Brassica (cabbage) management

Dear farmer,

We would like to bring to your attention that the prime season for cultivating your cabbages (brassica) has arrived. During February, the weather conditions are typically favorable, creating an ideal environment for cabbage growth. Additionally, with access to irrigation, you can expect optimal conditions for your cabbages, both for their development and for the market. By choosing to farm cabbages now, you can be assured of a satisfactory Return On Investment (ROI) since the cabbage supply will not be excessive during the market period in April/May.

Engaging in brassica farming presents a lucrative opportunity in the agribusiness sector. However, it is important to acknowledge the various challenges that may arise and plan ahead to overcome or minimize their impact. At Greenlife Crop Protection Africa, we are here to support you in addressing these challenges. With our extensive experience in the field, we possess valuable knowledge about the environment, crop trends, and other factors that can affect cabbage cultivation. We are dedicated to providing practical solutions to help you overcome these obstacles and ensure successful cabbage farming.

Important Considerations:

  1. Seed Selection: Choosing the right seed variety is crucial for successful cabbage cultivation. Hybrid seeds are highly recommended. It is advisable to conduct market research among experienced farmers and Agro Dealers to identify the cabbage variety that performs well in your specific locality.
  2. Nursery/Seed Bed Management: Managing the nursery or seed bed requires attention to disease, pest, and nutrition aspects. Since hybrid seeds can be expensive, it is important to be cautious of potential seed losses, which can reach up to 70%, due to hidden factors affecting germination. Greenlife offers an effective solution called PLO (Loyalty, Pyramid, and Optimizer). By using a combination of Pyramid 700WP/Ransom 600WP, Loyalty 700 WDG, and Optimizer, you can address these challenges. These products are applied to the nursery bed after sowing and then covered with grass or gunny bags.
  3. Weed Management: Soil usually contains a substantial seed bank of various weeds, including grass and broadleaf weeds. These weeds can pose a significant competition to your cabbage plants after transplantation. To combat this issue, it is recommended to use a non-selective herbicide such as Clampdown/Catapult 480SL at a rate of 200-300ml per 20L of water. Ensure the water used is clean, spray when the dew on the weeds has subsided, and incorporate Integra as a sticker and wetter to enhance efficacy. It is best to spray when the weeds are actively growing to effectively eliminate them. Plough the land approximately 3-7 days after spraying.

Crop Nutrition:

One of the key challenges in crop nutrition arises from poor soil conditions, which can result in stunted crop growth and low yields. Even when basal fertilizers like D.A.P. (Di-Ammonium Phosphate) are applied, a significant portion of the nutrients may become fixed in the soil, rendering them unavailable to the crops. As a farmer, you have the ability to address nutrient unavailability right from the start by incorporating planting fertilizers mixed with soil conditioners, such as HUMIPOWER.

HUMIPOWER is a product that contains Humic acids, which play a vital role in unlocking essential nutrients, particularly Phosphorus, that are crucial for root development and improved water and nutrient uptake. By using HUMIPOWER granules, you can mix them with your planting fertilizer at a recommended ratio of 1-2 Kg per 50 Kg of fertilizer. This ensures that the nutrients are readily available to the crops, promoting optimal growth and development.

Pest Challenges:

Managing pests is a critical aspect of brassica crop management, as new pests continue to emerge, necessitating changes in management and control strategies. An example of a current challenge is the presence of thrips and leaf miners, which have caused significant losses for farmers across the country. At Greenlife, we offer an effective solution to combat this challenge.

For the early stages of crop development, we recommend using a combination of products to address the pest issue. Alternate the application of Escort 19EC at a rate of 10ml, Kingcode elite at a rate of 10ml, and Pentagon at a rate of 10ml. These products not only help manage pests like thrips and leaf miners but also prove useful in controlling other pests such as the diamond back moth (DBM). Employing a rotation of these products is crucial for effective pest management and minimizing the development of resistance to the chemicals.

By implementing these strategies, you can effectively address pest challenges and protect your brassica crops, ensuring optimal growth and minimizing yield losses.

Management of Brassica Diseases:

Even though irrigation is being carried out and the temperatures near the ground level are relatively low, it is important not to overlook disease management during the warm weather of February. Additionally, the nights during this month can become quite cold. Various diseases, including Leaf Spots, Powdery Mildew, and blight, can be encountered. To combat these diseases, it is recommended to alternate the use of chariot and Ransom 600WP. Furthermore, bacterial diseases such as Bacterial Specs can be controlled effectively by employing Copper-based fungicides like Greencop 500WP. By implementing these measures, you can effectively eliminate and manage the occurrence of diseases, ensuring the health and productivity of your brassica crops.

Black rot, also known as Bacterial leaf spot, Black spot, or Bacterial rot, is a significant disease that can persist in decomposing plant material for up to two years. These disease-causing agents remain in the soil and can affect brassica plants when they are planted. Being a bacterial disease, it cannot be cured, but prevention and management are crucial. Cultural methods such as using certified seeds, practicing crop rotation, and maintaining field hygiene are employed to control its spread.

To minimize the chances of infection, it is recommended to drench the planting holes with a combination of Copper fungicides (such as Greencop) and Carbendazim (such as Chariot). This treatment helps eliminate disease development in the vicinity of the plants.

For foliage spray, it is advised to alternate the use of Green copper (Greencop) and a potent fungicide. An effective option could be a combination of Azoxystrobin, Defenoconazole, and Hexaconazole (e.g., Absolute). This combination of active molecules has been proven to impede bacterial development while also eliminating fungal infections.

By implementing these measures, you can minimize the occurrence and spread of black rot in cabbages, ensuring healthier plants and better overall crop yield.

Strengthening Plant Immunity and Crop Stress Management:

It is crucial to enhance the plant’s immune system as it plays a vital role in fighting diseases and maintaining them at manageable levels, below the economic injury threshold. To achieve this, utilizing natural plant defense mechanisms is essential. One approach is to use a biostimulant such as Optimizer, which can help strengthen plant immunity. Additionally, providing micronutrient foliar feeds like Lavender Total can further support the plant’s defense mechanisms.

Crop stress management is crucial for optimizing cabbage production since it is a nutrient-demanding crop. Given the hot weather conditions in February, stress levels in the crop are elevated, and the plant may expend significant energy in repairing tissue injuries. To address this challenge, the use of growth promoters and biostimulants like Optimizer can assist the plant in mitigating stress.

As the crop progresses from the seedling stage to the vegetative stage and finally to heading, it is important to manage nutrition accordingly. Lavender Super Starter, Lavender Super Growth, Lavender Super Flowers, and Fruits are tailored products designed to address the nutritional needs of the plant at each respective growth stage.

During the heading stage, it is important to monitor and control end rot, which can be achieved by utilizing Ferrari Gold.

Make sure to stay updated with our upcoming newsletter, which will provide more valuable information on how to maximize profits in growing brassicas. Our commitment is to offer African farmers support in expanding their knowledge, accessing markets, and building their capital base. We have a wealth of resources available, and you can trust that we will be there with you every step of the way.

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