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What problems are farmers facing today

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Almost every country or state in the world depends on agriculture for food, raw materials for their industries and employment to most people. Despite that, agriculture and water are the most vulnerable sectors, and this makes it hard to maintaining food security in the whole world. Being a vulnerable sector, it has many problems that affect the farmers who drive it.


Farmers in most parts of the world undergo post-harvest losses which contribute to high percentage losses and sometimes farmers could lose everything. Post-harvest losses are associated with poor or inadequate storage facilities and conditions. Many farmers do not have the proper storage facilities needed to store their harvest. This poor storage condition creates an appropriate environment for storage pests and diseases to manifest themselves. Storage pest cause pronounced damage to grains or any other stored product. Wet conditions in the stores provide a room for the growth of fungal diseases like aflatoxins. Loses incurred during harvest and after harvest is significant problems facing farmers currently in the whole world.


Since the economy is highly dependent on climatic sensitive sectors agriculture being one of them, it is bound to face some challenges. Farmers currently are living in fear of total loss of crops due to unreliable rainfall especially those who depend on rain-fed farming. This problem is brought about by the gradual change in weather patterns that lead to change in climatic conditions. Climate change poses a significant threat to the global food system. Those depending on irrigation are not at ease as well because as climate changes, the available resources for water also change hence becoming a problem to the farmers.


How crops interact with their surrounding affects their survival. Ecology defines how organisms interact with each other. The ecology, in this case, includes pests, weeds, and diseases. These three parts of the ecology are what is stressing farmers worldwide. All crops are affected by pests, weeds, and diseases and controlling them becomes a problem especially they become resistant to most used chemicals. Pests and diseases cause almost eighty-ninety percent loss and sometimes a total loss in the case of heavy infestation. The pests, weeds, and diseases are not the only hazardous factors but also the cost of managing the crop. Currently crop breeders are working hard to produce resistant varieties to some pests, weeds, and diseases but still, they find it costly.


In the economics sector, things are not that level as well. Farmers have many problems here as well. There is no ready market for the products, and when it is available, the prices are discouraging despite the resilience of the farmers. How resources are also allocated in the agricultural sector by most governments, the distribution and consumption of the products affect the economics at all corners. Most governments do not promote local product consumption but imported products which is inauspicious to farmers. This makes the farmers end up selling their produce at a throw price which is unprofitable and unacceptable. These among the many problems facing farmers should be discussed collectively and responsibly.

The most popular fertilizers

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Fertilizers are significant substances supplied to soils to improve it with supplements and making the soil healthy to support plant life through the supply of nutrients to the plants for ideal growth. Plants get the fundamental nutrients required from the soil and the atmosphere. The soil is the main source of essential minerals such as Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium while vaporous components which are Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen are sourced from the atmosphere.

However, the soil in some conditions may not readily supply specific nutrients to the plants. This is a case of nutrient deficiency when the nutrients are either fixed together in the soil or lost through erosion and leaching. In low fertility soil conditions, fertilizers are introduced as a supplement to deficient nutrients.

There are many popular commercial fertilizers that farmers used on their farms to supply nutrients which include Nitrogenous fertilizers, Phosphatic fertilizers and Potassic fertilizers. Common nitrogenous fertilizers include Urea, Anahydrous ammonia, and Ammonium nitrate solutions. Common phosphatic fertilizers include ammonium phosphate, and Super Phosphates. Common potassic fertilizers include Potassium Nitrate and Potassium Chloride.

Nitrogenous Fertilizers

Urea: This type of fertilizer exist in the solid form and is the most widely used fertilizer to supply mainly nitrogen and no other nutrient element. As a solid fertilizer, it is generally applied as granules directly in the soil but in some cases, it can be dissolved in water into a solution mixed with ammonium nitrate. When applied to the soil, molecules of water in the soil reacts with urea to form ammonia from which plants absorb its nitrogen. 46% of Nitrogen is available for use in urea fertilizers without phosphorus or potassium. Urea fertilizers help in giving direct nitrogen source to plants for increased green leaf growth and development for photosynthesis. It also contributes to flowering in plants.

