PFUMVUDZA/INTWASA farmers who mulched their crops are expected to have a decent harvest compared to farmers who did not mulch their crops in the Midlands Province. Giving an assessment of the maize crop in the province, Midlands provincial crop and livestock officer Mrs Madeline Magwenzi said the dryland crop under Pfumvudza/Intwasa with mulch is estimated to yield 1-1.1 tonnes per plot while the un-mulched crop is estimated to yield from 0.2 tonnes to 0.6 tonnes per plot.
She said the yield under Pfumvudza/ Intwasa is better than that on conventional dryland. “Most farmers were affected by inadequate mulch and some mulch was eaten by cattle in the unfenced fields. Overall, there might be a need to use live mulch because all the farmers who religiously follow the Pfumvudza/Intwasa concept are smiling. Their crop retained moisture until maturity. “I would like to urge farmers with water bodies close to their Pfumvudza/Intwasa fields to water their crop to maturity,” she said.
Mrs Magwenzi said about 60 percent of maize in the province is under maturity while 40 percent is at early reproductive stage. “The province has 60 percent of maize under maturity while 40 percent is at early reproductive stage. The latter can be saved if we get substantial rains within seven to 14 days. It seems like we have lost part of the crop under maturity stage because some of it is already at a permanent wilting stage,” she said.
Mrs Magwenzi said maize that was planted early is being harvested across the province. “This crop is under dryland because under irrigation the yields are between five and 14 tonnes per hectare. Most crops on sandy loamy soils showed greater moisture stress compared to clay soils. Currently, 60 percent of our maize crop falls under poor condition and mainly from the maturity stage. Twenty percent is fair while another 20 percent is good also from early reproductive stage,” she said.
Mrs Magwenzi said she is still hopeful that farmers under Pfumvudza/Intwasa will get something from their fields. “This is because rains are promising hence farmers should remain optimistic and ride upon lessons learnt. It is of paramount importance to note that early planted crop yields better results,” she said. Other crops like sorghum, finger millet and pearl millet, she said are poor, fair and good respectively. “This shows that moisture stress is excessive. Right now the whole province is in dire need of water,” said Mrs Magwenzi. She said tobacco is at 100 percent maturity also following the drought resistant crop trend.
Mrs Magwenzi said cotton has shown great resilience as 60 percent is fair while 30 percent is good and 10 percent of the crop in the province, especially in Gokwe North and South, is poor. “The province received some rains during the weekend, which were poorly distributed. These rains did not show any positive impact on crops due to the amounts which ranged from 16mm to 54mm. We hope more rains will come and save the current fair and good looking crop,” said Mrs Magwenzi. She said the rain did not improve the grass condition for livestock grazing. “This is the same for water bodies like rivers and dams,” said Mrs Magwenzi.