Rains Expected To Return To Parts Of Zimbabwe From Monday

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Rains are expected to return to parts of Zimbabwe starting Monday, bringing relief to the country after a brief period of dry weather. According to forecasts, widespread rainfall is expected from Wednesday and will continue into the following weekend.

This news comes after some areas of Zimbabwe experienced heavy rain in the past weeks, which resulted in certain houses in wetlands being partially submerged in water. Additionally, the excessive rainfall caused damage to roads across the country. However, amidst these challenges, farmers were able to take advantage of the favourable conditions and planted crops.

In a report released by the Government in consultation with local and regional experts, it was stated that forecasts for Southern Africa indicate increased chances of normal to above-normal rainfall from December 2023 to February 2024. This encouraging forecast has prompted farmers to utilize meteorological advice on climate patterns to mitigate risks associated with weather conditions.

The Southern African rainfall forecast for December to February suggests normal to above-normal rainfall for the next three weeks. Consequently, experts recommend that farmers be proactive in managing pests, diseases, and weeds, as well as in fertilizer management. Farmers who planted their crops in October and November should have already completed the first round of fertilizer application during the early stages of crop growth to support root development and overall plant growth.

Due to the heavy rains experienced in the last week of December and the first week of January, farmers are advised to consider a second top-dressing application of fertilizer.

Read the report in part:

Organic and inorganic fertilisers are crucial for field crops as they are a primary component of chlorophyll essential for photosynthesis. It promotes robust plant growth, enhances vegetative development, and contributes to the formation of proteins, enzymes, and genetic material.

Top-dressing fertilisers for crops like maize and sorghum work best when applied at the correct crop growth stage and the recommended rate. The recommended rate should be based on soil sampling results and crop requirements.

Farmers should consult extension officers on crop fertiliser requirements in the absence of soil results. An important consideration is the level of soil moisture.

For farmers who planted their crops from October to November, experts recommend applying the second half of ammonium nitrate fertilizer (150-250 kg/ha) and CAN (Calcium Ammonium Nitrate, 150-250 kg/ha) to moist soil. If manure or basal fertilizer has been recently applied, rates can be reduced. Care should be taken to place the fertilizer 5-10 cm away from the plants to avoid burning them. For farmers who planted in the second and third week of December, a split application approach is advised, starting with a modest amount and adjusting based on crop growth and weather patterns.

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