Do you really want to make huge profit as a farmer?
Have you been stressed as a result of some bad planting materials?
Often times, farmers are faced with huge problems during planting operations; this ultimately leads to great loss in the venture. However, this mishap could be surpassed if proper planting tips are utilized.
Farming is a universal profession, anyone can be a farmer; everyone is supposed to be a farmer of different capacity. There are many benefits of being a farmer; if you do not know, ponder over it below.
Benefits Of Farming
- As a farmer, you nourish your body with what is good for it. You eat fresh nutrient-rich foods that are free from any kind of contamination, thus, staying healthy always.
- You add to the growth of the economy: You see, food is very key, it is one of the basic needs of life. Everyone must eat; this assures you of making money from your business at the end of your sale.
- You would be naturally happy. The joy of seeing what you planted growing makes you very happy. Happiness heals spiritually, physically and mentally.
- You are very close to nature. Farming brings you very close to nature; you appreciate nature and you derive the best from nature such as fresh air.
So where do farmers go wrong?
Most times, farmers do not really know the basic prerequisites of the crops they intend to grow, they just plant abruptly only to amount to loss after great work.
Plants need four key parameters to grow well, they are:
The aforementioned are the primary need of any plant to survive. Therefore, as a farmer, who wants to have a wonderful harvest, you should ensure all the four parameters are available on your farm. I would be unfolding some tips on how to start a farm successfully; be thoughtful as you read through this article.
This simply means inspecting and selecting the choice of area of planting. This is a very crucial stage farmer must be wary of; a mistake made during this stage would affect the production forever. ‘
One major mistake you should never make is getting land that is far from the market or a good road network. The cost of transportation is one of the ways farmers reduce the cost of production and getting high income. Get a land that is very close to the city where you can easily harvest your crops and transport to the market at ease.
Again, the fertility of the land you want to cultivate on will also help you in areas of the quantity and quality of the produce. A highly fertilized farm area of 5m by 5m will produce better than a poorly fertilized land area of 10m by 10m. You do not need a laboratory test to determine the nutrient status of your land, this simple soil fertility test trick is all you need to know whether your soil is fertile or not at first sight.
Procurement of planting materials
Planting materials could be seeds or cuttings, depending on what you want to cultivate. Kudos to technology that has greatly improved the planting materials to produce more; we now have improved seeds of virtually all the known crops. Do not be frugal in spending, get the best seeds to get the best yield and high income; buy improved seeds from certified agro-stores.
Land preparation, also known as tillage, is very crucial in crop cultivation; most farmers go wrong from this stage. Proper land preparation enhances several benefits, such as:
- Low incidence of pest,
- Good rooting medium for plants,
- Easy percolation of water, the soil is aerated.
There are three (3) methods of land preparation, namely:
- Conventional tillage or land preparation method
- The minimum tillage or land preparation method
- Zero tillage or land preparation method:
Of these three, the first two are more preferred as they satisfy the above benefits of land preparation.
Read more this land preparation and tools guide to understand how these land preparation methods work.
The planting medium is the platform where your plants are planted. crops can be planted in:
- Flats (the normal soil surface).
The purpose of these planting mediums is to utilize the land maximally. Some conditions, such as weather or environmental condition of the area, specify the modification of the planting medium to enhance crop growth. Vegetables are best on beds, yams are best on heaps, cassava is best on ridges.
During the rainy season, raised beds are best for planting to avoid erosion and other related hazards. The greenhouse is a new planting medium that has proven to be very effective and productive. In it, all the parameters that enhance plant growth are modified to suit the plant conditions, hence, increasing productivity in manifolds.
Choosing the right and economical planting medium is key and should be done considering several factors but chiefly environmental conditions such as weather.
One of the important pre-planting operations is seed treatment, it is very important. Seeds are usually in their dormant stage when favorable planting conditions are not available. There are two types of seed treatments;
- Seed viability test.
Scarification helps to hasten germination of seed by breaking the dormancy period. You can use any of these methods of scarification to hasten the growth of your seeds.
Viability tests tell you the germination rate of the seeds you want to plant. It is advisable to know the viability of your seeds before planting; it saves you the cost of labour and time of planting. You can use any of these seed viability test methods to ascertain the germination rate of the seeds.
After successful pre-planting operations, planting follows. There are different methods of planting seeds, depending on the size and nature of the seed.
- Broadcasting: This is the even dispersal of small-sized seeds on beds or other planting mediums. It is commonly used in vegetable farms and other crops with very small seeds.
