Dry weather conditions to persist
Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
The condition of some crops has continued to deteriorate, with the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) forecasting dry weather conditions to persist until next week.
Erratic rains may be received after Wednesday, the department said.
According to the MSD head of forecasting, Mr Tich Zinyemba, the dry weather was expected to persist in all areas until next week.
“Therefore, most areas will be sunny and hot with no rainfall,” he said.
“There will be no rains until next week and even then the rains will be erratic. We have started cloud seeding, but this process is only possible if there are conducive clouds.”
Meanwhile, crops in most areas are showing serious signs of moisture stress, with others already reaching the permanent wilting stage.
But cotton is one of the crops that is thriving.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa said maize in some areas had reached permanent wilting and if it did not rain soon, the crop would be a write-off in some areas.
“Generally, cotton is doing well as the crop can thrive in dry conditions due to its deep roots,” he said.
“Although the crop maybe slightly smaller than last year, it has not been affected by the dry weather conditions.”
Mr Chabikwa said dryland tobacco had been severely affected by the erratic rains, with the crop developing small leaves.
The quality of the crop had also been compromised by the low rainfall.
“Those with an irrigated crop are at advanced stage of reaping and curing and this crop was not affected by leaching this season due to the low rains,” said Mr Chabikwa.
He said maize was worrisome as the early planted crop was in the vegetative stage which required rain.
Mr Chabikwa said farmers with irrigation facilities should intensify irrigation to save the crop.
“The maize that is six weeks and above is getting stressed, while in some areas the crop has reached permanent wilting stage,” he said.