By Martha Leboho
A senior agronomist has urged wheat farmers here to stick to standard irrigation methods and to avoid water-logging their plants in a bid to enhance productivity and ensure quality yields.
The provincial crop and animal officer Mr Peter Chamisa said in a recent interview that water logging of plants resulted in low and poor quality yields.
He said a total of 402 hectares in the province were put under winter wheat under the Command Agriculture Programme this season.
"We want to advise wheat farmers in the province to avoid over watering their plants, since this leads to low production and poor quality yields," said Mr Chamisa.
"Due to the unavailability of urea and ammonium nitrate over watering often results in most farmers having yellowish wheat.
"They (farmers) are encouraged to engage agronomists in their respective areas on issues around supplementary fertiliser application. Generally we recommend that they use sodium nitrate in cases where the crop is planted late."
He said although it was too early to predict yields they were expecting to harvest more than 1 200 tonnes of wheat from the 402 hectares, which has been planted so far.
He said last season they put 900 hectares under wheat and the hectarage declined this year due to lower uptake of the programme by farmers.
The Herald is reliably informed that the crop is being produced in Masvingo and Gutu districts. Masvingo Province has seven districts.
Mr Chamisa said it was also important for farmers to acquaint themselves with the normal winter farming seasons to enhance productivity.
"It is worrisome to note that several farmers planted their crops in the midst of the farming season. Such crops could go to waste if we have early rains ahead of harvesting.
"We expect them to start planting between April and May when we will be having conducive temperatures for the crops," he said.