the picture above was the picture I took when I went to my farm the last time; on this farm there are laborers working on it. All I did was to get a supervisor who lives around to monitor the laborers. However, I just took some people to my farmland to show them the beauty in Cassava farming. If you don’t mind you can give me a call if you are interested in cassava farming!
Quickly, let me tell you the important factors to consider when planting cassava are time of year, land tillage methods, seedbed type and preparation, and preparation, handling, and planting mode of stem cuttings.
Select suitable planting dates: You should try to plant cassava early, at the beginning of the rainy season. This ensures healthy sprouting and good crop establishment which helps the plant to better withstand damage by dry season pests like the cassava green mite, cassava mealybug, and termites. Late planting at the end of wet season exposes the crop to severe damage by these pests as the dry season progresses. However, planting date recommendations should fit within local farming calendars and farmers’ choice of crops to enhance their adoption.
Use suitable land and seedbed preparation methods: In cassava cultivation, land is usually tilled to loosen up the soil, improve soil drainage, make it easy for roots to develop, and promote healthier storage root development.
Mounds and ridges are commonly made to gather top soil material for cassava root development, limit prolonged contact between the storage roots and stagnant water, and protect storage roots from rodent and bird pests.
The soil texture at the site you select for cassava cultivation will be an important factor in determining the level of tillage and type of seedbeds required for your cassava farm. In deep loamy soils, tillage may be essential but it does not matter which seedbed type is adopted and cassava can be planted on the flat, mounds, or ridges.
However, if the loamy soil is shallow and cassava is planted on the flat, the storage roots will quickly reach hard ground or rocks giving poor yields. In sandy soils, minimum tillage and planting cassava on the flat are appropriate because the soil is sufficiently loose to allow for faster drainage and normal storage root development. At sites where the sandy soil gets waterlogged, it is however better to make ridges or mounds than to plant on the flat. In clayey and poorly drained soils, tillage and planting of cassava on mounds or ridges are also essential to limit the effects of waterlogging.
Prepare and handle stem cuttings properly:
When cutting up cassava stems into stem cuttings for planting, make sure each cutting is at least 20–25 cm long and has about 5–8 nodes. You should handle cuttings carefully during transportation to prevent bruises and damage to the nodes. This can be done by packing them on cushions of dry leaves.
Sometimes, when planting material is slightly infested with cassava green mites, cassava mealybugs, and other stem-borne pests, the stem cuttings can be treated by immersing them in heated water for 5–10 minutes just
before planting. This treatment will kill pests on the surface of the cuttings. You can prepare the heated water by mixing equal volumes of boiling and cold water. Alternatively, you can dip the stem cuttings into a dilute pesticide solution (for example, 1% Rogor solution) to kill stem-borne pests. You can also reduce the incidence of cassava anthracnose and other stem-borne fungal diseases if a solution of pesticide (for example, Décis) and fungicide (for example, Benlate) is used. If pesticides are to be used, you should consult the label for guidelines on their application methods and how to avoid personal and environmental hazards associated with their use.
Adopt suitable planting mode: In order to get the best sprouting and growth from cassava stem cuttings, it is important to plant them properly. Cassava stem cuttings may be planted vertically, at an angle, or horizontally.
When planted vertically, the storage roots develop deeper in the soil, more closely together, and are more difficult to harvest by pulling. Vertical planting is best in sandy soils. In such soils, plant stem cuttings vertically with 2/3 of the length of the cutting below the soil. When planted horizontally, the storage roots develop more closely to the surface and are more likely to be exposed and attacked by rodent and birds. Also, in horizontal planting several weak stems develop from the stem cutting. Horizontal planting, however, has the advantage of killing insect and mite pests which occur on the surface of stem cuttings. In loamy soil it is probably best to plant at an angle.
The spacing between plants will depend on whether you are growing cassava alone (sole crop) or with other crops (intercropping). If cassava is being grown alone, plant 1 meter apart from each other. If cassava is being grown as an intercrop, consider the branching habit of both the cassava and the other crops and make sure there is enough space for the plants. You should also make sure there is enough space for you to work between the plants during weeding and other activities.
Planting and planting material
1. Planting starts in April and can be extended to October.
2. The quantity recommended for 1 ha is 60 bundles of cassava stem.
3. Stem cuttings 25 cm long should be planted at a spacing of 1 m x 1 m.
4. Maintain 100% planting rate by replacing dead or nonviable stems.
Post-planting weed control
Where a total herbicide was not used before land preparation, it is recommended that a selective pre-emergence herbicide be applied within three days after planting. Five liters of Primextra is recommended /hectares.
Fertilizer use, type and rate
The following fertilizers and their rate/ha are recommended
• NPK 15:15:15–12 (50 kg) bags
• NPK 20:10:10–9 (50 kg) bags
• NPK 12:12:17–15 (50 kg) bags
Apply fertilizer at 8 weeks after planting. Apply fertilizer in a ring, 6 cm wide and 10 cm from the plant or broadcast with care around the plant, making sure the fertilizer does not touch the stem or leaves.
I will be sharing my Garri production update with you soonest. Fell free to leave your comments bellow. I hop you will also start your cassava farming today? It’s not always as difficult as you think!