Crops, livestock in good condition
Precious Manomano-Herald Reporter
The good rains received so far this season have kept crops and livestock in good condition, although some farmers with waterlogged maize report leaching, but reaping is now in full swing for rain-fed tobacco, with the Meteorological Services Department forecasting more rains.
Farmers are now more hopeful of a really good harvest and livestock farmers are seeing continued improvement in their cattle, although need to take precautions against diseases.
The strong stress this year on dipping and other tick controls has seen cattle disease levels fall.
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) said several dams were already full and spilling including Chivero, Mwenje, Exchange, Masembura, Biri, Khushinga Phikelela, Rufaro, Arcadia, Rusape and Wenimbi and levels in the rest of the major dams continued to rise.
Last week, Zinwa corporate communications and marketing manager Mrs Marjorie Munyonga said while water levels in the dams continued improving, the need to conserve water still remained and water users across the board should continue using water sparingly and efficiently so that there was enough water for irrigation when the rains die back, especially for the winter crops and the start of the next summer season.
A weekly update by the Agricultural Advisory and Rural Development Services (Aards) reports that livestock condition continued to improve with improved grazing, both in quality and availability.
The high rainfall received in the high veld in the past week has improved access to drinking water by livestock.
However, the high rainfall received has caused muddy kraals and incidences of foot-rot, hence farmers are encouraged to use the kraal rotation system to minimise the incidences of foot rot and are encouraged to vaccinate against soil-borne diseases.
Former Zimbabwe National Farmers Union vice president Mr Edward Dune said the livestock condition had improved significantly and pastures were available.
But farmers should add salt to cattle’s feed to improve nutritional value, he said, adding that the incessant rains had affected minerals in the soils.
Mr Dune said Government was doing well in creating awareness on the importance of dipping cattle to reduce tick-borne diseases.
“We are urging farmers to increase dipping intervals and also use tick grease,” he said.
“The other challenge with livestock is that it can also be affected by foot rot. We urge farmers to be vigilant.”
Mr Dune said there was leaching in some water logged areas.
“The challenge is that in some instances chemicals can be washed out by the rains,” he said.
“We urge farmers to be careful when spraying herbicides so they are not washed away. But generally, the bulk of the early planted crop is in good condition.”
Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Association Trust president Mrs Depinah Nkomo said farmers were in high spirits because of the rains.
“We are happy and the crops are looking good,” she said.
“Government has done so well in curbing tick-borne diseases. We lost thousands of cattle in the past years.
“We have seen a reduction of cattle mortalities. So far so good, our livestock is in good condition.”
The good rains witnessed in most parts of the country are likely to complement programmes such as Pfumvudza/Intwasa Conservation Scheme, Zunde Ramambo and the National Enhanced Crop Productivity Scheme (Command Agriculture).