This article discusses nine alternative ways to control weeds on a maize farm.
The concepts and procedures are straightforward, and you can start using them right now to boost maize yields on your farm.
In Africa, ineffective weed control has been identified as one of the main causes of low maize output.
Any plant that grows where it is not wanted is referred to as a weed. Plants are negatively impacted by weeds.
They compete for space, nutrients, water, sunlight, and other minerals stored in the soil with maize plants.
Some weeds encourage the spread of pests and illnesses on maize farms, reducing the maize farmer’s profit by diminishing the quality and quantity of the crop.
Furthermore, the excessive development of weeds on farmland makes maize harvesting extremely difficult.
During the first 3–6 weeks following germination, maize is extremely susceptible to weed competition.
If weeds are not properly controlled during this time, the maize plant’s growth will be stunted, and the yield will be substantially reduced.
After this time, well-planted, healthy-growing maize would be enough to smother out the weeds.
Read also: How To Start Maize Farming In Africa And Make A Lot Of Money
WEED CONTROL IN MAIZE FARMING METHODS
Several ways for managing weeds have been used; nevertheless, in establishing an efficient control approach, it is necessary to understand the nature and adaptations that allow weeds to proliferate on farmland.
Some weed management strategies for maize include:
Land Preparation: Land preparation not only ensures that the maize plant germinates successfully, but itso prevents the emergence of weeds on the farmland. As a result, ensuring that the land is thoroughly prepared before planting to ensure that it is weed-free.
Weed control and mulching are two important aspects of crop rotation.
It should be mentioned that different forms of weeds harm different crops. These weeds tend to multiply if the same crop is grown year after year on the same plot of land. Crop rotation is the practice of continually surprising established weed species with a different type of crop that does not sustain their existence, hence diminishing their number. Sweet potatoes and leguminous crops such as groundnuts, soya beans, cowpea, and other leguminous crops should be included in a proper maize crop rotation.
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Planting Maize Early: Maize should be planted early enough (soon after field preparation) to develop before weeds emerge.
Use of High-Quality Maize Seeds: Maize seeds should be of high quality and free of weed seeds. Always purchase enhanced, well-treated seeds from reputable sources.
Planting Density: Maize should be planted at the prescribed spacing to allow the plants to quickly cover the ground and compete with weeds.
Hoeing is mostly used by small-scale farmers. It does, however, have the drawback of harming the maize plant’s roots if not done carefully.
Hand Weeding: This procedure is used to get rid of weeds in tight spaces where a hoe or other weeding tool can’t reach. The problem ofwithhis practice is that by the time the weeds are old enough to be hand-pulled, they may have caused damage to the crop due to competition. In addition, this approach can only weed a small area.
Improving Soil Fertility: Using fertilizers or other soil fertility enhancement techniques will allow maize plants to grow quickly and vigorously, covering the ground and suppressing weeds at an early stage.
Chemical Weed Control: Herbicides are used in this approach of weed control.
Any chemical with phytotoxic qualities that makes it ideal for use as an agricultural agent for controlling plant growth is classified as a herbicide.
Butylate (sutan), prprogramalachlor (Lasso), paraquat (grammoxone), prtrim extraglyphosate, atrazine, and other herbicides are commonly employed by maize producers.
Maize farm with weed control/no weeds
Herbicides save time and money when it comes to weed control, and they also lessen the risk of injuring plant roots.
WARNING: Herbicides are dangerous substances that can cause injury to those who use them. If it comes into contact with the maize plant, it kills it and pollutes the environment. Some herbicides have long-term residual effects that can harm crops planted the next season on the same land.
avoid these drawbacks,
Use only herbicides that have been approved by the manufacturer.
Herbicides should only be applied to farmland by trained individuals with the necessary technical skills.
Farmers must have a thorough awareness of the many herbicides available on the market, including their type, function, and purpose.
Herbicides are generally safe to use if the label instructions are followed and the applicator has had sufficient herbicide handling training.
In addition, the benefits of utilizing herbicides outweigh the drawbacks. As a result, farmers are encouraged to use herbicides where appropriate while also taking precautions to avoid the drawbacks of doing so.