Anhydrous ammonia: Unlike urea solid fertilizers, anhydrous ammonia NH3, could exist as either solid, liquid or gaseous. Anhydrous ammonia ammonia supplies the highest Nitrogen content of 82% and also a widely used source of nitrogen supply. The fertilizer is easily available and is applied using simple methods. 

Ammonium Nitrate. This is a solid fertilizer also applied in form of granules exactly like urea. Ammonium nitrate provides significant amounts of 33% nitrogen in the soil – a small margin to the Nitrogen content from urea. Ammonium nitrate is mostly used for fertilizing pasture and fruit crops such as citrus.

Phosphatic Fertilizers

Ammonium Phosphate: Two primary forms of this type of fertilizers are Monoammonium phosphateand Diammonium phosphate often applied in liquid form. Diammonium phosphate in soil with lower amount of phosphorus can supply 46% of P. Amonium phosphate fertilizers can also supply significant amounts of Nitrogen. Monoammonium phosphate supplies 48% nitrogen while Diammonium phosphate supplies 18% nitrogen which is considerably lower in nitrogen supply than monoammonium. However, using diammonium phosphate has an advantage in reducing the risk of damage to new seedlings because of the lower ammonia content.The lower level of the ammonia component of this chemical lessens the risk of damage when applied to new seedling growth.

Super Phosphates: These type of phosphorus fertilizers include Single Super Phosphate (SSP), Double Super Phosphate (DSP) and Triple Super Phosphate (TSP). The all exist as solids in the form of granules. Thus, they can be applied directly to the soil easily. Although they have been replaced by the ammonium phosphates fertilizers due to better phosphorus content and ease of storage, super phosphates are still commercially available for use. They can be mixed with nitrogenous fertilizers to get an improved soil fertilizing effect.

Potassic Fertilizers

Potassium Nitrate: This fertilizer is often referred to as Nitrate of Potash (NOP) and mostly used as a nutrient supplement for potassium on leafy green vegetable crops, spices, tomatoes and fruit crops. It is highly soluble in water and can be applied directly to the soil or foliar as a liquid fertilizer. Potassium nitrate when applied to the soil and mineralized supplies 44% potassium.

Potassium Chloride: Often referred to as Muriate of Potash (MOP) is another significant type of potassic fertilizer. MOP is also highly soluble in water and can be applied directly to the soil or foliar as a liquid fertilizer. Muriate of Potash supply significant amounts of 60% potassium.

On a final note, it is important to be aware of the fact that the choice of fertilizer type to use depends on the soil and plant requirements. Over or under fertilizing your plants can have damaging effects to plant growth and may eventually kill the plant in the process of trying to improve soil fertility.

Beetle Pests

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In the concept of agriculture, pests are naturally occurring organisms that cause damage to field crops, livestock and other farm resources. Pests are classified into insects, rodents, animals, and Birds. Beetles belong to the class of insects that can have adverse effects on agricultural production, storage, marketing, and the environment. Pests may cause problems with crop damage parasitic infection or cause discomfort and toxicity to human health.

Insect pests possess chewing mouthparts through which they cause severe damage to field crops and stored products after harvesting. The process of insect pest damage particularly beetles is done through direct feeding on the plant root and shoot leading to loss of weight and yield quality. Some species bore into the seed endosperm resulting in poor seed germination and reduced viability. Harvested grains lose quality and market value from their damage. 

Beetles belong to the order Coleoptera and are a vast group of insects that endanger harmful insects after harvesting of great economic importance: several types of beetles attack crops in both fields and at stores. Beetles are found in diverse habitats including farms and storehouses. Those associated with stored products show different behaviors; some of them are primary and secondary pests such as genus Sitophilus and Tribolium that feed directly on stored harvests while others are predators that feed on other insects. 

Other insect groups such as Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) causes damage only at the adult stage but Coleoptera (beetles) crop damage is inflicted at both larvae and adult stages. Larvae and adults can chew the leaves, and growth apex, underground roots and stems depending on the species. Thus, they alter the physiological processes required for plants growth and development. 

Types of Beetle pests

There are many species that cause damage to plant and stored products but are classified into four major groups. These are Chrysomelidae (leaf beetles), Cerambycidae (longhorn beetles), Scarabaeidae (scarab beetles) and Carabidae (ground beetles)

Chrysomelidae (leaf beetles) are found all over the world, but more attributed to the tropics. They have an oval shape and short legs with antennas around half the length of the body measuring less than 12 mm.

