Things to consider when buying seed

02 December 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

Seeds are an essential input resource that a farmer must procure to successfully grow crops.

Agribank’s technical advisor for crops and poultry, Hanks Saisai, says a farmer must be familiar with the different considerations that are to be taken into account at the start of each growing season until the harvesting stage to achieve success in their crop venture.

Crop farming is an agricultural activity that involves the tilling or cultivation of the land to ensure its preparedness before a farmer decides to grow plants that later mature into harvest-ready produce that can be consumed or sold.

Farmers conventionally propagate their plants using vegetative cuttings from a parent plant or buying seeds that are sown into the soil to grow new plants.

Saisai says when one buys seeds, there are key considerations that must be kept in mind.

Cultivar

The first factor one must consider is the cultivar of the specific crop one intends to grow.

“By definition, a cultivar is a type of plant that people have bred for desired traits. These are reproduced in each new generation by methods such as grafting, tissue culture or carefully controlled seed production.”

For instance, if a farmer chooses to grow maize there are many cultivars on the market to choose from. To this end, it is always advisable for the farmer to buy a maize cultivar that suits their local weather conditions. Such conditions range from sporadic rainfalls, drought and occasional overcast conditions that may have a significant effect on the growth rate of crops.

Planting

Secondly, a farmer should understand the importance of knowing the right season in which the seeds are to be sown to achieve optimum germination and emergence rates in the crop field or garden.

The third aspect to consider, that is also indicated on the back of most seed packets, is the ideal growing condition for that specific cultivar.

“Most seeds will indicate whether to grow them directly under full sunlight, semi-shade or under shade net conditions for good growth rates.”

A fourth consideration is the sowing method a farmer will use to ensure that the seeds germinate into seedlings that grow into mature crops.

“Seeds can be sown in seed trays and later transplanted into seedbeds, or directly into the seedbeds until the crops are harvested.”

A fifth consideration is the spacing recommendations for growing crops. One must know the recommended sowing depth for each crop.

After sowing seeds, it is important to keep the crop field or seedbeds moist by irrigating daily.

“Moreover, the farmer must know that after sowing the seeds, germination and emergence will be after seven to 14 days as indicated on most seed packs.”

Finally, a farmer who grows crops must keep in mind the importance of the growing period and this is indicated on the seed pack, he says.

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