Farmers urged to speed up wheat harvesting

Dr Makombe

Wheat farmers are encouraged to speed up wheat harvesting to ensure that the crop will not be affected by rains expected next week.

The Department of Agricultural Engineering, Mechanisation and Soil Conservation in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development said in a statement that all wheat farmers were being advised to expedite harvesting of their winter wheat crop by all means available .

‘’We call for farmers to expedite wheat harvesting in view of impending rains. Please get in touch with your cluster leadership to organise and schedule combine harvesters and grain drying services immediately to save the winter crop,’’ said the department. Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) president Dr Shadreck Makombe urged farmers to speed up wheat harvesting, adding that all systems were in place to ensure that farmers carried out the harvesting process smoothly.

‘’Farmers should be working 24 hours a day to ensure that they complete harvesting before November starts,” he said. “So far, we have a lot of time so farmers should talk to their contractors and self-financed farmers to liaise with the Grain Marketing Board so that they assist them in all the processes so that they will not take risks themselves. All systems are working smoothly so farmers should communicate with their contractors to ensure that they get assisted. Combine harvesters are on the ground so farmers should go to relevant authorities so that they quickly get assistance.’’

Dr Makombe recently warned wheat farmers to stick to the calendar to avoid compromising quality crop, adding that the affected crop may not be accepted for human consumption.

Zimbabwe National Farmers Union (ZNFU) president Mrs Monica Chinamasa indicated that farmers will not be able to complete harvesting before November because of high moisture content which was found in wheat because of the recent rains. ‘’Farmers can speed up harvesting but they do not have the resources to do so. Combine harvesters on the ground are very few and farmers cannot afford to pay. So the recent rains have also affected wheat harvesting so farmers waited for the moisture content to drop so that they indulge in the harvesting process. It was time consuming as well,’’ she said.

Zimbabwe is still on course to register a record wheat harvest with the early rains last week causing negligible damage.

Rain can damage wheat, but normally light and scattered rains while wetting wheat does little damage so long as there is a good dry weather straight after.

But wheat that cannot dry out, or wheat that is pushed down and it lies on the ground will be damaged and start rotting.

Herald

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