Manure preparation and application
Bananas can produce good yields if well fed and managed. Feeding of the bananas can be done in different ways including the use of organic manure obtained from animal waste and crop residues and also with use of inorganic fertilizers. Farmers should be able to understand the manure quality, quantity and placement required to supply effective nutrient rates in a plantation.
Supplementing inorganic fertilisers with organic inputs such as external mulch and recycling banana residues helps build soil organic matter. Fertilization is necessary to supplement the naturally occurring minerals of the soil and ensure a maximum supply of nutrients to the plants.
Examples of manure:
Manure is derived from animal and plant matter. It includes; animal wastes, peat, slurry and others. However, the commonest is farm yard manure from cattle, piggery goat etc.
Proper handling of Manure:
- Collect manure when it is still fresh and keep it under shade, protected from direct sunshine and running water. The helps to retain the nutrients.
- Allow the manure to decompose until it is no longer hot and its smells like ‘soil’.
- Manure can be applied at planting, at rehabilitation of an abandoned.
- Farmers with livestock are advised to keep the animals in an enclosure (zero grazing) to enable collection of urine and dung.
The primary nutrients required are Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). Inorganic fertilisers contain one or more of these nutrients. For most areas in Uganda the fertilizer application rate is approximately, 100Kg of Nitrogen, 25kg of Phosphorus, 100kg of potassium and 15kg of Magnesium per hectare per year.
When applying fertilizers to the plant, remove trash and make a ring about 30cm (lft) away from the stool. Sprinkle and spread the measured amount of fertilizer in the ring. Cover the fertilizer with soil but do not work it (dig it) in the soil, because you may cause damage to the superficial roots of the banana plant.
Spreading the fertilizers like a blanket encourages the roots of the plants to travel, rather than restricting them to one area, and evens out the distribution of nutrients.
If fertilizers are only applied to the soil directly around each plant, plenty of suckers will emerge, but the roots of the mother plants won’t be encouraged to grow and spread. Healthy root growth is essential for healthy plant growth. Well-fertilized plants are able to obtain plenty of moisture and nutrients, and will produce better yields.
Application of manure and inorganic fertilizer
- Mix all the top soil with 2 basins (18 kg) of well decomposed manure and pour in the hole (to about half-full) to allow for water retention.
- Ignore the sub soil because it is compact and does not contain nutrients. Dig around the hole to get more top soil if the top soil is not enough. Apply 18 kg (approximately two basins) per mat.
- This should be mixed with top soil and placed inside the hole. NB: Inorganic fertilizers are not applied to banana at planting.
Application and maintenance:
- The quantity depends on the status of the mats and the fertiliser combinations.
- If a mat has one family of mother daughter and granddaughter, apply 2 basins of manure per every year.
- Or apply one basin per mat per year together with 95 g of MOP at Manure can be applied at planting, at rehabilitation of an abandoned.