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CTA. 2004. Sorghum. Rural Radio Resource Pack 04/01. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57337
Crop specialist Casper Moyo advocates intercropping and use of ox-drawn weeders in sorghum production, and stresses the importance of crop spacing and early weeding.
Sorghum Cue: Like maize, sorghum is a crop that is particularly vulnerable to weeds, because it grows slowly at first. When growing sorghum, farmers must be ready to weed it in good time, just three to four weeks after sowing. Late weeding can cause losses at harvest of 30% or more. As sorghum is a crop that is usually planted in rows, using mechanical weeders can be an effective and labour-saving weed control method. These may be either push-pull hand weeders, or animal drawn weeders. However, this mechanical weeding must be done carefully, and at the right time, otherwise it can cause breakage of stems or uprooting. But, as Busani Bafana found out when he spoke to crop specialist Casper Moyo, there are other ways of controlling weeds in sorghum. IN: ?Small-scale farmers in Zimbabwe ?? OUT: ?the crop growth and the yield..? DUR?N 2?58? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Casper Moyo advising sorghum farmers to weed as early as possible, to ensure good crop growth and yields. Transcript Bafana Small-scale farmers in Zimbabwe, Matabeleland South province are aware of the negative impact weeds can have on their crop yields if they are not controlled. Therefore many farmers take extension advice seriously and show innovation in blending western practices of weed control with cultural knowledge systems such as rogueing. Casper Moyo is a Crop Specialist based in Matabeleland South province. Mr Moyo what methods of weed control do farmers commonly use in controlling sorghum in Matabeleland? Moyo There are various methods which include crop rotation or intercropping. That is they intercrop their sorghum together with a traditional crop like pumpkins and squashes, so that the squashes would be a spreading crop, they have the effect of smothering weeds. They also use ox-drawn cultivators for cultivating in the inter-row and come in with the hoes in the in-row spaces to look at finishing off all the weeds that would have grown. In some areas we have farmers who are not able to purchase these cultivators, they use these simple hand hoes but it is rather intensive. Bafana Of the methods that you described how effective are they? Moyo I would say most are fairly effective depending on the efficiency of the farmer. For example the use of intercropping; if the crop itself is well spaced it can easily smother the weeds early enough and if these other traditional crops like the pumpkins and the squashes have been given optimum time and fertiliser to grow they can easily smother the weeds. Then the use of the cultivators; this is also effective but the problem is that most of these are not properly set, and in some cases these inter-row spaces are much much wider than the recommended spaces and the plant population is not all that ideal, it is at times too low for the smothering effect. Bafana How can farmers minimise the weed problems in sorghum? Moyo They can minimise that by cultural practices like early planting and proper spacing so as to achieve optimum plant population at an early stage as well as timely cultivation before the weeds produce the seeds. Bafana What are the key factors that farmers should remember about the methods that we have outlined? For example the optimum time they need to carry out the weed control in sorghum? Moyo The factor that they ought to consider is that the weeding has to be done as early as possible, preferably before four weeks, 3-4 weeks they should come in so that weeds have the minimum effect as possible on the crop growth and the yield. End of track.