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Planting Groundnuts For Maximum Yield

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Pods should be shelled one to two weeks before sowing. Only good quality seeds should be selected for sowing.

Damaged, small or shrivelled seeds should be discarded. It is good practice to purchase certified seeds at regular intervals, preferably every two to three years.

To control seedling blights caused by soil bacteria and fungi and other fungal diseases, a fungicide is recommended.

It is important to be aware that some varieties of groundnut seed require a period of dormancy between harvesting and sowing and one should read the leaflet on varieties before sowing the same seed soon after harvesting.

Planting

The planting date is difficult to standardise under Ugandan conditions. However, farmers should plant as soon as there is adequate moisture in the ground to ensure good germination.

In general, groundnuts are planted between mid-February and mid-April for the first season and in early August for the second season.

Planting early in the season helps to improve yields and seed quality and reduce the incidence of rosette disease.

Long duration varieties should only be planted with the first rain in the first season. Short duration varieties can be planted in either season.

Seeds should be sown at a depth of 5-6cm.

To ensure uniform sowing depth, germination and crop population, it is suggested that a groove 5-6cm in depth is made along the rows for planting.

Once the seed has been planted at the right depth and spacing, the soil is pressed down to ensure good contact with the seeds, enabling them to extract moisture more effectively.

Spacing

It is important to sow groundnut seed in rows and at the right spacing as this helps to reduce the incidence of rosette disease, ensures a more uniform pod maturity, better quality seed and maximises yield.

Planting groundnut seeds closer together results in individual plants setting fewer pods, but over a short period of time.

Overall, this will ensure that the pods will be of a similar age and stage of development and, therefore, make it easier to decide when to harvest.

Wider spacing will produce less yield per hectare.

The recommended spacing ensures that there is good plant population.

The recommended space between rows is 45cm, while the recommended spacing between seed is 7.5-10cm for bunch types like red beauty and 10-15cm for semi-erect types like Igola 1, Serenut 1 and Serenut 2.

Row spacing can be reduced from 45cm to 30cm, if desired and this will allow earlier ground cover and help prevent serious weed problems.

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