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Feedback: Best fertiliser regime for good harvest from Hass, Fuerte avocados

Friday May 25 2018

A farmer admires his avocado fruits.

A farmer admires his avocado fruits. To obtain maximum growth and optimum yields, it is important to supply the avocados with necessary nutrients. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

By SEEDS OF GOLD EXPERTS
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FERTILISER REGIME FOR AVOCADOS

Please give me advice on the best fertiliser application and pruning of Hass and Fuerte varieties. What should be the ideal height and diameter of the canopy?

David Bor

To obtain maximum growth and optimum yields, it is important to supply the avocados with necessary nutrients. It is, however, dangerous to give excessive amounts on any size of trees at one time as it may cause root damage, leaf burn and defoliation.

The type of fertiliser to be used depends on soil pH. In the planting year, it is advisable not to top dress the orchard since this may retard root development during the first 4-5 months after planting.

After this period, 60g of 26 per cent of N fertiliser should be applied after every three months when the soil is moist. In addition, about 25kg of well-rotten manure should be spread around the trees after each year.

The following are recommendations for N and P fertilisers to be applied each year (CAN and SSP) per tree:

1st year after planting: 60g CAN + 250g SSP
2nd year: 85g CAN + 500g SSP
3rd year: 500g CAN + 750g SSP
4th year : 750g CAN + 750g SSP
5th year: 1kg CAN + 750g SSP
6th year: 2kg CAN + 1kg SSP
7th year: 3kg CAN + 1.5kg SSP
8th year: 4kg CAN + 2kg SSP
9th year: 5kg CAN + 2.5kg SSP
10th year: 6kg CAN + 3kg SSP

The CAN should be applied in splits. The use of farmyard manure is particularly strongly recommended because it improves the physical condition of the soil and promotes the adsorption in the soil and uptake by the plant of micronutrients.

Avocado trees also have a very high requirement for potassium, magnesium and zinc. Measures should therefore be taken to supplement these when they fall short.

Pruning: Normally, no pruning is required besides the removal of broken and diseased branches and trimming those touching the ground.

Sucker growth is checked to remove shoots coming out of the rootstock.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

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I WANT TO KEEP TURKEYS

Please refer me to any turkey farmer around Nairobi. My younger sister wants to venture into the business. I would appreciate any advice.

Esther Nasike, Nairobi

I am interested in turkey farming. Is there a farm in Nairobi that I can visit?

Mwaura, Nanyuki

Rearing turkey for commercial purposes is a profitable business idea. The birds can be kept for meat production, which is the most popular, eggs or as pets/prestige.

Dr Subiri Obwogo feeds turkeys in his Ruai farm.

Dr Subiri Obwogo feeds turkeys in his Ruai farm. The easiest way to know how to keep these birds is through learning from experienced farmers. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The objectives notwithstanding, it is important that you understand the basics not limited to feeding, health management and products market analysis.

The easiest way to know these is through learning from experienced farmers. For Nairobi and its environs, contact Dr Subiri Obwogo on [email protected]

Felix Akatch Opinya,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.

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I PLAN TO START DAIRY GOAT FARM

I’m 21 and I plan to start a dairy goat farm in Nyeri. Is there market for goat milk?

Lawrence

Dairy goat production is one of the ventures you can hardly go wrong as long as you begin with the right breeds, offer good management for optimal performance and have assured market for the milk produced.

In Nyeri, Dairy Goat Association of Kenya (DGAK) works in collaboration with government to carry out their activities and deliver to farmers services such as maintenance of high quality animals, marketing of dairy goats and their products and trainings. Contact them through 0721398906/0734530201 or email [email protected]

Felix Akatch Opinya,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.

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BANANA VARIETIES FOR EXPORT

Please answer the following:

1) Is there a special banana variety meant for export or is it the normal one we grow locally?         

2) If there is, where can we get the export variety locally?

Banana varieties which are exported from Kenya include Giant Cavendish, Lacatan, Sabaki, Valery, Red banana (all dessert types), Apple (sweet banana) and Ugandan green (cooking type).

All these banana varieties are locally available.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

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FARMING GARLIC AND CAPSICUM

I am interested in farming garlic and capsicum on my 1.5 hectare farm. It is located in Narok, on your way to Nakuru (about 50km from Narok), which means it borders Mau Forest.

It’s not as cold as Mau but nevertheless, it’s cold. My question is, can these two or either of them do well there? I will appreciate your response.

Steve

Garlic will do well in Narok. Capsicums are warm season crops and are highly susceptible to frost. The optimum temperature for capsicum growth and development is 21-24°C for sweet pepper and 21-29°C for hot pepper.

An agriculture extension official inspects capsicums in a farm in Nyeri.

An agriculture extension official inspects capsicums in a farm in Nyeri. Capsicums are warm season crops and are highly susceptible to frost. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The minimum temperature for both types is 18°C and maximum is 27°C (sweet pepper) and 35°C (hot pepper).

Therefore, capsicums may not do well in Narok because of low temperatures unless you plant them in a greenhouse.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

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WEIGHING PIGS

I am a pig farmer in Limuru and I would like to know whether there is a way of weighing the pigs manually in the absence of a weighing scale.

Sophia

Kindly note that there are weigh bands available in the market which farmers can use to get live weights for their animals (pigs included).

Some of the tapes have scales for cattle, pigs and goats. You can buy from agrovets and always ensure it has the scale for species you keep (pigs).

Musyoka Duncan Mbai,
Department of animal Sciences, Egerton University.