheel.

do not be excited by the mouth watering figures propelled into the public by agro based companies eg seed companies on the quantity of harvets you will attain.DIY is the best way

THE UNETHICAL BEHAVIOR IN SEARCH OF QUICK RICHES- agro industry

YES,indeed farming is the way to riches,the scale of the industry with the largest pool of millionaires is projected to tip towards those in the sector.but what are some of the  unethical behaviors recently noted in pursuant of these riches?

1: Upon realizing that the market is ripe and the prices very good,with the fear of the price dynamics that is key in pushing the small and medium scale farmer to the poverty hole(notably with no mercy from the brokers and buyers) who hope for the later (of coz to reap more),some bean farmers in an area that boarders rift valley and Coast(kajiado/taita taveta county) devised a way to reap before the prices went down

—-GLYPHOATE is a herbicide to rid off the farm the weeds and NOT to hasten the drying of the crop!!!!

Your guess right. The farmers sprayed the herbicide to mature but not yet dry beans to fasten the process,the end results were bad losses registered by the buyers who stored the beans hoping to dry it the the best moisture level.

2:Thank God some chemicals have been banned by the PCPB;

ever heard of “Kuosha Nyanya”? this is a term used to make the tomato appealing to the eye of the buyer,having noted that the buyers love shiny and fresh looking fruits ;although the product (dimethoate) is out of the shelves,some farmers still access it across the boarders and use it on the same. the product with a PHI of 14 days is sprayed on the night before the fruits are harvested,on harvesting,the fruits are good looking and “sticky”

3;Ever wondered why that 12T lorry when leaving your farm is purported to have loaded only 7T of water melons? worry no more and just get the info by a)visit a credible institution and get to know your weight just before you harvest the melons b)when the brokers have hanged their balance,hang on it and record your weight.(you will have a 20-30% reduction -within 1-2 days!! and i bet  you wont wait for anyone to force you to invest in a weighing machine.

These have been tampered with to record different weights as soon as they hit 10kgs or more-most of the buyers will use a packet of Unga to verify the “good settings ” of their machines(don’t be DUPED)

Why MARKET PROJECTIONS ARE NO LONGER RELIABLE

Farmer:Mr peter lemparo
variety planted:Redcoach F1
harvest:13T/acre
year :2016

Agriculture is quickly turning out to be the ”what i can do for life other than ”what i will do after retirement”.with this,many youths are now getting into it whereas many employed persons are leaving employment in droves to ventue into agriculture,the question of When is it the right time to leave employment is a subject for discussion later on.

the new entrants who appreciates the value of proffesionalism in each field engage the servises of agronomists in the area who seek to advise the cients on the best tme to plant inord to get maximum benefit to sustain the venture.

The dissapointment of the new farmers after the failed projection is always evident after harvesting and agroinfokenya seeks to inquire ,who is to blame? is it the agronomist or the farmer?-None of the cited parties is to blame!

The earlier any farmer realizes that the projections based on past planting history are currently rendered absolette and cannot significantly fuction in the current era ,the better prepared the farmer will be in planning his/her planting program

why:In the past ,agronomists would clearly know the extent of crop coverage in specific areas recognised to be the chimneys of a certain crop eg Mwea,oloitoktok and narok areas when talking of tomatoes. marigat,mpeketoni,loitoktok,uganda,mwea,kibwezi and taveta when talking of Melon just to name but a few.

Today:We have to talk of Nairobi area as a serious player in the horticutural industry,moreso,across the country,so many small scale urban farms have come up and these are not in the open,thus making it hard for people to,when analysing the planting trend,to include them.

this may evidently be the reason why,despite low production in the mapped areas for certain crops in the recent past,prices still plumeted to the bottom compared to some years back.

a call to action: Farmers are advised to search for,get and secure a market for their produce before plunging into extensive blind production of a hyped crop with hyped margins and hidden costs that eventually leaves the farmer with a dent in the pocket

Happy farming

NB:this is a personal opinion and any views contrary to these are welcomed

 

THE PROJECTED DEMAND-THE LOOMING DROUGHT

FARMER

this was 2016!

