Sharon Chigeza Manicaland Correspondent
FARMERS in Manicaland who failed to meet the May 15 planting deadline for winter wheat are making a last-minute rush to put their crop in the fields to ensure optimum yields.
In an interview, Manicaland provincial agronomist Mr Thomas Sakuhuni said he was confident of bumper yields in the province despite planting delays in some areas caused by late disbursement of inputs.
“The recommended deadline for optimum yields is May 31 and we are pleased to say most farmers had completed their planting by this date save for a few,” he said.
“A few farmers in the Middle and Lowveld areas of Makoni, Mutasa and some parts of Mutare districts, however, are still rushing to conclude planting.”
Mr Sakuhuni said the major challenge faced by the late planters were delays in getting inputs.
He urged those farmers who had fallen behind schedule to expedite their planting process to attain the maximum possible yields.
“Those farmers who have fallen behind the planting schedule can still plant up to mid-June although research has shown that yields can fall by 50kg per hectare per day after the May 15 deadline,” said Mr Sakuhuni.
“The highest yields are realised from the crop planted between the 1st and 15th of May but farmers can plant up to May 31. Some farmers may even push up to June 15 for the very late crop due to conducive temperatures.
“These farmers should however hasten their planting process so as to be within a favourable window to attain good yield.”
Optimism is high that farmers will surpass last season’s record of wheat under the command wheat programme and increase the country’s wheat stocks.