By Albert Makendenge
If you are yet to apply fertilizer this rainy season or just looking for a simple way to get it done next time, vaMudhumeni has a simple guide on the basic rules that you should follow in order to get the best yeilds. Before anything else start with soil testing, it is the best way to know the exact the amounts of each nutrient required by the soil in order to avoid over and under application. Soil testing is the best way to avoid surpluses and deficiencies when it comes to fertilizer application,
- Make sure that there is sufficient moisture in the soil in the fields before applying fertilizers.
- Ensure that the fertilizer is distributed uniformly on the entire area of operation.
- Avoid hot hours or hot days while applying the fertilizer.
- Choose a fair weather day preferably for broadcasting.
- Do not top dress the fertilizer when the crop leaves are wet otherwise burning and scorching of leaves may occur.
- If need be, confirm the compatibility of fertilizers before mixing and applying
- Place the fertilizer at least 5 to 8cm below the soil surface.
- Cover the fertilizer furrow immediately.
- Avoid drilling of fertilizers and seed together especially with legumes as even a small amount may affect germination.
- Spray application is not advisable during the hotter period of the day and is recommended in the evening. Repeat the process if it rains immediately after spraying.
- Foliar application of fertilizers on crops that have very small leaves.
- Bulky organic manures should be applied to the field one month before sowing and 8 to 10 days for cakes. This is so that decomposition may take place properly and nutrients will be readily available for crop growth.
These are some of the simple guidelines every farmers needs to know in regards to fertilizer application.