Previously, I wrote about how farmers should avoid setting low production targets as a way of shielding themselves against disappointments that would occur as a result of failing to achieve the set high targets. Instead, farmers should be prepared to face such disappointments and keep on improving until the desired targets are achieved. For those who didn’t manage to read the article, I stated that it’s pointless to go into growing of any crop without set production targets and a plan on how to achieve them. I also said that in order for one to make money from farming, one need to set high production targets and strive to meet the them through continuous improvements. One may miss the target once, but if one persists and keeps on learning that which doesn’t work, one would eventually learn everything about that which works and eventually achieve the set target.
To succeed in farming, it’s important to plan on paper and then implement the laid down plan in a meticulous manner.
Measurements are essential in farming and should never be assumed.
Today we are going to discuss how to produce or the likelihood of producing 60 bags of maize per acre.
Let me start by saying that scientific discoveries start with hypothesis. Today we are going to discuss a hypothesis because I don’t want to lie that I have ever produced 60 bags per acre. One may also question my authority in maize growing due to the fact that I have always been into horticultural farming. But I would like to state here and say that we are confronted by a serious problem of shrinking agricultural land which is rapidly being converted into concrete jungle and wanton subdivision of Buroti maguta maguta (plot mafuta mafuta ) . It’s important to mention also that the maximum area that I have ever grown maize on was 20 acres and therefore, I qualify to be called a maize farmer and Ngila Kimotho can attest to this.
So what is it that makes me think that an acre should produce 60 bags of maize? Or why do I think that we should target 60 bags of maize from an acre?
Let me start with the why. It’s because, I want farmers to enjoy good profits as they feed the nation and become independent and stop crying serikali saidia.
Through a maize growing budget for one acre, I will demonstrate that to produce 60 bags, a farmer would require to spend Ksh 59,094 and hence a production cost per bag of Ksh 984. This kind of cost of production per bag therefore sets the farmer free to sell the maize at any price above Ksh 1500 per bag.
From my workings, I have considered that an investor working somewhere in major towns would be able to lease land anywhere within the high potential areas such as in Trans Nzoia , Uasin Gishu, Nakuru , or some parts of Laikipia and engage in maize growing which would earn him a descent income from his investment. I have considered also that such an investor would not like to sell his maize immediately after harvesting when the prices are low and would prefer to store the maize and possibly sell after 3 months. The cost of storage and transport to the storage area is well captured in the budget.
I have also asked myself what would happen in case of crop failure and I have included an insurance cover at 5% of the total cost as an insulation for the farmers /investor’s capital.
I have therefore tried to be as practical as possible in my workings. Let’s start.
- Ploughing 1 acre = 3000
- Harrowing = 1500
Total land preparation = 4500
- Marking the field dimension and rows. 1 man day @ 350 per day.
- Digging planting holes 4 man days @ 350 =1400
- Applying fertilizer into the planting holes. = 1 man day @ 350
- Mixing the soil and fertilizer 4 man days =1400
- Planting, simply dropping the grains into holes 2 man days = 700
- Herbicides application 0.5 man days = 175
- 2nd herbicide application =175
- 1st top dressing with C.A.N at knee height- 0.5 man days= 175
- 2nd top dressing at flowering =175
- Stooking or cutting the stalks 4 man days = 1400
- Dehusking 4 man days = 1400
- Shelling 60 bags @ 50 bob = 3000
- Weighing & arranging at 5 bob per bag = Ksh 250
Total Labour cost. Ksh 10,950
Input , land lease , storage and transport cost .
- DAP. 2 bags @ Ksh 3300 = 6600
- Seeds 12 kgs at 270 per kg = 3240
- C.A.N 1 bag @ 2200= 2200
- 17.17.17. 1 bag at 3100
- Herbicide Auxo 700mls @ 2700 per litre =1890
- Farm lease Ksh 10,000 per acre per year
- Storage one room for Ksh 2000 per month for 3 months in order to allow price to go up =2000 by 3 = Ksh 6000
- Transport to the store at Ksh 100 per bag = 6000
- Buying bags @ 30 bob = 1800
Total input cost = 40,830.
Total cost = Ksh 56,280 .
Add 5% insurance cover = Ksh 2814.
Total growing cost plus all other costs = Ksh 59,094
Farm planning and plan implementation.
Plot dimensions. Length =80m width = 50m
Plant spacing. Rows= 134 No of plants per row = 167.
Total plant population = 22378
Assume 85% germination.
Total plants = 19021.
Number of combs per stalk =1.5
Total combs = 28,531
No of combs per kg. 4.5
Total projected production in kg = 6,340kgs
No of 90kgs bags = 70
Round off to 60 bags per acre.
What are the key factors that one needs to focus on.
- Land preparation must be properly done and narrowed
- Plant spacing should never be assumed
- Feeding should not be reduced
- Germination must be assessed.
- The crop must be kept weed free
- Avoid loses during shelling
With adequate rains I don’t see any other reason that would deny the farmer a production of over 60 bags per acre if these steps are strictly adhered to followed.