- Drilling: In this method, small channels (drills) with slight opening are made on the flat or bed, the seeds are poured and buried inside these slight opening of the channels. This method is also applicable to small-seeded crops.
- Dibbling: This is the commonest way of planting; the soil is usually dug to certain depth and the seeds are placed in it for growth to take place.
The drilling method is fast displacing the broadcasting method. It has been proven more economical and cost-effective compared to the broadcasting method. One of the benefits of using the drilling method is that the value of any crop planted can be estimated accurately prior to harvesting and sales of the farm produce.
In addition, these cultural practices can be carried out easily on the drilling method compared to broadcasting. The drilling method is highly recommended for vegetable farming.
Read more: How To Make Beds For Vegetable Farming
In addition, the determination of plant population greatly helps to estimate the expected yield and likely profit on the cultivation. Use this plant population formula to calculate the numbers of the yield of any crop on any land size.
- Fertilizer application:
One of the measures to increase farm yield is the application of fertilizers. There are two types of fertilizer:
- Organic Fertilizers: examples are Green manure, Farmyard manure (Animal wastes) and compost
- Synthetic fertilizer: NPK 15:15:15, Muriate of potash, etc.
These two types of fertilizer are used for different purposes in different situations.
Most commercial farmers prefer to use the synthetic fertilizers because of their quick action; synthetic fertilizers are quick to act, however, in the long run, they are detrimental to the soil and the environment.
Excessive use of synthetic fertilizers causes acidity of the soil and toxicity of some minerals present in the soil; this, in turn, could lead to the pollution of the underground water, making the water source unfit for household use. This and some other disadvantages of synthetic fertilizers makes some farmers adopt the use of organic fertilizers.
Unlike synthetic fertilizers, organic fertilizers are slow but long-acting. They release nutrients into the soil slowly but for a very long time. They also help to improve the soil structure, making it a better medium for plant growth. Most prominently, organic fertilizers encourage the activities of soil organisms; which is a major prerequisite to the release of nutrients from the fertilizer into the soil. Lots of benefits are accorded to the use of organic fertilizers; health-wise, economically, and environmentally, they are always safe to use.
Another cogent note is the amount of fertilizer you apply per plant on a given area of land. This is called the fertilizer application rate. This is one of the areas you can greatly reduce the cost of your production as a farmer. The fertilizer application rate shows you the cost of fertilizing a single crop on your farm; it makes it easy for you to determine your farm profit. Learn how to calculate the fertilizer application rate and manage your cost effectively.
Read more: How To Make Liquid Organic Fertilizer
- Control of pest and diseases:
Pest and diseases are of serious concern when it comes to the level of yield on your farm. Pest does not only determine the quantity of yield but also the quality of yield. The more you fertilize your crops, the more you should devise ways of controlling pests.
The control of pests does not necessarily mean the application of pesticides, organic or inorganic. There are cultural practices you can adopt to check the activities of pests.
- Regular inspection is one of the best ways to control pests at low cost. Pest damage is not an overnight action; it is a gradual activity left unchecked. Take time to go through your farm randomly to check pest action.
- Weeding is another effective way of controlling pest; some weeds attract pests to the crop, once weeding is done regularly, you can be sure of low pest attack. Perimeter weeding of about 3 meters away from the first rows of the crops also helps greatly in controlling large pests like rats and other insect pests.
- Application of pesticide is usually the last step of pest control; the aforementioned methods of pest control keep pest below economic damage. However, in a severe infestation, it is advisable you apply pesticides. Like fertilizers, you can as well use organic pesticide or inorganic pesticides.
As synthetic fertilizers threaten the soil and pollute the underground water, inorganic pesticides are great threat to human health. Most pesticides are stomach poisons to the target pest; however, pesticides do have residual effects on humans upon consumption.
There is a general regulation on the use of pesticides. Application of pesticides must stop 21 days before harvesting; this is to ensure the pesticide is effectively used before harvesting.
Organic pesticides are also available for use on crops; they are as effective as the inorganic ones and very cheap compared to the price of inorganic pesticides. Another advantage of organic pesticide is you can harvest and consume the crop anytime without any restriction. Neem plant is a powerful organic pesticide; learn how to use neem tree as a pesticide. Aside from neem plant, you can as well use rabbit urine as organic pesticide and insecticide.
Cultivation of crops is an exciting practice; it is more exciting when it is done profitably. This is very possible when the farmer takes into consideration the aforementioned tips.
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