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» » » Butternuts: What you need to know about them



by Vengai Defu

Butternut farming is one of the ways a serious farmer can make a fortune relatively the easy way. Most of our supermarkets and green markets are selling high quality butternut seeds from various seed companies. However, this week we need to focus on butternut called WALTHAM PLUS produced by AVANOS.
Land preparation is very important for any crop and must be in accordance with type of crop to be planted. We can use our ox-drawn plough for small scale or tractor drawn plough to create farrows. These may be 10 to 15cm deep.  We dig some hole on the heaped soils and then plant our seeds. Soils with good water drainage are very much suitable because they allow free circulation of oxygen.
We should use a better spacing system to allow free movement when spraying chemicals.  Inter-row should be 120cm to 150cm and in-row 30cm to 50cm. This should give us a plant population of 9 000 to 10 000 per hectare. 2kg of seed is ideal for a hectare
We can use organic fertilizers such as cattle and chicken manure or well decomposed compost together with granular fertilizers. Make sure they are free from cutworms and other infectious diseases. Superfert compound C fertilizer is recommended when planting.  Use the ratio 500kg to 600kg per hectare. But if we use vegetable blend superfert fertilizer, the ratio is 450kg to 500kg. NOTE, the amount of fertilizer should be determined by our soil analysis.
After 2 to 3 weeks from planting day we apply superfert ammonium nitrate at a ratio of 150kg to 400kg. We may as well add 50kg to 100kg of muriate of potash after one month. Apply these fertilizers after every 15 days if need be. Make sure enough supply of water is done especially during planting, flowering and fruiting to have quality butternut.

PESTS
Fruit fly is mostly a big problem to butternuts, if let alone it reduces our yield and compromises the quality of the fruit. We must use malathion 50ec, dimethoate, kontakill or diazinon before and during flowering
Aphids may also affect our plants if not monitored.  They destroy the leaves of the plants, therefore affecting the growth of the butternut. Dimethoate and malathion can be used.
If affected by red spider, amitraz, red spiderkill, abamectin or mitac.


DISEASES
Early and late blight should be regularly checked and use mancozeb, dithan m45 copper oxychloride or bravo to prevent the disease. If affected, we should spray ridomil gold or bravo for curative purpose
Fruit rot may compromise our yield and the quality of the fruit. This may be caused by poor handling of the fruit or the fruit may be in contact with the soil. We recommend trellising of the plants especially before flowering and during fruiting.
We are supposed to spray our plants after 7 or 14 days depending on the prevalence of the disease and pests.
This Avanos Waltham plus butternut hybrid matures from 90 to 95 days. Yield per plant ranges from 8 to 10 fruits which may translate about 25tons to 35 tons per hectare. A kilogram of butternut costs between $2 and $2.50. This means for every tonne we get $2 000.00 to $2 500.00.
Let venture into butternut farming and can be planted year round in areas of very low frost.

For further information, contact me on +263-039 2264246 or +263 772 137 202 or +263 777 429 362 or sales team on +263 773 208 930

Compiled by
Vengai Defu Farm & City, 
Masvingo manager.

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TellZim News; Keeping it Real...Committed to Tell Zimbabwe. No 39/40 Hellet Street, Masvingo. Call us on +263 39 262 401 email us on: editor@tell.co.zw
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