joseoh made 09-11-10 ed.jpgFarmers have been advised to exercise caution when planting as failure to do so could result in them losing their crop due to mid-season drought.

 

The mid-season drought which normally begins in mid January has fallen early this season according to the Ministry of Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.

 

During this period there is little or no rainfall which puts crops under moisture stress, compromising plant growth.

 

Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister, Dr. Joseph Made said the drought is expected to be shorter this season compared to other seasons.

 

“We’ve got information from the Met department that we are now beginning the mid-season drought, but however this does not mean its precise, we have to see developments in the next 5-7 days,” said Dr Made.

 

Winter is also expected to kick in earlier than the usual season.

 

winter wheat.jpgDr. Made urged farmers intending to plant winter wheat to begin making preparations and to alert Government so that it can begin preparations to assist their input requirements.

 

“Immediately we want farmers who will grow wheat to start preparations particularly if winter comes early,” Dr Made added.

 

Climate change experts last year predicted that the rainfall season for Southern Africa from October to March 2011 will be normal to above normal.

 

However, over the past few years, rainfall patterns in the country have been erratic throwing farmers’ plans into turmoil.