2016 was indeed a rough time for most of the farmers in the country with most of them registering losses not due to production but due to VERY low prices ,any Toato farmer will be able to explain this better.

the media has been awash with the looming  food crisis and the projected prolonged drought.agronomist,farmers and kenyans are witnessing crops drying out in the farms before maturity in some parts of the country and the “‘unreported”  restriction of Maize imports from Tanzania by H.E JPM,

2017 is here with us,many questions are lingering on the farmers minds on what to plant and what not to plant,if they are going to make profit or Not.when to plant and when NOT. this year might prove the …ONE mans…is another mans….. and looking at the drought and food scarcity,the farmer may have to look at this

projected planting time has proven evasive when it comes to the profit margins and i will NOT TRY to pretend i am a market analyst guru,but i look forward to your feedback from your 2016 experience

what did you plant?

when did you harvest?

what was the price?

did you make profit?

 

 

CROP PROTECTION:MANOUVERING THROUGH THE FLOODED PRODUCTS

Melon Growing Problems: Troubleshooting

As we prepare to discuss and come up with a tentative crop protection program/guide for the crop, I wish members to go through the following .

in the crop protection discussion, we will focus on the AI(active ingredient) and NOT the trade names, trade names will be used only as an eye opening example under the AI molecule.

NB:To know the AI of the product you are buying,look for the “Guarantee” name on the label e.g: Guarantee: Imidacloprid

The crop protection program will be done in three phases/growth stages to bring out the major problems/diseases and pests at each stage

Here is a troubleshooting list of possible melon problems with control and cure suggestions:

Leaves curl under and become deformed and yellowish.

Aphids are tiny, oval, and yellowish to greenish pear-shaped insects that colonize on the undersides of leaves. They leave behind sticky excrement called honeydew which can turn into a black sooty mold. Use available chemical in your local agro input supply shop.

Leaves turn pale green, yellow, or brown; dusty silver webs on undersides of leaves and between vines.

Spider mites suck plant juices causing stippling. Spray with water or use insecticidal an abamectin chemical.

Leaves yellow; tiny white winged insects around plants.

Whiteflies will congregate on the undersides of leaves and fly up when disturbed. Remove infested leaves and the whole plant if infestation is serious. Use imidachloprid chemicals to clear the whiteflies.

Coarse white speckling or stippling on upper surface of leaves; leaves may brown.

Leafhoppers are green, brown, or yellow bugs with wedge-shaped wings. They suck the juices from leaves and stems.

Trails and tunnels in leaves.

The leaf miner larvae tunnel inside leaves. Destroy infected leaves and cultivate the garden to destroy larvae and keep adult flies from laying eggs. Cover crops with floating row covers.

Water-soaked blotches on leaves–not enlarging past leaf veins;

water-soaked spot can appear on fruits Angular leaf spot or bacterial spot is a waterborne bacterium which causes irregular geometric patterns on leaves. Spots may turn yellow and crisp. Avoid wetting foliage with irrigation. Prune off infected leaves and stems. Clean up garden. Plant disease-resistant varieties. Rotate crops up to 2 years.

Knots, galls, or swollen beads on roots; plants wilt; poor yield. Nematodes are microscopic worm-like animals that live in the film of water that coats soil particles; some are pests, some are not. Root-knot nematodes feed in the roots and stunt plant growth. Most common in sandy soils. Rotate crops. Solarize the soil with clear plastic in mid-summer.

Holes chewed in leaves, leaves skeletonized; runners and young fruit scarred.

Spotted cucumber beetle is greenish, yellowish, ¼ inch (7mm) long with black spots and black head. Striped cucumber beetle has wide black stripes on wing covers. Hand pick; mulch around plants; plant resistant varieties;

Leaves have yellow specks that turn brown, then black; vines wilt from point of attack.

Squash bug is a flat, shield-shaped black or brownish bug with a triangle on its back; it sucks juices from plants.

Round white powdery spots and coating on leaves.

Powdery mildew is caused by fungal spores. Spores germinate on dry leaf    surfaces when the humidity is high; spores do not germinate on wet leaves. Common in late summer or fall but does not result in loss of plant. Avoid water stress. Pick off infected leaves.

Irregular yellowish to brownish spots on upper leaf surfaces; grayish powder or mold on undersides.

