By Wanyaka Gituku
Despite the drought & fall army worm challenge in 2017, Tim – a maize farmer and Owner of Makongi Farm in Eldoret – harvested his maize and he has every reason to smile..
In Eldoret county lies an expansive farm located between Cherengany hills and Mt Elgon. The farm known as Makongi farm has had its share of successes and challenges over the past years.
Notably in 2017, the 1500-acre maize farm came face-to-face with the chilling reality of the dreaded Fall Arm Worm and a looming drought.
Makongi farm also had other farm management challenges such as incorrect tillage strategies, weed pressure, wrong planter calibration, soil nutrition challenges, pest outbreak, diseases and crop management issues.
CropNuts Agronomists Larsson Chebii & George Maweu helped Makongi farm tackle these challenges; which in addition to implementing the soil test recommendations, led to Makongi’s farm overall yield in 2017 to increase to 32 bags of maize per acre.
Key Steps To Success
Makongi farm through CropNuts has changed their tillage practice from conventional tillage to conservation tillage. Conservation tillage practices helps among other things conserve water during dry spells and disturb the soil minimally, all of which have a positive impact on resisting the drought pressure and improving crop production and overall yield.
Weed pressure was another challenge that Makongi farm faced and CropNuts advised them on timely spraying of herbicides, correct concentration of the herbicide. George Maweu, CropNuts Field Technician, advised on proper calibration of the boom sprayers reducing wastage of the herbicide and ensuring that the whole field was sprayed with no misses.
“In CropNuts, we’ve really got someone to support us whenever we got emerging crop issues that need urgent Agronomic assistance” – Tim, Owner, Makongi Farm
The Fall Army Worm was quite a menace and CropNuts helped control the pest by advising Makongi farm on which pesticide to spray and when to spray it. Wrong timing of the spray leads to harder control of the pest i.e. spray at night or early morning when the pest is active. CropNuts also helped control diseases at the farm by scouting for them early and advising on which chemicals to use and when.