Within the last few years, agriculture in Nigeria has experienced a massive growth. More people are beginning to cultivate and grow their own food as well as start-up large livestock or crop farms for profit making. This implies that more farmers are beginning to pay more attention to increasing the level of crop productivity on their farms.
Notwithstanding the impressive result, most farmers are still experiencing a downfall in crop yield year after year because of the poor farming techniques they apply unknowingly while cultivating their crops.
The method of cultivating crops right from the first stage of land preparation to the end of its cycle determines the quality and quantity of farm produce that would be harvested.
Crop productivity is an essential aspect of every farmer’s cultivation journey, so if harvest time brings more sadness than joy because of a decrease in your farm produce, one of these highlighted points you are about to read might be the reason. We’ll advise that you read carefully.
1. Choice Of Soil Type & Quality: There are different types of soil – Loam, clay and sandy soil. Every crop type requires its own particular soil texture to produce optimum yield. You can not plant rice in a dry land with no access to rainfall or means of irrigation, it definitely would not germinate, neither would maize germinate properly when planted in cold, wet soil except the soil temperature reaches 60°F. Farming is more than just the seeds in your hands, it requires a fertile soil which contains the required amount of nutrients needed for the desired growth. At Farmcrowdy, we ensure that we take the time to do an inspection on all farms and conduct a soil test before proceeding to plant.
2. Planting Method: The best planting method is one that allows seeds to be placed at the correct depth that provides good contact between the seed and soil. When the seeds are carelessly planted, there is the tendency for seed predators such as birds and squirrels to eat or dig up the seeds while searching for food. They could even be washed off easily by flood or irrigation. Also when planted too deep, the stalk and leaves could be inside the soil while the plant germinates. The solution is to plant seeds according to the measurement required for the crop type. Nothing is more frustrating than putting your farm together, and then planting seeds only to discover they have been washed off or dug out of their holes.
3. Planting Time: The time of sowing seeds is one of the major causes of low crop yield. When the land is prepared long before planting is done(except in cases where this is required), there is every tendency for weeds to have an advantage over the crops. You end up spending more time to take out the weeds to allow your crop germinate. Timing in crop farming is key. If you plant seeds too early or too late, the germination rate becomes too slow or it produces weak plants that would eventually die. Also, planting seasons should be considered as well as the weather condition at the time of planting. Not all crops are cultivated yearlong.
4. Poor Quality Seed Selection: An important factor to optimum crop productivity is the type of seeds. Not all seeds are of high quality. Some have been destroyed even before they are brought to the farm. Sometimes rough handling or placement of the seeds before planting can destroy its nutrients and moisture, thus resulting in low productivity at harvest time. Before planting, the texture and color of the seeds should be well examined. Ensure that the seeds are well handled and stored in a safe place with the right temperature.
5. Irrigation: To improve crop yield, a regular supply of water is needed. When this is not available or done at a particular time of the crop cycle, there is every tendency that there would be a loss at harvest time. Adequate preparation on how to avoid water shortage during crop planting should be made. Take note that too much water might also not be good for your plants. This is totally dependant on the type of crop.
6. Application Of Fertilizer: The type of fertilizer, amount of fertilizer and time of fertilizer application are some of the major reasons that lead to low crop productivity. You might need to answer these questions:
- What type of fertilizer am I using for my farm?
- What amount of fertilizer should I apply at the different stages of planting?
- When is the appropriate time for applying this fertilizer?
With adequate research on the type of fertilizer needed, you just might find out the reason why there is always a decrease in your harvest at the end of the crop cycle. It is required that fertilizer is applied in a balanced amount with standard methods at the appropriate time.
The knowledge of the best farming practices to adopt cannot be overemphasized. It is simple. When you use the best methods of cultivating your food crops, you reap a bountiful harvest and when you do not, you get little or nothing at all. It is the responsibility of every farmer to care for their farm in and out of the planting season.
Do you know you can save yourself from these and leave the farming to us? Yes, it’s easy! Join over 50,000 people that are already farming from their mobile phone by downloading our app on your Android and Apple devices. Good news is, we are launching our maize and rice farms in April. Would you like to empower a farmer by sponsoring one of our rice farms in Nigeria? Click here so you will be the first to know when they are available for sponsorship.