Heavy rains threaten crops

via Heavy rains threaten crops | The Herald January 6, 2015 Elita Chikwati

Crops in different parts of the country have started suffering from leaching as a result of incessant rains the country has been receiving during the past week.

Farmers in most parts of the country have, however, resumed agronomic practices such as weeding, planting and topping tobacco as the Meteorological Services Department forecasts a slight decline in the rainfall until next week.

Agritex provincial officers yesterday confirmed that crops were starting to lose out to the perpetual rains as farmers could not work during the heavy falls.

Mashonaland Central agronomist, Mr Izah Jaidi said the crops were in good condition but there were signs of weed pressure as farmers were failing to work on their fields due to the rains.

“Farmers could not apply herbicides and top dressing fertilisers due to water logging. The heavy rains made it difficult for farmers to use tractors and boom-sprayers especially those in heavy soils,” he said.

He said early irrigated tobacco had matured and farmers were reaping and curing. “The heavy rains delayed reaping and this may affect the quality of the crop,” he said. Mr Jaidi said most farmers in Mazowe and Bindura had planted Irish potatoes and urged them to spray against fungal diseases.

“Tobacco farmers who are reaping should make use of clips so that the crop may be transported and cured early before it wastes,” he said. In Midlands, provincial agronomist, Mr Innocent Dzuke said the crops were in good condition although crops in some parts of Gweru and Mvuma were showing lack of nitrogen due to leaching.

Mashonaland East agronomist, Mr Kanisio Gazimbi said most farmers in the province had a late crop due to the late rains.

“The majority of the crops are at four to six week stage. Plantings are still going on and we encourage farmers to consider short season varieties and small grains.

“The crops are in a fair to good condition. The continued rains have affected crops and there are signs of leaching. There is water logging in low lying areas and this affects agricultural operations,” he said.

In Mashonaland West, farmers were yesterday taking advantage of the break in the rains to tend to their crops. Most of the farmers were weeding and spraying. An Agritex officer in the province said there were some areas that had not received meaningful rains.

Meanwhile, the Meteorological Services Department said the country will receive significant rains starting next week.