I know this is what you have all been waiting for: the first year of yield data from our non-replicated, partially-stolen-from staple field! Well, here it is folks:
This yield was a direct measurement of maize and groundnuts harvested from the field. The maize was grown on approximately 0.25 ha and yielded 21 – 50kg bags of shelled maize. The groundnuts were grown on 0.35 ha and yielded 7 – 50 kg bags of shelled nuts. The maize should last us the year, but unfortunately we will still have to supplement our groundnut consumption.
While we collected the most reliable yield data from our maize and groundnuts, we planted a variety of other crops in the staple field. Our rotation in simplified terms is Maize-Groundnuts-Sweet Potato. In the maize field we also intercropped a large amount of cassava, pumpkin, moringa, pigeon pea and tephrosia, a green manure. In the groundnut field we intercropped pigeon pea and tephrosia. We do not have any yield data for the sweet potatoes because most of them went, unwillingly, to the local wild boar population. We will hopefully harvest cassava and pigeon pea in September. I say hopefully because the local kids have found our field and are already doing some of the harvesting for us, if you know what I mean.
Next year the maize will move down the hill to where the groundnuts were grown, the groundnuts will move to the sweet potato field and the sweet potatoes will move all the way up to where the maize was this year. Hopefully with the sweet potatoes at the top of the hill, where we have a night guard station, we will be more successful in scaring away those boars.
We will continue to collect yield data from these fields in the years to come and track trends and changes as they occur. Stay tuned.
Congratulations on your objectivity and wisdom to record YIELDS as an Institute and to REPORT ‘incidents’, for example ‘pests’ ( 2 legs + 4 legs).
My suggestion is that you also record:
1. daily rainfall (mm) and report as weekly rainfall received (mm) associated with each crop growth stage
2. irrigation water applied, for example cubic metres per 100 square metres on a weekly basis associated with each crop growth stage
My suggestion is to establish a ‘benchmark’ and REPORT:
1. kilograms grain harvest per mm natural rainfall per hectare
2. kilograms grain harvest per mm natural rainfall + cubic metres irrigation per hectare
Malawi and australia share the experiences of warm to hot climate zones for food production and ‘rainfall variability’ therefore yield per mm rainfall is a key benchmark and indicator and ‘planning tool’ for area to plant.
Laughing ……. maybe think about how to ‘engage’ beneficial help from your local 2 legged and 4 legged ‘pests’ …. for example ….. a ‘community garden’ for the children for fresh green food + a small share of the seed yield to start growing their own crops with your guidance; and a ‘sacrifice’ crop for the pigs in an area to be ‘cultivated’ for next crop…….
How can I best support you?
LovenLightnBlessings to, from
MotherEarth Illumined TwinFlames & Assoc. (on Facebook and Skype)