Farmer field days are on-farm demonstrations and highlights of specific practices and equipment which help farmers learn successful farming technologies and techniques, and get practical information for onward usage on their farms. Inadequate learning is an oft-cited friction impeding the adoption of improved agricultural technology in most developing world
MRFF holds field days annually as a way to demonstrate some of the initiatives implemented and tested during the season so that farmers can acquire some insights on understanding their crops, seasons, and growth cycles and position themselves for increased profitability in future.
This year, Martin Richenhagen Future Farm in Partnership with Syngenta held a farmers’ field day on Thursday, 30th March 2023. Attendees learnt and shared best practices in Maize and Tomato production, focusing on Land preparation, crop nutrition and protection based on AGCO’s and Syngenta’s product offerings. Some highlighted strategies for farmers included efficient land usage, Nutrient strategies, plant population studies and on-farm enterprises i.e. opportunities in Hay and Silage post-harvest.
They also got to have hands-on experience with a range of Massey Ferguson products which enable farmers to appreciate the value that mechanization provides in their farming business, among others including the importance of calibration for resource efficiency, successful planting and different tillage methods suitable for different crops.
Efficient land usage in smallholder systems
Smallholder farmers who manually undertake farming operations can intercrop maize and legumes. Manual weeding for post weeds is reduced in intercropped systems.
Legumes form a canopy that suppresses weed growth. Additionally, this practice is sustainable as legumes fix nitrogen to the soil reducing the need for higher fertilizer applications.
Farmers were shown 3 different plots consisting of legumes planted on the same date with maize and 2 other plots at 15 days intervals. Even though dry spells were experienced shortly after planting, crops stabilized along the season.
The MRFF agronomy team shared some observations made during the season. Optimal planting time for legumes and overall yields for both crops will be compared at the end of the season.
Nutrient Strategies in Maize
The MRFF team demonstrated the different nutrient strategies possible in Maize at planting currently under trials at the Future Farm I.e. 100% basal fertilizer, 50% Basal fertilizer, chicken manure and Bio fertilizer. Although Manure was applied at planting in this trial, farmers can also apply it before planting as a soil improvement technique.
This trial was aimed at testing the most profitable wayof managing nutrients in Maize without compromising the yields. This is in response to high fertilizer prices which account for over 50% of input costs. Farmers were shown 4 demonstration plots whose yields and comparisons will be determined at the end of the season.
Plant population studies
Farmers also got a chance to learn about plant performance from plant population trials. This is aimed at determining the effect of high plant population on the yield of maize using the same fertilizer for recommended seed rates. It is critical that plant populations be optimal to efficiently use nutrients for the maximum possible yield
Turning Waste into Cash: Hay and silage enterprise option for Farmers
Farmers were taught to leverage opportunities arising from post-harvesting operations and how the Massey Ferguson hay equipment range can aid the integration of livestock and cropping while earning them income.
The emphasis is to reduce waste on the farm and ensure maximum utilization of resources for on-farm circularity. Farmers were exposed to the various crop options that can be grown for soil improvement and animal fodder such as sun hemp which fixes nitrogen in the soil and it’s also good fodder for animals.
Do you have any questions on agronomy and mechanization? Reach out to us; we will gladly share our knowledge and experience with you.
Please check our resources page regularly for the results of our trials and our events page for future events.