INSTITUTE for Agricultural Research (IAR) Zaria, Kaduna State, has advised farmers to extend planting date of crops by at least two weeks beyond normal planting period to enhance production in the 2020 wet season farming.
The Executive Director of the Institute, Prof. Mohammed Ishiyaku, gave the advice in a statement issued on Tuesday in Zaria.
Ishiyaku advised farmers to use medium maturing variety where available, or further delay planting of early maturing variety that were available with them.
“A nitrogen fertilizer that is NPK 20:10:10 should be applied in at least three splits for cereal crops like maize, sorghum and millet in the region.
“In essence, fertilizer should be applied during planting as first dose, second dose should be applied two weeks after planting, while the last application should be at six weeks after planting,’’ Ishiyaku said.
Ishiyaku said the advice was part of the recommendations of a meeting between IAR, Faculty of Agriculture, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, and other stakeholders.
Ishiyaku said that key issues that required urgent attention of policy makers, farmers and other key stakeholders included prediction and projection of delay in onset of rainfall and delay in cessation of rainfall in the northern and southern guinea savannahs.
He said the total amount of rainfall to be expected in 2020 would be similar with previous years, except that the number of rainy days would decrease.
He said with this, farmers were therefore advised to plant crop varieties that had the medium maturity period to escape floods and harvest losses due to anticipated prolonged rainfall.
“ A moderate increase in the intensity of rainfall will be experienced during the 2020 rainy season which may result in flooding and excessive water for certain crops like maize, thereby causing harvest rots and washing off fertilizer,’’ Ishiyaku said.