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DEALING WITH HEAVY RAINS

By Albert Makendenge

The country has, of late, been experiencing heavy downpours with promise of more to come from the Meteorological Services Department. It is there very important that farmers are well aware of the consequences of heavy rains and also how to deal with them. Too much rainfall has consequences that are very numerous and complex and there is no one single way to dealing with the consequences.

Consequences

  • Increased seed and seedling disease which can very well and simply lead to poor and uneven stand establishment and additional disease pressure.
  • Working wet soil which results in compaction and the problems associated with compaction such as poor root penetration and water infiltration.
  • Disruptions in scouting and the timely application of pest control measures leading to increased pest and disease pressure.
  • Fertilizer leaching and runoff leading to crop nutrient deficiency
  • Disrupted planting and expected harvest schedules leading to supply shortages and excesses.

Recommendations

  • Do not plant or keep seed or seedling that has shown signs and symptoms of diseases from pest attack. If this is done, rainfall will move the diseases throughout the field and potentially causing many problems later.
  • Although every rain free minute must be used, it is wise not to work wet fine textured soil as this will compromise its structure and thus leading to compaction.
  • During the times of heavy rains, farmers should keep up with scouting and control measures for diseases and pests in order to identify these early enough and take appropriate action.
  • Fertilizer that is lost due to leaching and runoff should be replaced through a combination of methods which include side-dress soil application, foliar application or fertigation which involves injecting the nutrients into the irrigation water.

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