Soil Fertility Management on Plantain Plantation

Plantain is a heavy feeder of soil nutrient which makes it thrive well in soils that are rich and also able to release its nutrient.

The nutrient consumption of 1 ha of plantain farm per year can be estimated at 300kg of N, 150kg of P and 1050kg of K which means that to have a good yield on your plantain field, you will need to maintain the soil fertility yearly by the input of fertilizer either organically or inorganically or organo-mineral.

There are basic rules to follow in other to retain the fertility of your soil; they are explained in the bullet point below.

The addition of a high quantity of organic waste: No doubt that plantain is a heavy feeder of nutrient which makes it grow vigorously and big if well nurtured. Giving your plantains organic waste, e.g., poultry waste, cow dung, pig poo, rice husk, cocoa pods and others will improve growth and yield but the best organic waste to apply is poultry waste because it provides a high amount of nitrogen which is needed during the vegetative period of the plant.
The addition of leguminous plants: a leguminous plant has been scientifically proven to fix nitrogen into the soil and later help boost the growth and yield of the non-leguminous plant. For example, planting cowpea between two rows of plantain stand will support the growth of the plantain.
The addition of NPK and Urea supplement: This method provides plantain with quick nutrient as NPK and Urea fertilizer are known to release its nutrient as against organic fertilizer. Though NPK has a future negative effect on the soil and plant, it is a quick fix for Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium deficiency in plants. However, urea fertilizer provides only nitrogen for plantain (needed during the vegetative stage). In considering the mixing ratio of NPK and Urea, you will mix in ratio 2:1 and apply 500g per stand.

How often should fertilizer application be made on plantain farm? The periodical use differs by soil to soil, location to location and quantity to be applied, but the average application per year thrice depends on the time of planting. It is best to apply both organic and inorganic fertilizer as a first application (if soil nutrient is low) and only organic fertilizer (if soil nutrient is average).

In summary, the best way to maintain soil fertility for plantain is the application of fertilizer, and the best compost to add is an organic waste in which poultry waste serves to be the best fertilizer, loved by plantain.

In Conclusion, Always provide your plant with enough fertilizer and water all year round as this will result in real growth and big fruit

Gun Sprayer Irrigation for plantain

[wds id=”4″]I could remember the day I was thinking about the best type of irrigation that will be cost efficient and work efficiently for plantain. I made different research on other types of irrigation (drip, furrow, pot, sprinkler, gun sprayer e.t.c). I came to realize that gun sprayer will work well for plantain considering it specification and work parameters. I will shed more light about gun sprayer irrigation.

Gun Sprayer is a kind of gadget that resemble a gun as the name implies. It is being made to shoot water to a far distance.

There are different sizes that can shoot for various ranges all things being equal. But it is important to note that gun sprayer cannot work alone as it requires the services of other equipment like water pump machine, water hose, water storage tank (depending on the type of water source), water source, e.g., stream, river, borehole e.t.c.

To make it easier to understand, I will try to explain how it all works together. Firstly, the water pump machine is connected to the water source through the suction hose and to the gun sprayer through the rubber hose. The gun sprayer is raised high with the help of a tripod stand, and it is placed at the center of plantain farmland to be irrigated.

The technical details are also needed as it makes the operator competent to handle the equipment’s well and be able to use them efficiently. What you need to know are these:

Gun Sprayer: There is a different specification of this equipment. There is gun sprayer with a capacity of 25-30m3/hr with a coverage area of 60-90m diameter; another could be a capacity of 15-20m3/hr with a coverage radius of 40-60m diameter.

Water pump machine: it could be 15hp with 30m3/hr, 45m3/hr and much more. All these specifications are written on the water pump and inside the manual of these water pumps. There is a need to consider calculating the number of gun sprayers that could work with a water pump machine. Here is how to calculate it. A gun sprayer with a flux volume of 25-30m3/hr will require a water pump of the same flux volume while two gun sprayer will need a water pump of twice the flux capacity.

Suction and rubber hose: the strength of the rubber hose should be 5 bars and above and also 3-inch size or the size of the water pump outlet. The suction hose needed is also 3-inch size or the inlet size of the water pump machine.

A gun sprayer of 25-30m3/hr equipped with a very competent water will cover an average radius of 35m, this giving us 3848.95m2 area which is almost an acre.

This is a welcome development for plantain farmers and other crops or vegetable farmers in tropical Africa