My secret to getting more yields from maize is dressing seeds before planting
Most farms in Trans Nzoia County currently lay bare as farmers prepare to plant maize with the onset of the rains.
In Kapomboi on the border of Endebes and Kwanza sub counties, Robin Kosgei makes last minute preparations before planting the crop.
“The rains have been heavy that is why I have delayed planting. The tractor cannot plough the field because the soils are waterlogged,” he says as he alights from the locomotive.
In 2008, he started growing maize on 20 acres and has since then increased the number to 300 acres.
Although he currently plants and sells the produce mainly to the National Cereals and Produce Board, between 2014 and 2015, he was contracted by Kenya Seed Company to supply seed maize.
“The challenge was isolation. I was required to keep my maize about 200 metres from other crops to avoid pollination,” says the Kosgei.
Sometimes most of his crop wilted if the rains delayed which resulted to drop in yields.
“Whenever I walked on my farm, I would notice that some of the plants were wilting. I didn’t know what exactly caused them to wilt,” he says, adding he applied several chemicals to curb the problem in vain.
An agricultural officer, however, told him the wilting was due to insufficient moisture affecting the young shoots.
He advised him to use seed dressers, which are products applied on seeds before planting to protect them from pests and diseases.
“I bought the product and manually coated the seeds and planted them on 20 acres to see if it works. I have never been happier,” he says.
“When I had the problem, I used to harvest 10 to 15 bags of maize per acre. But last season, I got 20 bags per acre,” says Kosgei, noting a 20ml of the bottle goes for Sh790, which is enough for an acre”.
The seed dressing helps in root formation and improving plant growth since it supports uptake of water and mineral nutrients from the soil.
Panoramix, is applied on top of the normal seed coatings that normally come with the seeds.
Seed treatment products give immediate protection against diseases. By adding Panoramix, the effect is prolonged, making the plant resilient for the whole season.
To ensure better and higher yields, it is also important for farmers to use certified seeds.
According to Koppert Biological Systems, which makes the natural seed dresser, it is a biostimulant for arable crops.
The firm says the product contains a mix of plant growth promoting micro-organisms.
“It promotes the crop’s growth and makes the plant less susceptible to abiotic stress. A treatment with Panoramix gives rise to a stronger and healthier crop, which is more resistant to drought and disease leading to increased yield in wheat and maize.”