PRE-PLANTING OPERATION FOR CASSAVA FARMING
Farmers do not get the right yield because they do not select the right choice of land to cultivate their crops. Just because cassava can thrive in almost any soil doesn’t mean it should be planted just on any available land. Different crops with different soil requirements, therefore, your soil or land for cultivation is very important during planting.
Cassava requires a sandy loam soil rich in organic matter; this soil is a well-drained soil that does not allow waterlogging situation, it allows free flow of water and air. The presence of the organic matter in the soil helps to build the soil structure to enable it retains moisture. Also, it supplies plant nutrient for the growth of the cassava plant. Soil testing can be done in the laboratory to know the PH, Nutrient composition (if there be need for fertilizer or manure application before planting), microbial activity if you will need to apply some agro chemical before planting. These tests are usually done in the research institutes.
CASSAVA STEM SELECTION:
Cassava are propagated in different ways, in recent times, farmers have started to use seeds to propagate the plant but the most common way to plant cassava is the use of cassava stem. The seeds can also be used but this is not common because it takes a longer period for it to germinate as compare to the use of the stems that make cassava ready for harvesting at about 9-10 months. Cassava stem cuttings are of different nature owing to the manipulation of their genetic make up to induce some productive features like resistance to diseases and pests, addition of certain minerals like TMS 419 that has been fortified with vitamin A.; all these are to improve productivity and solve nagging problems facing farmers like pest and disease attack, ultimately to make farmer has the best experience in their practice. Improved cassava stem cuttings are: TMS 419, TMS 30572, and TMS 92/0326; they are hardy and have good production potential.
Three newly improved vitamin A cassava varieties with yellow roots have been released by the Nigerian government, stepping up efforts to tackle the problem of vitamin A deficiency especially among women and children in the country. These new varieties were developed jointly by IITA and the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike.
The three varieties—UMUCASS 44, UMUCASS 45, and UMUCASS 46—are the second in the series of pro-vitamin A varieties released in the country, and are commonly known as NR07/0220, IITA-TMS-IBA070593, and IITA-TMS-IBA070539.
The new varieties have a pro-vitamin A content that averages 10 parts per million (ppm) based on fresh roots as compared to the first series (UMUCASS 36, UMUCASS 37, and UMUCASS 38 commonly known as IITA-TMS-IBA011368, IITA-TMS-IBA1371 and IITA-TMS-IBA011412) that were released three years ago with a pro-vitamin A content of between 6-8 ppm.
After choosing a suitable site for cultivation, clear the vegetation in the area. This is done to let in more sunlight to the ground and to remove weeds and undergrowth which might otherwise compete with economic plants. The purpose of land preparation is to provide the necessary soil conditions which will enhance the successful establishment of the plant. The most common implements use in land preparation is the plough and the harrow. The Plough is used to turn and mix the soil, this exposes the lower region of the soil thereby disrupting the pests and exposing them to unfavorable condition. This will greatly help to reduce their population or even eradicate them completely, while the harrow is used to smoothen the ploughed land, it helps to remove weeds and other pests on the land before planting is done. Harrowing is usually done 2-3weeks after ploughing is done as it helps to provide nutrients to the soil and also help loosen the soil to ensure good root and tuber formation of the cassava plant.
After proper land preparation method has been implemented and the improved cassava stems have been purchased, then, planting sets in. Select varieties with multiple pest and disease resistance, high and stable root yields, and
Cassava is either planted as a single crop or intercropped with vegetables, maize, legumes or other plants. Intercropping cassava with other crops reduces the danger of loss caused by unfavorable weather and pests by spreading the risk over plants with different vulnerabilities.(To also read more on cassava click this link , https://www.agriculturenigeria.com/farming-production/crop-production/crops/cassava )
The cassava stem (cuttings) to be planted should be taken from plants 8 – 18 months old. Using a sharp machete or cutlass to cut the stem. Take care not to bruise the buds or otherwise damage the stem. The cuttings should be about 20-25 cm in length with 5 or more nodes.Cuttings from the base of the stalk are better planting materials than those from the top in terms of germination and plant yield.
Methods of Planting Cassava
There are three methods of planting cassava, the quantity recommended for 1 ha is 60 bundles of cassava stem
1. Horizontal planting — Plant cuttings are buried 5-10cm below the soil surface in dry climates and when mechanical planting is used. Cuttings planted horizontally produce multiple stems and more tuberous roots but they are relatively smaller in size. However, in loamy and rich soils the multiple stems and roots are at an advantage resulting in high yields.
2. Vertical planting — this is done during rainy days so that cuttings will not rot if constantly wet. In contrast, under low rainfall conditions, vertical planting may result in dehydration of the cuttings.
3. Inclined planting — Cuttings are inclined at 45o in semi-rainy areas, leaving 2-3 nodes above ground level. The inclination of the stem and roots provide a leverage which makes harvesting easier than in the other orientations.
Plant early in the morning or late afternoons when the sun is cool to prevent excess heat from heating the crop. Replace all cuttings which did not bud after two weeks of planting
Culled: .( https://www.agro4africa.com/cassava-farming-process/)