Chrysomelidae (leaf beetle)

Cerambycidae (longhorn beetles) are a broad family of beetle insects characterized by extremely long antennas, usually longer than the body.

Cerambycidae (longhorn beetle)

Scarabaeidae (scarab beetles) are often black or brown in color. Tropical species are usually bright colors and covered with many body marks. The beetles have a thick oval shape and three pairs of legs. They possess hard front wings called elytra used in self-defense to protect themselves from predators.

Scarabaeidae (scarab beetle)

Carabidae (ground beetles) are often found within the soil regions and can be recognized easily when sighted through their long legs and elytra (wings) either black or brown in color with body ridges along the central line.

Carabidae (ground beetle)

Management and pest control of Beetles

Most pests including beetles can significantly increase their number in a relatively short time. Beetles infect a farm severely when the environment is suitable for their living. As with other pests, Beetles can be controlled organically or with chemicals called pesticides. It is important to ensure proper weed control as beetles tend to hide around leaves and root region of weeds. Crop rotation can also be done occasionally to reduce the rate of pest infestation. Shifting cultivation can also help to reduce the pressure of harmful pests. Chemical pesticides can be applied if the number of pests is increasing and infestation persists. Ensure to use recommended pesticides and apply as written on the pesticide label to maintain the health of your plants and farming environment.

How to grow coffee

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Introduction

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages worldwide. Whether it’s a latte, cappuccino, or macchiatto; it’s highly likely you’ve drank a coffee beverage before, or even within the past week. Despite coffee’s popularity, not many consumers know how it is grown. Have you ever wanted to grow a few of your own coffee plants within your backyard? Perhaps you haven’t ever even thought that it’s possible to grow a coffee plant at home. Well, it is. Read on for details on how to grow coffee the right way.

Picking the Right Coffee Plant Seeds

Green coffee cherries can be bought at any local green coffee supplier. Ensure they’re fresh to cut short the germination period once you plant the seeds; as older coffee seeds take longer to germinate , as compared to fresh ones. Also, ensure you go for your preferred coffee type; with arabica and robusta species being the most popular.

Preparing the seeds for Planting

Once you’ve bought the fresh seeds, you should soak them in a water container for an entire day’s duration; after which you’re supposed to drain them,awaiting sowing. Soaking the seeds will significantly reduce the time it takes for the seeds to germinate once they’re sowed.

Requirements and Suitable Conditions for Planting

You will need a large plastic or clay container within which you can grow your coffee tree. The container should be filled with an appropriate amount of soil. Don’t forget to consult a local plant expert for insight as pertains where you can find the right type of soil to grow your coffee seeds in. Ideally, coffee trees thrive in penetrable soil that is rich in manure/humus. Also, make sure the soil you use is slightly acidic, for faster seed germination. If you opt to grow your coffee tree indoors, additional requirements for your micro-climate would include temperatures of no less than 45 degrees Fahrenheit and no more than 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Taking Care of Your Coffee Plants

Coffee plants are ill-adapted to withstanding direct sunlight. To safeguard your coffee plants from solar damage, you should ensure they’re only accessing diffused sunlight and that they’re sufficiently watered. Ensure you take precaution when watering, to avoid water-logging. Alternatively, you could opt for a hardy variety that is capable of thriving even when exposed to direct sunlight.

During the growth stage, the plant should be fertilized regularly. Also, remember to feed the soil with an iron fertilizer at least once annually; as an acid-loving plant like coffee is prone to iron deficiency. You also need to prune your plant every now and then, to facilitate lateral branching and higher yield. During winter seasons, it is advisable to bring your coffee plant pot indoors; in case you had it placed in your backyard. This is because coffee trees die when exposed to frosty conditions. While growing indoors, you’ll still need to ensure that the plant continues to receive an adequate amount of light; either by using artificial grow light, or placing the pot near a window that receives sunlight.

Conclusion

Coffee plants take a long time to fruit, usually three-five years. It is- however- well worth the wait; as a fully-grown coffee tree can produce up to 1.5 pounds of coffee cherries. What’s more, the natural allure that this beautiful tree would add to your backyard’s curb appeal cannot be overlooked.

