Low nitrogen and drought tolerant maize gives over 20 bags per acre

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Western Seed Company employee Claide Ong'ura in the firm's maize demonstration plot in Kitale on October 29, 2016. The company's WH403 variety tolerates low nitrogen and rain to give more than 20 bags of 90kg per acre. PHOTO BY LABAN ROBERT.

Farmers from low nitrogen regions, who cannot buy enough fertiliser to provide the nutrient to maize, can harvest more than 20 bags of 90kg per acre with the WH403 variety from Western Seed Company Limited.

The company’s Agronomist Daniel Shiundu said WH403 maize variety does well even with the limited application of nitrogenous fertilisers throught the growing period to give farmers between 25 and 30 bags of 90kg

Maize is described as a ‘heavy’ nitrogen feeder. For that reason, farmers require to apply between 70kg and 80kg of nitrogenous fertilisers per acre to realise high yields. Due to costs impediments, most farmers apply half of this amount per acre.

 Shiundu said application rate per acre for most part of Western Kenya, Nyanza and rift valley, 75kg per acre of nitrogenous fertilisers are required for maximum harvests.

Double ammonium phosphate, Calcium Ammonium Phosphate and Nitrogen Ammonium Nitrate are the common granular fertilisers used during planting and topdressing to provide nitrogen to the maize. 

But to get such high yields, the agronomist said good crop husbandry must be observed. The practices include timely weeding, control pests and following the standard planting spacing, among others.

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The agronomist said the variety does well in Western, Central, Coast, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Eastern and other low rainfall regions.

“This variety is drought tolerant and it gives good yields in an event of limited rainfall during the crop’s flowering stages,” Shiundu said.

It is little affected by maize streak virus which I spread by sap sucking pests and it attacks leaves.

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The variety also matures between four and five months.

The company can be contacted on 00800721505.