By Albert Makendenge
Rain planting visa vie dry planting. After the first effective rains or just before the rains come. This is the planting time question that never seems to get old – almost at each and every farmer’s lips before the beginning of any agricultural season. The unpredictability of rain patterns over the years has cast even more doubt over this gambling game and dry land farmers have never been unsure about when to put the seeds in the ground. Below is a comparison of the moves to help shed light on which one is the best to make.
Whilst planting before the rains is definitely not without risks, it also comes with a number of advantages. Besides the obvious fact that dry soil is easier to work with and gets the germination process up and running as soon as the rains come, it also frees up time for other agronomic practices in the early stages of the season. With this method farmers only need to hope for a good enough amount of rain to kick start and see through the shooting out process and not too much heavy rains that may very easily wash the seeds right out of freshly tilled soil (depending on the type of soil).
On the other hand, planting after the first effective rains is the safest move to do away with any possibilities of having to redo the planting as is the case with the hopeful long shot of dry planting. The soil might be a little difficult to work especially if it gets too soaked, which is why light soaking rains are more favorable. Rain planting can get so much easier when land preparation and marking the planting stations is done well beforehand that the only exercise left is dropping the seed and covering it up.
The decision on which move to make is almost always a tricky one that is not set in stone and sometimes actually comes down to personal feelings and instincts. At vaMudhumeni we recommend that farmers try to keep an eye on weather forecast as much as possible in order to make better and informed decisions on planting time and strategies. We also have a lot of information on our blog about agricultural practices that every farmer should know.