John Deere – Mercedes among tractors

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John Deere was a great tractor maker, and his tractors models are widespread and popular throughout the globe because of their high-quality and high capability to perform all farming work. The tractors are normally utilized in all agriculture works like harvesting and plowing too. Therefore we intend to look at the Deere tractors interesting facts and their history.

Deere’s Company

John Deere started from a single man venture in the late nineteenth centuries. However, with time the company developed, to have more than forty-seven thousand workers and various widespread global businesses. John Deere isn’t just a tractor manufacturing venture; it involves too in manufacturing constructing types of equipments, their spares, and farming equipments.

Deere tractors have unique coloring made of appealing yellow or green which are very common to many consumers. Actually, there’re close to thirteen differs types of Deere tractor ranging 18 – 450 HP. For a person or anyone looking for a personal gardening tractor, then 2210 4WD C may be the best option for you.

Special Interesting Features in Deere’s Tractors.

It has the best specifications and very attractive to any farmer. Some of the features include:

Normal Specifications- For a farming tractor, Deere offers various services such as the best liquid cooling engine in all series. The tractors are powered using diesel oil hence making them very economical to all farmers. The Deere engine is maintained cool by the gallons of oil flow in every minute.

Other Features- Deere has the four-wheeling power; therefore one needs to choose between a four or two-wheeling power to meet your specific use. The tractors also have lock service to wheels which helps in increasing traction in case you require some extra power in some implements. The tractors have the power taking-off points in different positions for maximum efficiency.

Comfort to Drive- The tractors hydraulic transmission gives the driver all the added smoothness while changing the gears in Deere tractors. Also, their power steering makes it easy to change directions, while the TM 2-pedaling position enables a full control. The outlined specifications are meant for increased comfortability by making everything easy. The engine has isolators hence un noticeable engine operations when driving; so helpful in decreasing drivers fatigue.

Highly Relying Engine- Deere tractors have a very relying engine and with a low diesel fuel consumption. The engine’s automatic bleeding system eliminates any air for the engines to start immediately while the oil wet disks brakes make the tractors very responsive and safe.

The Deere tractors are very safe to drive. To start an engine, the driver must be on the seat. The tractors are up to standards according to inspections from SAE, OSHA, and ASAE.

Tractor External Equipment- The Deere tractors are very compatible and flexible to various attachments in your farm, they can be attached to harvesters, ploughs, sprayers and other necessary equipment. The tractors can even be connected to a curved blade; the blade can be used in leveling your field before planting a crop. Actually, John Deere is your agricultural machine friend yo make your work easier.

The choice of the tractors to use may depend on the size of your field. The various Deere tractor series is suitable for multiple purposes, some series like 5E Limited is perfect for removing rocks, soil, dirt, clearing a bush and other majors uses even in your garage. The tractors have a long lifespan, guaranteeing you a couple of years service.

New World wines: USA

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Winemaking in the United States of America has been in existence over 300 years ago but recently, the country have climbed the edge to be one of the world leading countries producing wine. Although most wine connoisseurs are of the notion that best wines come from the Mediterranean regions – France, Italy and Spain because of their adaptive climate to the growing of grapes. Wines produced in the U.S. have also been tasted to be of good quality just as wines from the Mediterranean.

Vineyard viticulture was established by Spaniards and missionaries in the U.S. during the early 1500s. As they began their  missions in the country, they cultivated Mexican vine cuttings that were brought into the country from Mexico.

For many years, the most popular wines were Bordeaux and Chardonnay. But in the 1980s, the fancy many people had for these varieties started reducing especially as more varieties were available in wine shops. This is because of the rate at which French, Italian and Spanish wine producers started importing their wines into the country as the fastest growing economy in the world. Vineyards in America began to explore newer and hybrid grape varieties from Italy, France and Spain. 

According to the statistics published in 2018 by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, USA is the fourth largest producer in the world. Despite the fact that USA remains the world’s largest market for wine imports, the country is still able to fill the gap between imports and exports. USA is ranked the 6th largest exporter of wines behind France, Italy, Spain, Australia and Chile. The American wine industry generated a revenue of US$ 1.47 billion from export sales of 375 million liters of wines in 2018.

