Farmers now broadcast groundnuts – how productive is it?
A look at the agronomic and socio-economic implications
In order to achieve optimum yield for every crop, there is a recommended plant population. It is easy to get the appropriate plant population by planting the crop in rows.
Groundnut is a very important cash crop in all farming families in areas where the crop has a potential thereby increasing household income and food security.
However, farmers in their attempt to cultivate this important crop have resorted to a practice which requires serious considerations to ascertain its productivity. Thus, an agronomic and socio-economic study was conducted into the practice in selected communities in Karaga and Yendi districts where the crop is cultivated.
Findings from study
Results show that both the haphazard planting and the broadcasting methods had significantly lower yield than the dibbling at recommended spacing (60 x 5 cm ) on flat ground and in rows, even though the same quantity of seed was used. For one thing, this is probably because there was no even spread of the seeds to efficiently utilize both the above and below soil resources Secondly, crowding at some spots while other spots were sparse allowed weed growth, and weed control was difficult and time consuming. These factors result in low yields compared to the dibbling.
In all the districts the dibbling yielded higher than the broadcasting. However, in some districts this may partly be due to enhanced rainfall.
Disadvantages of broadcasting.
• Difficult to achieve the right plant population.
• Refilling is difficult if there is drought and germination is bad
• Cultural practices in terms of weeding, fertilizer application, harvesting etc are also difficult to perform.
Even though it is early to conclude using one year data, dibbling at the recommended spacing will always give higher yields no matter the precision at which the broadcasting is carried out!
Can our media friends help us inform the general public, especially our local farmers on the need to do dibbling instead of broadcasting?