Downy mildew is caused by a fungus. Improve air circulation. Plant resistant varieties. Rotate crops. Keep garden free of plant debris.

Mottled, distorted leaves.

Mosaic virus causes leaves to become thickened, brittle, easily broken from plant; plants are stunted and yields are poor. The virus is spread from plant to plant by aphids and leafhoppers. Remove diseased plants. Remove broadleaf weeds that serve as virus reservoir.

Early flowers don’t set fruit.

A couple of possible reasons: (1) There may not be enough pollinators, mostly bees. Hand-pollinate using artist’s paintbrush. Bee activity may be low because of cool weather or insecticides.

Fruit is misshapen or flavor is bitter.

Several possible reasons: (1) Inadequate pollination: be sure bees and pollinators can get to flowers; (2) dry soil: keep the soil evenly moist while melons are developing; use drip or trickle irrigation in drought and mulch to retain soil moisture; (3) high temperatures: temperature swings of 20° or more can cause bitter flavor; keep soil mulched; (4) poor soil fertility: add aged compost to planting beds and side dress melons with aged compost.

Plants wilt and die beginning with crown or older topmost leaves. Verticillium wilt is a soil borne fungus. Light brown streaks can be seen in stem split lengthwise. Rotate crops. Avoid soil previously planted in cucumbers and family members, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes.

Vines wilt suddenly and die starting with one or two leaves.

Bacterial wilt clogs the circulatory system of plants. It is caused by bacteria that is transmitted by cucumber beetles and is seen often where the soil stays moist. Remove and destroy infected plants before the disease spreads. . Wash hands and clean tools with a bleach solution.

Plants are stunted and yellow; runners turn yellow and wilt gradually dies.

Entire plant collapses. One-sided brown lesion may form on affected runner for 1-2 feet. Fusarium wilt is a fungal disease which infects plant vascular tissues. Fungal spores live in the soil and can be carried by cucumber beetles. Plant disease-resistant varieties. Rotate crops. Remove and destroy infected plants. Fungicides are not effective

Water-soaked spots–sunken, brown or black–on fruit. Belly rot, bacterial spot or blight, blossom end rot. Remove and destroy infected fruits. Remove all plants and plant debris at the end of the season. Promote good drainage adding organic materials to planting beds. Keep the soil evenly moist; mulch to retain soil moisture. Avoid over-head watering. Rotate crops.

Plants produce few fruits, mostly foliage. Plants are likely spaced too close together. Space plants at recommended distances, Plant spaced too close or too far apart yield fewer fruits as a result of poor pollination.

 

Ref:wyclife ingoi,Agri seedco ltd C/o KITO F1

 

SEED TYPE SELECTION-ZEBRA VARIETY

company:Amiran kenya

Maridadi F1

 

SEED VARIETIES

Who dictates the seed variety you plant?

-Buyers have had a big say on this (HOW) –By rejecting some fruits due to the market requiremets on the varietal aspects: SO , which is the BEST SEED to plant? And WHY?

When selecting a seed ,research for the following aspects

The size of the seeds in the fruits after maturity

  1. Some fruits have LARGE AND BLACK SEEDS,If the seeds are big,buyers tend to shun these fruits as these reduce the aesthetic value of the fruit once sliced into pieces,on the other hand,those supplying to a different market niche who have been advised to chew the seeds will g for it without hesitating or blinking an eye.
  2. Some fruits have MANY,SMALL AND GOLDEN/BROWN seeds; These are the mostly favoured varieties in the market
  3. Other fruits/varietis have very FEW seeds but GOLDEN/BROWN ; these are the highly favoures in the market

Time taken to mature

  • The time taken to mature may also differ between different varieties from different sources i.e; a zebra variety from company X will take Y days to mature whereas a zebra variety from company M will take N days to mature

Fruit size uniformity

  • -The maturity days is also dicatadedby the wheather parterns and altitude
  • There is no point of having 100 fruitswith a funny weight/size distribution ie;10 fruits are >10kgs ,40 fruits are 6-8kgs and 50 fruits are less than 3kgs ,this implies that you have 50% rejects(by brokers/buyers standards) although the fruit number is good.Choose a seed type where 70-80% of te fruit size/weight lie in the 6-8kgs(or rather above 4kgs) as this is the best (we await a launch of Table melon type of the zebra seed in the future)

