Posted on

Why Every Farmer Should Undertake a Soil Test of his/her Farm

Soil analysis results inform the farmer of deficiencies or excesses, if any, of minerals. They also advise on the correct type and amount of fertilizers to apply. They also enlighten on the method and time of application of fertilizer.

The genesis of low yields today in our farms year by year originates to lack of our beloved farmers not having full information on how their soils nutrient value is. To achieve high and quality yields a farmer has to determine the level of nutrients availability, to provide the basis for calculating the required fertilizing of each crop and to evaluate the supply of each nutrient element and determine how to manage the nutrient. High quality soil analysis is basis of planning of fertilizing, and thus the quality of the entire production cycle, which results in a high quality and yield and better farm management.

NOTE; Soil acidity (pH), which rarely affects the growth of most crops directly in the range 5.5-7.5 but can influence the availability of other nutrients.

Soil analysis determines the content of basic plant nutrients; nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P2O5), potassium (K 2 O), pH, humus content, total CaCO3, available lime, organic matter, total sulphur (S), trace elements, and other physical characteristics (capacity, permeability, density, pH – value).

Here are some of the plant nutrient deficiencies;

Plants can also suffer deficiencies where the growing conditions are poor and the plants are unable to take up nutrients present in the soil. Very acid or alkaline conditions, dryness and water logging can all make it difficult for plants to take up soil nutrients.

Pawpaw Farming in Kenya: How to choose the right variety for your area

Nutrient deficiencies cause symptoms such as leaf yellowing or browning, sometimes in distinctive patterns. This may be accompanied by stunted growth and poor flowering or fruiting.

Macro nutrient

 Nitrogen

comparance of a nitrogen deficient plant and a healthy plant

How to identify

Check the field for abnormalities. N deficient crops are stunted and discolored. Specifically:

  • Older leaves or whole plants are yellowish green
  • Old leaves and sometimes all leaves become light green and chlorotic at the tip
  • Entire field may appear yellowish.

Phosphorous

How to identify

phosphorous deficient plant
  • Slow and stunted growth.
  • Leaves may curl
  • Leaves become purplish (or reddish-purple), most often first on their undersides and later on the tops.

Potassium

How to identify

  • On the oldest leaves, yellowing occurs in marginal and interveinal zones.
  • Brown scorching and curling of leaf tips as well as yellowing between leaf veins.
  • Plant growth, root development, and seed and fruit development are usually reduced.
  • Yellow stripes may appear along leaf interveins and lower leaves may bend downward. 

    potassium deficient plants

Magnesium

How to identify

  • Yellowing of the leaf structure found between veins.
  • Older leaves turn yellow at the edge giving a green overhead shape at the Center of the leaf.

Calcium

How to identify

  • New leaves appear distorted or irregularly shaped.
  • Development of necrotic tissue on young leaves.
  • In severe cases root tips may die back.

    calcium deficient plant

Sulfur

How to identify

  • Uniform pale green chlorosis throughout the plant.
  • Youngest leaves may appear pale earlier or more severely than mature leaves.
  • Yellowing of the leaves, but nitrogen deficiencies begin with the older leaves first.

Micro nutrients

Boron

How to identify

  • Thickening of young leaves.
  • The leaves and stem near the shoot tip are brittle and break easily when bent.
  • Young leaves are usually paler than the older leaves.

Manganese

How to identify

  • Leaves become yellow and there is also interveinal chlorosis.
  • Pale grayish green interveinal chlorosis spreads from the tip to the leaf base.
  • Necrotic brown spots develop later and leaf becomes dark brown.
  • Newly emerging leaves are short, narrow, and light green

Copper 

How to identify

  • Dieback of stems and twigs.
  • Yellowing of leaves.
  • Stunted growth and pale green leaves that wither easily.

Iron

How to identify

  • Leaf yellowing first appears on the younger upper leaves in interveinal tissues.
  • Leaves to turn completely yellow or almost white, and then brown as leaves die.

Zinc

How to identify

  • Short internodes and a decrease in leaf size.
  • Delayed maturity

    zinc deficient plants

Benefits of testing farm soil.                     

  • The world population is growing up and thus fertile soils are required to produce more food.
  • Farmers can easily avoid soil degradation.
  • Leads to minimization of fertilizer expenditure.
  • Informs the farmer on the current health status of the soil.

Appropriate time to take the soil sample

Soil samples can be taken any time throughout the year. However, it’s also appropriate to take soil samples after the harvest. This will give you ample time to prepare the land as per the recommendations of the soil sample results before the next planting season. The soil should not be too dry or wet when taking the soil sample in a farm. In orchards where there are permanent crops, soil test should be done after every four years.

OxfarmAg Ltd message to Kenyan farmers;

Smallholder farmers, particularly those in Kenya, often lack access to soil testing laboratories to determine their soil’s fertility and the nutrients required to increase crop productivity. This causes farmers to apply fertilizer that may not meet their soil’s needs. Soil analysis will inform you of your soils’ deficiencies. Soil testing can also help to predict return on investment for Kenyan farmers.

