Maize farming: How to ensure proper fertilizer application this planting season

Maize farm. Image|Courtesy

Maize farming in Kenya occurs during rainy seasons –from the months of April to August.

During the planting season, farmers prepare the land carefully in order to realize increased yields, but the challenge comes in when applying fertilizer.

For a maize plant to grow healthy, it requires nutrients at different stages, which can be provided by different fertilizers –such as Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP), NPK, and Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN).

High yields can be realized by proper timing when top-dressing. The time you apply fertilizer to your maize will affect how much you will harvest.

Here are the steps maize farmers should observe to realize high yields.

Planting

Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertilizer or NPK fertilizer at the rate of 50 kg per acre are advised for the planting of maize.

Here, make sure that the right amount of fertilizer is applied and well mixed with the soil. Experts advice farmers planting by hand to place a teaspoonful or soda bottle cap of fertilizer into each planting hole.

Top-dressing

After planting, 2-3 weeks, when the crop is about 45cm high Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) or Urea is the best fertilizer to apply.

Apply it at the rate of 50 kg per acre if in a low rainfall area, while in areas with high rainfall, apply the fertilizer in two splits. The first split six weeks after plating and the second after 2 weeks or just before the maize flowers.

Make sure that the soil is moist before applying the fertilizer. Use a teaspoonful of fertilizer at the base of each plant in a circular way or along the row 5cm away from the plants.

Weeding

The clean the farm the healthier the maize plant. Clear all the weeds until the maize plant flowers –this avoid competition for nutrients.

Maize is the most important food crop in Kenya, summing up as the country’s stable food. When proper manuring is applied during it growth, the country becomes secure with enough food.

 

See also: Desert locusts scare farmers in Kakamega

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