Keeping quality

  • Always seek unbiased advise on the type of seed to plant noting that in agribusiness,aim to have a higher average weight other than a skewed weight distribution.
  • Select a seed type whose fruit will last long after attaining horticultural maturity and even fter ripening. Some seed types will have the fruits start rotting at physiological maturity.after harvesting,some fruits will keep for long whereas others cant

Vine lenght

  • Some seeds if planted at the recomended spacing will crowd and innitiate the challenge of diseases such as botrytis thus the rottig of fruits,this is also proportional to the the first fruit positioning as some will tend to appear late in the vine from the point of germination than others,For the long vined seeds,always give a bigger inter row spacing than for the short vined seeds.ASSIGHNMENTThen:
  • To the farmers and agronomist ,help us identify the seeds

-log in for the next feature discusion on this as we fill the following table with you

  SEED TYPE AREA PLANTED ACREAGE FRUIT SIZE DISTRIBUTION SEED SIZE SEED COLOR KEEPING QUALITY DAYS TO HARVEST TOTAL TONNAGE
1 TRIAL F1 KINANIE 1 >10kgs:20%                             4-9kgs :70%                          <4gs     :10% big black good 60-75 15T
2                  
3                  

 

NB:This is NOT a public ENDORSEMENT OF ANY SEED TYPE but a mission to get the farmer practical response for future advise and trials on the same,ALWAYS CONSULT an good agronomist for the right information on this

 

MARKET REPORT-WATERMELON SEED SELECTION

https://agroinfokenya.com/site/2016/10/21/1-the-very-basic-in-watermelon-farming/THE MARKET REPORT ON SEEDS (TIGER F1,SUKARI F1, MARIDADI F1)

as a duty to the farmer,and the promise of information dissemination, agroinfokenya will without bias post and share farmer experiences on various crops.kindly note that this is not meant to discredit the performanvce of any variety but to inform farmers in the area on what is happening.diffeent obdservations are welcomed on the same to increase our understanding of the same.

Agroinfokenya would wish to point ut that the published results are bound to change under different agronomic conditions such as utrition ,Ph and planting techniques,but not very much per-se on some parameters

Recent comparison

date of the regime:3/6/2016-10/9/2016

Area:Taveta

location:kimala

farmer:mr charles Lerumasi

cell:0715501395

farmer facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/charles.ngui.96?ref=br_rs

seeds compared: Sukari F1,tiger F1,and Maridadi F1

Agronomists:Dennis Nyandaya-crop nutrition

Joshua mutevu:Crop protection

Seeds source:Farmer innitiative

maridadi F1

maridadi F1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

farmers comments:

Seed size

  • Tiger F1 exhibited black and bigger fruits whereas sukari F1 and Maridadi f1 has small and golden seeds

Fruit size

  • Tiger F1 produces bigger uniform fruits of more than 8kgs
  • sukari F1 produces non uniform fruits of different sizes but has uniform maturity/ripening
  • Maridadi F1 has uniform medium sized fruits

Fruit shape

No difference was noted on the fruit shapes but maridadi F1 has a more oval shape that guarantees it the bigger size

Fruit sweetness

  • No major difference noted (maybe if this could be founfd if the farmer had the tool for easuring the brix index)

Keeping quality

  • Of all the varieties,maridadi F1 showed superb keeping quality followed by sukari F1 then Tiger F1.this,the farmer arrived at by monitoring the time taken  for the flesh to crumble when stored as he awaited the customers in his Taveta store.

Time taken to mature

  • The variations in the number of days was minimal and was overshadowed by the consecutive harvests before clearance of te fruits in the farm

NUTRITIONAL PROGRAM USED

kimala soils have a PH of  7.5, the peogramme used was YaraMila winner for planting at 100kg/acre. CAN for first topdres at 75kgs per acre

ON YIELD:

average yield of 13T/acre

Maridadi F1 gave the better yields (Total Tonnage) but on the market parameters,there wee variations on the distribution of fruit sizes in the three fruits.hence,profit realized from the three varieties will ultimately differ depending on the buyer preference and the market supply(this is a contentious issue)