Here at oxfarm we have dedicated staff with a primary goal of providing accurate soil analysis in a timely manner.

Frequent soil testing helps farmers decide whether their current management is robbing future productivity and profits.

Soil testing serves as the best guide available for determining nutrient needs for growing crops. Soil testing also provides a balanced fertility program which is a vital component of sustainable farming programs that are profitable, efficient and environmentally responsible.

We offer soil testing services at highly competitive prices and this will assist a farmer to undertake the correct management practices in his farm.

We offer individual package of soil testing at ksh 2800 per sample exclusive of transport which is charged at ksh 20 per km from Nairobi to the farm and back when coming to collect the soil sample.

Contact us on  0706222888.

Posted on

Soil Engineer

Geotechnical Engineering is a crucial and growing field. As people expand into virgin areas or land that is not considered prime development, there are costs merely beyond the immediate financial. It is important for developers to examine whether an area of land is viable for development, whether there are conservation issues to mitigate, and what extra measures may be required to develop the land. Land with a higher water table, for example, may require different materials to mitigate damp. Geotechnical engineering is concerned with environmental geology and environmental soils.

Read: The Most Cost-Effective Greenhouse Which Every Farmer Can Construct

Soil Engineers work with soils and their relationships to other elements of the environment. Different soil types have different attributes and it is necessary to develop an understanding of the relative attributes and drawbacks of each type. That is why there is a need to fill a niche for professional Soils Engineering, and soils science. The need to create an area for specialists who understand soil conservation issues and soil properties is growing in line with international obligations on environmental protection and to ensure that prime land is chosen in a changing climate. They are a type of Soils Scientists with a view to practical application and applied science.

They work both in the field taking readings, and in offices analyzing data and compiling reports. Depending on where they work and the type of organization, they may produce data for statistics and research reports, or for decision makers working in the environmental area who need to make decisions on the best course of protection. They are essential as advisors in construction. Many are found in drilling and dam building and maintenance, taking soil samples to ensure no contamination or other problems.

Read: Water Conservationist

In Agriculture, Soil engineers, solve problems which relate to irrigation and drainage functions of agricultural land such as dams, irrigation ponds, pipelines and open channels.
Examples of our recent research themes are as follow:

  1. Disaster prevention for agricultural land and irrigation ponds,
  2. Earthquake resistant design of fill dams,
  3. Development of techniques for the reuse of muddy soil for the reconstruction of deteriorated earth fill dams
  4. Analysis of granular flow for geotechnical problems,
  5. Behavior of buried structures and the Dynamic behavior of buried flexible pipelines.

Are you a soil engineer and would like to partner with us, Contact us today!

Posted on

Water Conservationist

In Kenya and other parts of the world, water has seemed like an unlimited resource. As populations grow, however, society needs more water to meet basic needs. Many communities are facing water shortages. Fortunately, there is an excellent short-term solution: using water efficiently. Water conservation specialists are experts in the efficient use of water who can make significant contributions to protecting our planet. They:

  • calculate possible water savings of large conservation programs;
  • recommend ways business, agriculture, and consumers can save water;
  • administer programs for community groups that want to participate in conservation projects, such as a low-flush toilet exchange;
  • help forecast short-term and long-term water supply and demand;
  • participate in creating and promoting water conservation regulations;
  • collect, interpret, and analyze water use data to see if the water agency is meeting conservation goals; and
  • recommend new water-saving equipment.

Severe drought has adversely affected water resources, especially in the arid and semi-arid areas of the Kenya. This has led to reduced river recharge systems, causing severe water scarcity amidst the ever-increasing demand.

I am not sure there is any living creature that does not feel the twinge of water scarcity, ranging from that snake whose thirst has led it out of the bush into someone’s hut to urban dwellers, who have to adhere to water and power rationing schedules.

Besides farmers, who have lost a good fraction of their expected bumper harvests, the most affected are pastoralists who have resorted to slaughtering their emaciated animals before they die. I won’t even mention the game reserve invasions pastoralists are resorting to in order to save their treasured possessions.

Therefore, if you are one and would like to partner with us, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Posted on

Veterinarian and What He Does

A veterinarian is a medical professional who protects the health and well-being of both animals and people. They diagnose and control animal diseases and treat sick and injured animals. They also advise owners on proper care of their pets and livestock. Veterinarians provide a wide range of services in private practice, teaching, research, government service, public health, military service, private industry, and other areas.

When taking the veterinarian’s oath, a doctor solemnly swears to use his or her scientific knowledge and skills “for the benefit of society, through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.”

Read: How To Make Your Own Compost Manure And Its Benefits

A Veterinarian:

  • Diagnoses animal health problems
  • Vaccinates against diseases, such as distemper and rabies
  • Medicates animals suffering from infections or illnesses
  • Treats and dresses wounds
  • Sets fractures
  • Performs minor to complex surgery, depending on training
  • Advises owners about animal feeding, behavior and breeding
  • Euthanizes animals when necessary
  • Provides preventive care to maintain the health of livestock
  • Performs diagnostic tests such as X-ray, EKG, ultrasound, blood, urine, and faeces

In many respects, a veterinarian is similar to a pediatrician. Animals cannot talk like human beings, and much of the clinical history is obtained from the owner or client, as a pediatrician would obtain from a child’s parents. Excellent people skills and communication skills are required.