The most prolific wine region is Napa Valley, California was established in 1769. About 90% of American wines are produced from California with over 1,200 wineries. The Mediterranean climate in the Napa valley is highly conducive to growing quality grapes which influences the flavor, taste and quality of wines produced. It also aids the fermentation process resulting to an increase in the alcohol content. Most Californian wines contain over 13.5% of alcohol. The State of California produces several varietals of red and white wines. The most important red wine varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot noir, Syrah and Zinfandel while the best white wines are Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay.

There are other wine regions of course in other parts of America where very good wines are produced. These are the Great Lakes of Michigan and the Colorado Rocky mountain regions. Just like the Napa valley, these regions have attractive weather conditions that supports the cultivation of quality grapes for winemaking.

The American wine industry have gone a lot more spectacular by importing Italian, French and Spanish grape varieties to produce its wines. Therefore without difference, the United States wines are of the same taste and quality with wines from France, Italy and Spain. Plant breeding technology to grow hybrid grape varieties has enabled wine regions in the U.S. to produce wines of all kinds and quality.

The USA wines are gaining the interests of Americans and foreigners such that many of them like to spend their entire vacation around vineyards. Many tourists go on tour to Napa valley wineries such as Ravenswood and Clos Pegase to have a sample taste of these exceptional wines. 

U.S. wines of high quality and vintage are without doubt one of the best you should consider adding as a complement to your wine experience. 

Agriculture of Thailand

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Agriculture is an important economic sector of any country. Thailand experiences a tropical climate which is good for agriculture. There is a lot of farming in this country due to high humidity, fertile farms and an annual average temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Thailand has three seasons; the cool season is experienced between November and February, hot season starts in March and ends in May while the rainy season starts from early June and ends in October. The tropical climate in this country allows farmers to grow various types of crops including vegetables and deciduous fruits.

Fruit farming in Thailand

Farmers in Thailand grow a wide variety of tropical fruits in the highland areas. Most fruits are grown in the northern part of the country due to a large forest cover which leads to a lot of rainfall and high humidity. Initially, the hill tribes that live in the region focused on subsistence farming which was not profitable. Population increase caused massive deforestation in the area which led to floods and soil erosion during wet seasons.

Deciduous fruits were introduced in the area to help the communities to generate a steady income and reduce the need for clearing large tracts of forests to get more land for agriculture. Most of the fruits grown in this country are exotic but they thrive well in different parts of the country. Some deciduous fruits that are grown in the area include Asian pear, Persimmon, Japanese Plum, Japanese Apricot, Peach and Nectarine among others. Many people love the fruits since most of them are Non-GMO and less chemical farm inputs are used to grow them.

Vegetable farming in Thailand

Vegetables contain minerals and nutrients which are important in the human body. There is a high demand of vegetables in Thailand and other countries in S.E Asia. Most countries in this region are populous and they provide a ready market for vegetables thus making horticulture to be highly profitable.

Vegetables are usually intercropped with deciduous trees in northern Thailand. Different varieties of vegetables can successfully grow between deciduous fruits without any significant reduction in the yields. Intercropping enables people living in highland areas to generate a steady income through the year since the fruits are harvested seasonally. It has also reduced shift cultivation where farmers abandoned infertile lands and cleared more tracts of the forest for new fields.

Some farmers have greenhouses which enable them to grow vegetables throughout the year. Greenhouses ensure food security in the country and they stabilizes the prices of vegetables in the market. Most greenhouses get water from nearby rivers or dams and most farmers focus on organic farming since it is more profitable. Some of the vegetables that are grown in greenhouses include tomatoes, spinach, kales, cucumber, and cauliflower.

Conclusion

Agriculture plays an important role in Thailand’s economy since it boosts the country’s exports. The country experiences tropical climate which favors the growth of vegetables and fruits. Most farmers plant these crops since they are on demand on both international and local market. Most deciduous fruits are grown in the northern part of Thailand due to high rainfall in the region. Fruits provide a steady income to hill tribes and reduce deforestation in the highlands. Most vegetables are intercropped with deciduous fruits to maximize the use of land in the highlands. Farmers with small farms focus on horticulture and they plant vegetables in greenhouses all year round.

