14 Must-Know Cultivation Tips For New Farmers

Rice farm

Written by Bello Gidado Bello

July 4, 2020

The planting season has officially arrived and farmers are expected to be steadfast, neat and strategically preparing to indulge in the current farming season and process when it comes to agronomy (planting and cultivation of crops), having a set of schedule and lists leading up to key dates (time of any cultural activity), and face unexpected challenges that arise.

Here are 14 cultivation tips for new farmers to keep in mind to help proactively prepare for the 2020 season;

NOTE: Planting season is to start from May and end in early November.

  1. Site selection.
  2. Land or soil preparation.
  3. Seed selection.
  4. Fertilizer application.
  5. Check Operational equipment.
  6. Record-keeping.
  7. Planting and transplanting.
  8. Pest control.
  9. Weeding and weed management.
  10. Harvesting.
  11. Storage and Post-harvest activities.
  12. The great decision.
  13. Identify the target market.
  14. Learn, ask, and share.

1. Site Selection

This is among the first cultivation tips new farmers should take note of. Site selection is the decision-making process that means selection of a location where you want to grow your selected crop of cultivation. Lots of variables can determine this;

  • Climate and weather
  • Environmental factors
  • Governmental policies
  • Economic factors
  • Accessibility
  • Soil fertility
  • Drainage system
  • Shape and size
  • Topography
  • Soil structure and texture
  • Cost (purchase or lease, labor, and transport)
  • Rodents and pest
  • Security

The analysis of the above factors and varieties or more are the essential steps to be undertaken before deciding finally to go into actual farming, the soil should undergo nutrients tests.

2. Land Or Soil Preparation

It all begins with the soil, achieving productivity starts from the soil and land preparations. Land preparation is making the land suitable for cultivation and also softens the land for proper roots entry.

Activities include;

  • Plowing and harrow.
  • Tillage
  • Ridging
  • Use of tractors in mechanized farming.
  • Preemergence herbicides and contact herbicides should be applied after planting

NOTE: this goes hand in hand to the yield that is expected and depends on what you want to plant.

3. Seed Selection

Here we have the literal meaning of “reap what you sow.” Seed selection is been defined by what the farmer wants to plants, fertilizer, and also agronomic practice a farmer adopts.

Get high-quality seeds from standard seed producers (e.g institutes of agric) and many other certified seed dealers in your reach.

Black peas seed
Peas seedlings

Good and certified seeds give a higher yield according to a farmer’s institute. New farmers should do well to remember this important cultivation tips.

4. Fertilizer Application and Strategy

A solid fertilizer strategy helps seeds reach their full potential. It is also used as a tool to make the soil more fertile and more nutrients imbibed.

Macro and micro-nutrients have to be highly checked on.

In addition to determining fertilizers to use depends on the soil nature and crop in cultivation.

Types of fertilizers

  • Organic Manure
  • N-P-K 15-15-15
  • Urea 10%
  • SSP
Organic Manure
Organic manure in soil

Note: Take a soil sample for nutrient tests.

5. Check Operational Equipment

This is another very important cultivation tip most new farmers don’t bother doing. Before planting or fertilizing your fields, take time to check all operational equipment. The things to check include; planters, harrows, ridge workers. This check is done for a farmer to ensure all tools are at optimal performance and also replace worn-out parts and make general services. If all these are intact then we move to the next phase.

6. Keep Records

Record is among the most important cultivation tips most new farmers skip. Proper Recordkeeping gives the farmer the full potential of making decisions regarding there cultivation activities and practices. The human brain has a limited capacity and abilities hence it is highly not advised to keep records mentally. Records to be kept include General Expenses, labor, chemicals (Pesticides and Herbicides), harvest and yield records, Planting Records (dates), shipping and or transport, and any other input or practice related to cultivation. 

Note: Good records lead to better decisions and higher success.

7. Planting and Transplanting

This is the most crucial aspect of cultivation. For most crops, there is an optimum time for planting which depends on the climatic and time condition and the time taken by the crops to reach maturity for cereals (maize, pearl, millet, sorghum). Early planting at the beginning of the season is advisable as it aids an increase in yields. If planting commences late, the crop is likely not to reach its full physiological stage due to fewer days and less rain hence delay maturity.

Note: Here is a specific planting spacing (inter and intra row), for every crop, it has its requirement and spacing which we all discuss henceforth.

Transplanting is done when seed dormancy (inability for the seed to germinate) is realized and have to be replanted again or transplanted.

8. Pest Control

Pest is a key play in reducing yield and potentiality. They can be microorganisms or small rodents and also longer animals like cows, goats, and sheep.

In definition, a pest is any organism that spreads diseases, cause distraction, or otherwise a nuisance to the crops. The best control measure of pest is IPM- integrated pest management which describes the idea of using several or different methods to control pests. E.g, the use of chemicals (pesticides), predator-prey method, resistant varieties and other recommended farming practices to help control pest populations.

9. Weeding and Weed Control

In simple terms, weeds are referred to as unwanted plants. But not all weeds are unwanted because a couple of s referred to as weeds have economic values it just depends on interests.

Weed control is the botanical aspect of pest control in an attempt to reduce or stop weeds especially noxious weeds from competing with desired flora and fauna (domesticated plant and livestock) weed control is a strong area of Agriculture with different methods and approaches.

Method of weeding

  • Hand weeding (hoes)
  • Auto powered cultivators.
  • Smothering with mulch (mulching)
  • Wilting using high heat
  • Burning
  • Chemical control using herbicides, systemic, or contact depending on interest and conditions.
  • Cultivating resistant variety

10. Harvesting

This Is the process of gathering a ripe crop from the fields and one of the most important cultivation tips for new farmers. This is one of the most cost-intensive, and labor-intensive activities of the growing season. After gathering, crops are moved from where they are grown to a more secure location for processing, consumption, or storage. This is the point where the farmers get to know if all that was done before was worth it hence assess the yield and profit or loss. Harvesting processes and activities differ from crop to crop and also experience and nature.

11. Storage and Post Harvest Activities

This is a stage of the post-harvest system during which the products/yields are kept in such a way as to be safe for future use or purposes. This is also a very important cultivation tip in crop production. Storage is done to reduce food spoilage, pests, and micro-organisms, theft. Harvesting is a key role in food security and done using different methods. The one we know well of are barns, rhombus, or storage sacks.

Also read: Life after Covid19—The future of food

12. The Great Decision

This is the phase where the farmer is left with the decision making of the branch of agriculture to hop on and are important cultivation tips for farmers to take note of These branches are; Subsistence agriculture and or Commercial agriculture.

Subsistence agriculture is a system of farming that aims at only growing crops that fulfill all or almost all the immediate needs of the farmer and his family, with no or little excess for marketing.

Commercial agriculture, on the other hand, is the system of crop production which is done with the sole aim intention to sell or for other commercial purposes. This is mostly done on a large scale and is hence more labor-intensive.

Note: Although it is executed at the end of the whole cultivation process, decision making is the first thing to bear in mind before indulging in the farming season and processing.

13. Identify Target Market

After the decision making, if it an intention of subsistence, we know that the yield is headed home, but on the other hand, if it’s going commercial, the yield is taken to the market for sale. According to the crops produced that where the farmer knows the target of customers to supply or advertise to. if is always advisable for a farmer to have knowledge of prices and criteria in the market regarding his produce before entering the agric-market.

14. Learn, Ask, and Share

Learning never ends !!!

Ask, every Question has an answer !!!

Share because there is love in sharing.

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