Timing is one of the most important factors in farming and can result in farmers making huge profits or suffering heavy losses. Everything in agriculture should be done at the appropriate time. A farmer may lose up to 50 kilograms of maize per hectare for every day delayed in planting. Suppose a farmer delays planting by 30 days, then that means he loses 1.5 tons per hectare and if he is intending to do 10 hectares it means the farmer loses about 15 tones and speaking in monetary terms the farmer loses a whopping $31,500 RTGS dollars – using the current GMB producer price per ton. Farmers should always carry out operations at the correct time to reduce significant financial losses.

‘Failing to PLAN is planning to FAIL’, therefore this invaluable piece of advice is coming at the right time and it reminds the farmers of – SEASON PREPAREDNESS with the following key points to note:

  • Timeous acquisition of inputs ranging from fertilizers, agro-chemicals (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides) & animal heath remedies. Buying inputs on time will ensure farmers may plant at the right time rather than wait for the rains and start running around in search of inputs, remember the financial implications of late planting.
  • Proper planning means farmers will choose the right seed varieties without pressure and confusion, always remember ‘It begins with the right seed’.
  • Early preparations mean farmers will be able to carry out repairs, mobilize machinery for tillage and for planting.
  • For farmers who rely on draught animal power, early preparations will enable them to prepare land and have time to rest the animals while maintaining them in good shape.
  • Poor planning may result in farmers failing to carry out important operations such as soil testing.
  • Soil testing enables the identification of nutrients and limiting factors to plant growth. Benefits of soil testing also include increase in fertilizer use efficiency by indicating appropriate rates for different soils and crops. The farmer may spend money buying fertilizer and apply them but end up with low yields. If soils tests are done the farmer will be able to know the correct type and amount of fertilizer to apply for positive results and this reduces unnecessary costs.
  • Remember, ALWAYS plant with the first effective rains to maximize yields.

It would be unfair of us not to caution our dear farmers that ALWAYS ACQUIRE INPUTS from reputable suppliers with respect to seed, chemicals and fertilizers. As you might be aware that the local market is awash with counterfeits and fake products. These products always come in the cheapest/worst quality that you can never imagine and as expected the performance of these products is always below par and besides if the worst comes to the worst there may be legal implications. As the prices of goods are generally on the higher side, it may seem logical for the farmer to try and look for inputs from ‘bogus’ or ‘unregistered’ or ‘illegal’ suppliers who always sell at very attractive and decorated prices but always bear in mind that ‘Cheap is EXPENSIVE and RESULTS DON’T LIE’, farming is a profit making business and shortcuts may be detrimental business wise.

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