Along with my site, I was also assigned the primary project of doing a demonstration plot. To do this I was linked up with an internationally funded agriculture project. For Macondo specifically, maize is to be our focus. I am only bringing this up now because although my primary project, it can only be done during the rainy season, which has only started in the last month (thankfully). And preparation to this demonstration has been quite hectic. It is such a large project, targeting large parts of Ghana and staff is small. Field agents really are in the field most of the week and cover large sections. The hope is for PCVs that are linked to be resources to ensure these demonstration plots succeed. Mainly because we are in the community and can therefore maintain the demonstration plot and follow the assigned protocol down to the decimal point.
We finally planted last week!
It is a small demonstration plot, only 40m x 25m and it fits both the test and control plot. We are testing PANNAR53, a white maize with the potential for 6 – 10 tons / hectare. We planted 25cm apart with 75cm between rows and only one seed per hole. This should give us about 2,660 plants. This portion is only 1/8th of an acre and should yield anywhere between 270 – 450 kg (595 – 990lbs). We also applied fertilizer, burying about a capful of NPK (23/10/5) +3S+2MgO+.3Zn a few centimeters away but next to each seed.
The control plot is saved seed of a local variety (also white), from the previous year with yields of about 10 bags per acre, each bag weighing about 100kg. At also 1/8th of an acre, the demo should yield 1.25 bags, meaning around 125kg. The farmers are supposed to plant how they normally do. Spacing looked to be about similar however they only eyeballed; no actual measurements were used. Also, they sowed two seeds per hole. No fertilizer is applied at this time. The first application coming at two weeks after planting. It is also NPK but at 15/15/15.
I would have liked to have had a cover crop planted in the pre-season and planted another one alongside the corn. I would also have liked to do triangle spacing. However, I have to follow a protocol. At least I am trying both these practices in my permagarden. I have also encouraged my counterpart to at least do the triangle spacing in his personal field.
Watch this space! Just as I will be watching this demo. I hope both fields give aMAIZEing yields.