What cannot be obtained from the clinical history is acquired with the fingers, eyes, and smell. The ability to listen with a stethoscope and palpate with the fingers and hands will reveal much of the physical findings. The sense of smell is also important in detecting the fruity odor of the ketotic cow’s breath, or the urea from the breath of a cat in renal failure.

What cannot be revealed by the history and exam is further supported by diagnostic tests like blood work, urinalysis, and fecal exams. Veterinarians are well trained in laboratory medicine and parasitology.

The general practice veterinarian spends one-third to one-half of his or her time in surgery. Animal neutering operations are done in most veterinarians’ offices. Many veterinarians also perform orthopedic procedures, bone setting, dentistry, and trauma surgery. Surgery requires good hand and eye coordination, and fine motor skills. A veterinarian’s job is similar to that of a human doctor.

When health problems arise, veterinarians diagnose the problem and treat the animal. Accurate diagnosis frequently requires laboratory tests, radiography, and specialized equipment. Treatments may involve a number of different procedures including emergency lifesaving techniques, prescribing medication, setting fractures, birthing, performing surgery, or advising an owner on feeding and care of the animal.

To prevent the introduction of foreign diseases, veterinarians employed by government agencies quarantine and inspect animals brought into the country from other countries. They supervise shipments of animals, test for the presence of diseases and manage campaigns to prevent and eradicate many diseases such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, and rabies, which threaten animal and human health.

A veterinarian in research looks for better ways to prevent and solve animal and human health problems. Many problems, such as cancer and heart disease, are studied through the use of laboratory animals, which are carefully bred, raised, and maintained under the supervision of veterinarians.

There are many veterinarians that are professors, teaching at schools and universities of veterinary medicine. In addition to teaching, veterinary school faculty members conduct basic and clinical research, contribute to scientific publications, and develop continuing education programs to help graduate veterinarians acquire new knowledge and skills.

Read: Onion Farming Profit Per Acre

Kenya Veterinary Board (KVB)

In Kenya, veterinarians are normally licensed by Kenya Veterinary Board (KVB) every year to be allowed to practice. KVB is a constitutional board which regulates all matters of veterinary practice and certifies institutions of higher learning, which train individuals on all aspects of animal health from certificate to degree holders. This oversight body gives professionals in animal health unique identification cards complete with their board registration numbers, qualifications and identity numbers. These cards should be produced to every farmer on demand.

Are you a registered member of the board and you would like to feature in our website? Kindly contact us.

 

Posted on

The work of Agricultural Engineer in Kenya

Agricultural Engineering is the area of engineering concerned with the design, construction and improvement of farming equipment and machinery.

Agricultural engineers integrate technology with farming. For example, they design new and improved farming equipment that may work more efficiently, or perform new tasks. They design and build agricultural infrastructure such as dams, water reservoirs, warehouses, and other structures.

They may also help engineer solutions for pollution control at large farms. Some agricultural engineers are developing new forms of biofuels from non-food resources like algae and agricultural waste. Such fuels could economically and sustainably replace gasoline without jeopardizing the food supply.

Agricultural engineers work both indoors and outdoors. They spend time in offices creating plans and managing projects, and in agricultural settings inspecting sites, monitoring equipment, and overseeing reclamation and water management projects. These positions may involve a significant amount of travel. These engineers may also work in laboratories and classrooms.

They may collaborate with others to plan and solve problems. For example, they may work with horticulturalists, agronomists, animal scientists, and geneticists.

 

 

 

We at oxfarm would like to connect farmers with best Agricultural engineers around your area. Fill the form and we will respond to you as soon we confirm your need.

 

Contact Form
8 + 0 =

 

 

Posted on

The Role of An Agronomist

Agronomists, sometimes known as crop scientists, specialize in producing and improving food crops through conducting experiments and developing methods of production. As plant scientists, agronomists can have many career paths, but their careers are generally focused on increasing the quality and amount of food produced for the nation’s food supply.

Agronomists have varied duties that require them to think critically to solve problems. First and foremost, agronomists experiment and plan studies to improve crop yields. They study a farm’s crop production in order to discern the best ways to plant, harvest, and cultivate the plants, regardless of the climate. It is also important for agronomists to develop methods to control weeds and pests to keep crops disease-free.

Agronomists often use mathematical and analytical skills in conducting their work and experimentation. Complex data and information that they develop must be worked into a serviceable format for public consumption. Agronomists relay their information in written form, making presentations and speeches as well as responding diplomatically to sensitive issues regarding their findings. Their ultimate goal is to work scientifically to produce the finest crops, on the most consistent basis that they can, in any situation.