Interesting facts about Aloe Vera

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Aloe Vera is a perennial plant species that has been in existence for a thousand years and belong to the genus Aloe. It is characterized by features such as thick fleshy green leaves, stemless, and height of about two feet. It originated from the Arabian Peninsula long ago and is currently cultivated across the world for agricultural and medicinal purposes. Further, Aloe Vera also grows naturally on its own in arid climates. In ancient times, Aloe Vera was a vital plant to our ancestors, and it continues to be of even much importance in the current time. Besides what people know about Aloe Vera, there are a more interesting fact about the plant.
Aloe Vera produces gel and latex, essential substances. The two substance are of different colors, latex being yellow and found under Aloe skin while the gel is clear and found on the plant’s leaves. Latex is used as a laxative agent to prevent constipation. This is taken in small quantities because massive ingestion is toxic to the body. The gel is a treasured substance in Egyptian culture. It is used in performing some rituals such as burial and beauty. An Egyptian queen Cleopatra more depicted the beauty ritual. Furthermore, the gel contains about 75 proven healthy nutrients which include but not limited to enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. The gel part of Aloe Vera is made up of 96 percent water; this allows the plant to drive in arid environments alongside other adaptive features.
According to scientific research and findings, there are 250 or more species of this plant, but surprisingly only four are known and cultivated in the contemporary time as an agricultural plant and for its medicinal capabilities. The well-known and cultivated species in most parts of the world is Aloe Vera Barbadensis. There has been much claim that the plant has potential in curing most feared and deadly diseases such as cancer and AIDS. As a food, Aloe Vera is an essential plant to the food manufacturing companies in the production of yogurt and other beverages. Besides, the cosmetic industry uses this plant in the manufacture of most commonly used domestic items such as lotions, shampoos, and soaps among others.
Aloe Vera is a known plant with long life expectancy. It can survive for more than 100 years in wild environments. To the ancient Indians, Aloe Vera was used by traditional medicine men to treat various skin conditions and ailments such as heartburn, diabetes, wrinkles, high cholesterol, skin moistening, eye infections, wound healing, insect bite relief, eye infection, joint pain, and arthritis. The Indians called it Ayurveda.
However much the facts about Aloe are beneficial and more so medicinal to human, care has to be taken in the number of doses to be consumed. Excess consumption of Aloe might turn to out to show undesired results with adverse side effects. This is not to say Aloe Vera is terrible in any way; it is a known and proven plant with excellent performance in the cure and healing processes of certain diseases and conditions as briefly discussed above.

New World wines: Argentina

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ARGENTINA WINES

The historical record of how winemaking started in Argentina as far back in the late 16th century when Spanish vines were brought into the country by Spanish missionaries and conquistadors. Though the history of winemaking is not as vibrant as that of its counterparts like France and Italy, they made it up to standard through the quality of wines they produce. What really favored winemaking in Argentina apart from the great growing regions? Tthe beautiful weather and the soil nature of the country. Argentina is so blessed with longer sunny seasons than cold seasons. The longer photoperiod allows for early grape maturity and also with the best flavor. In complement to the weather factor, Argentine soils are fertile and well cared for. Most wines respond to the quality of fruits produced by Argentine viticulturists.

In the world of winemaking, Argentina is stunningly rising as one of the most popular producers and exporters of red wine. Argentina is the largest in South America taking more than 45% of the continent’s production and 5th in the world after Italy, France, Spain, and the USA. Argentina wine industry is growing especially in its export value to the international market.

The Argentine wine industry is dominated by popular wine producers from Europe and America producing their wines using sophisticated technologies. You will find Familia Zuccardi, Colome, Bodegas Salentein, Trapiche, and Familia Schroeder. Argentina’s wine industry has been quite impressive with just about 1,300 wineries with small land area and less populated. These wineries produce exceptional wine tastes that compete with other finest wines from its top counterparts. Subsequently, Argentina has won awards in several international competitions. The largest one is the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) 2018 edition where Argentina won 378 medals.

Argentine wines offered in a variety of red and white varieties, are among the best wines to include in your collections. Argentina is popular in winemaking for its most sought Red Malbec brand. Other red wines include Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. If you are in search of white wines, go for Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.

