Most farmers do not clearly know what to feed their crop/how to feed their crops to optimise on the yields-it is prudent to understand that a well fed crop will feed you/your pockets well! how do you do it
TWO FARMERS EXPERIENCE,LETS LEARN!
Two farmer whose farms are adjacent to each other decide to TRY farming,they make this decision in Noveber 2014 as they plan/bank on their projected company end year bonus to do this
DECEMBER 2014:Both farmers did a soil test and the report indicated that the level of nutrients in their soils was similar*
JAN 2015:……………FARMER A & FARMER B decide to start!
The two farmers,whose farms are adjacent to each other decided to plant watermelons due to the high returns associated with this crop,they chose the same seed type/variety and because of their friendship,they decided to do all the agronomic practises at the same time w.r.t planting model,spacing,nutritional regime and watering/irrigation regime.since the workers were diferent in both farms,weeding and crop protection differed as each and everyone resorted to the advise he got from difeent company agronomists and farming chat groups…
Three months later
FARMER A:harvested 7 tonnes of the fruit from the 1 acre
FARMER B:harvested 12 tonnes of the fruit from the 1 acre
the farmgate price not being bad,they both accrued good profits justifying their ROI projections
The two resolved to plant the watermelons again using the same program as 2015.
What always runs in the mind of the farmer who find himself in this situation as he plans to replant
- Farmer A thinks he underfed the plants that is why he got lower yields and hence needs to increase the application rates
- Farmer b may opt to reduce the amount of fertiliser to be used this growing season insinuationg that his farm is ‘’fertile’’ and will still give better yields
- Farmer B will stick to the same program and expect the same yields.
What do you think will happen if the same program is repeated?
What do you think farmer A should do? What may fail farmer B should he repeat the same program.?
what do you always do?
Any farmer needs to understand the following,ill put it in the most simplest manner.
Removal rate-this is the toatal amount of nutrients removed from the farm with the produce or after harvesting
uptake rate-this is the total amount of nutrients mined/removed by the plant from the soil
uptake rate is not always same to removal rate as not all the plan parts are removed from te farm during harvesting.
example in melon
for every tone of watermelon harvested,then you remove the following amounts of nutrients from the farm.
1,2kg of Nitrogen
0.39kg of phosphorus
2.9kg of pottassium
0.14kg of calcium
0.12kg of magnesium
0.08kg of sulphur
This implies that if you are targeting 20t in 1acre,then your soil should be able to supply 58kg of K and 24kg of N
in 2015-the cause of the low prduction by farmer A may have been attributed to cop protection* mishap
having harvested more in 2015,this implies that farmer B removed more nutrients from rhe soil than farmer A, thus to ensure sustained production in susequent years/crop,then he need to supply a more or simmilar rate remved from the farm by the previous crop 1.e 12*1.2kg of N=14.2kg and about 34,8kg of K!
this implies that,farmer B needs to supply more nutrients(read fertilizer) to the farm inorder to maintain the previous yields otherwise,the yields will definitely go down.if he sticks to the same program,thn the yields wil go down
So,what detrmines HOW MUCH FERTILISER ONE APPLIES ?
by knowing the removal rate and,a qualified crop nutrition agronomist can calculate for you this,depending on your target yield
if farmer B applied 1 bag of NPK in 2015,then to supply 34.8kgs of K in 2016,he will need 102kgs (2bags) of the same!
otherwie,you will notice tht after a bumper harvest,this is always followed by a very poor harvest,for those doing fruit trees,after a heavy bearing,this is followed by a poor bering/heavy flower and fruit abortion by the plant
*in some parts of africa,the subsequent poor production is sometimes attrbuted to ”bad eyes” by people who envied previous good yields!-this is not true
FROM one of the dailies in kenya,here is a response in line with this post,given to a farmer by Mr vitalis wafula,the regional agronomist of Yara East africa ltd on the ASK THE AGRONOMIST PAGE
QUESTION :I HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT I TEST MY SOIL AND THEN BUY A FERTILISER SPECIFICALY MANUFACTURED FOR MY FARM ,WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE?
RESPONSE: Soil testing is a very important practise as the result will give an indication of the potential of your soil to supply nutrients as well as its properties which are important in making certain agronomic decisions
However,note/remember that,from your farm,you can still get different soil test results.,this then begs the question,would you have to buy different fertiliser types for the different spots with different results within the same farm? It is not commercially viable for any factory to manufacture hundred or thousands of to suit the soil needs of everyother farmer.
SOLUTION IN THE BIGGER PICTURE
Application of fertilizer is meant to principally feed the crop and not the soil, threfore,it is more important to consier the crop nutrient requirement,and supply them using a specific fertiliser,different crops have dfferent nutrien requirements,therefore,this should be considered when deciding which fertiliser to apply
Soil test results will help you in choosing which fertiliser to use but their usefulness is limited if they are used as a stand alone decision making factor for deciding the type of fertiliser to use,instead,the crop nutriet requirements should offer the backgroung and aplication of crop specific fertiliser considered, and the rates adjusted based on the local soil conditions as well as the yield target ,thus,the more the yield target,the higher the rate of nutrients (fertilizer) you would have to apply hence,crop specific fertilisers with rates adjusted for your soil conditions will certaily give you better value in your faming business )