Saturday, April 13, 2024
Home Farming Tips It Pays To Test Soils, Seeds And Fertilisers For Viability

It Pays To Test Soils, Seeds And Fertilisers For Viability

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This is the traditional way of farming in Uganda. You buy the inputs from a store near you, take them to the farm, plant them and wait for a harvest.

Sometimes, seeds do not germinate properly because the farmer did not test the suitability of the soils.

The fertilisers could also be ineffective because the farmer did not test them.

However, if farmers want to move away from investing too much on the farm, but getting little returns, they should change the traditional practice and start carrying out tests on every input they use.

While farmers are slowly realising that soil testing is now a must for effective commercial agriculture, they are yet to realise the importance of carrying out viability tests on all the other inputs including seeds.

There are no seeds on the market that have got a 100% germination rate. If a seed is rated that way on the cover, then that is wrong.

However, there are many seeds that are rated as having a germination rate of 95%, but when they are planted, the actual germination rate is less than 50%.

Some seeds produce even much less, while many do not germinate at all. Most of the seed dealers know that the information about the seeds is wrong, but they still give it to farmers since they (farmers) do not have a means of ascertaining the quality before planting.

This scenario also applies to other farm inputs, for example, fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and acaricides.

The best way for a farmer to find out the truth is to carry out viability tests before planting them.

Just like experts can identify the fertility in soils, they can also identify the possible or actual germination rate of seeds.

Just like soils need both macro and micro elements to help them sustain a crop, other farm inputs like seeds, fertilisers and pesticides also have requirements to help them to germinate, fertilise the soils or kill pests respectively.

The basic elements in soils include the common known nutrients like nitrogen, potassium and calcium, while for seeds, issues like moisture levels, damage on seeds and size of seeds, among others, determine the level of germination.

Chemicals too have ingredients that when tested by an expert can show how effective they are.

There are public and private experts, who can help farmers test these farm inputs for liability at a small cost.

Rather than incurring big losses by planting a seed or using inputs that you are not sure of, it is better to use the services of these experts.

Lastly, in a market where unscrupulous dealers go as far as dipping maize seeds in coloured water and putting them on the market as treated seeds, the best way to avoid buying fake inputs is through taking them for tests.

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