There are three principal winemaking regions in Argentina – The Mandoza, San Juan and La Rioja.

The Mendoza region has been the most important wine regions since the start of the industry. This is because it produces more than 60% of the country’s total production. The first French vines in the region were grown in 1880 by a French botanist. Some varieties were also introduced by winemakers from Italy and Spain. Mendoza is naturally dry with less water, but thanks to the impressive physical geography of the Andes that surround the region to the west. In the hot summer months, the Andes provide water from melting snow and cool breezes at night.

San Juan is another leading region in the ranking of second wine production after Mendoza. Although the environment is much hotter and drier than Mendoza. San Juan is popular for the quality of the production of high-quality red varieties of Syrah. This region is also known for the production of spirits and vermouth.

The La Rioja region is known to produce more red wines than other varieties. About 75% of the wines produced in the region are red grape varieties, others are whites and rosés. Majority of the production comes from crushing a Spanish grape variety, Tempranillo to produce a single wine from the Rioja vineyard.

How to cultivate Okra

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Okra is an arable vegetable crop best cultivated during the warm season. Okra is best adapted to the tropics. Its diverse varieties are separated according to days of maturity, leaf shape, fruit shape and color. Example include Lady’s finger and Perkin’s long rod varieties.

Okra is edible for its nutritional characteristics. It has different vitamins and minerals and can be utilized in diverse ways. The fruit is called capsule which can be chopped into small pieces, boiled and prepared into soup.

Site Selection

The site must be located preferably in a loamy area with good fertility. The soil must be well-drained for optimum plant yield.

Soil preparation

Ensure your soil is considerably dry to prevent your farm implements from sticking into the soil throughout tillage operations. Turn over the top soil deep down using a spade. Okra would do very well when the soil is ploughed 8-10 inches deep. Smoothen the soil surface with a rake. Remove stony and other foreign materials in the soil that may stop root development.

Planting

Okra can be propagated through seeds and can be planted anytime directly on the field. For spring cultivation, plant the seeds after ice threat within the first two – three weeks. For fall cultivation, plant at three months before mid-September to early November frost to get the most effective yield attainable.

Inter-row spacing of 90cm apart and intra-row spacing of 5m are recommended. Place the okra seeds 2-3cm into the soil and cover lightly. Reduce the plant density from 5 cm to 30cm apart when plant height is about 7 – 10cm.

Care and Management

Weeding

Clear unwanted plants regularly. It is recommended to use manual hand weeding method to avoid destroying the fragile plant roots.

Fertilizing

Apply 1-1.5 kilograms of NPK 10-10-10 fertilizer ratio per 10 square meters. Spread out the fertilizer equally between the line while simultaneously mixing it with a fraction of the soil. Supply water to plants after applying fertilizer. 

Irrigation

Okra can survive during dry seasons, but for higher yield management, water the plants 7-10 days when rainfall is low. 

Pest and Disease management

Many insecticides both organic and inorganic are available to remove insects. Sevin is an inorganic insecticide suitable for Okra insect pests. Organic insecticides include sulphur and insecticides of Baccillus thuringiensis (Bt). Sulphur can also fight fungal diseases. Read the insecticide label before using it and carefully follow the precautions and instructions.

Diseases pose a serious threat to okra especially on humid and wet days. Check the plants every day and apply fungicides immediately if a plant shows signs of infection. The available biofungicides include neem oil and sulphur.

Harvesting

Flowering in okra takes place about 2 months after sowing. The capsule is usually taken 3-4 days after the flower opening. A shift after these days makes fruit fibrous and unable to use. Harvest early when capsule are 7-10cm long usually about 50 – 70 days after planting. Harvest progressively every 1-3 days else, the yield will decrease.

Storage

Okra can be stored after harvesting under cool temperature between 7-10oC in a refrigerator for about 3-4 days. Over matured pods are to be dried and stored in sacs for future use.

Utilization

You can preserve some of your harvests for future use. Leave some on the plant until they are big. Then, remove them from the stalk and dry them well. You get the okra seeds needed for the next growing season from the dried pods. 

By-products such as dried leaves and stems after harvesting can be left on the farm to decompose, recycle and make nutrients available in the soil after being used.

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