Embrace float system: TRB

The Tobacco Research Board has told tobacco farmers to consider the Greenhouse Float System to produce high quality tobacco seedlings for planting.

Tobacco seedlings grown under the float system are more resistant to disease.
Tobacco seedlings grown under the float system are more resistant to disease.

A tobacco expert from the TRB told farmers at the just-ended Harare Agricultural Show, that the GFS uses less space than the traditional seedbed system.

“When using the traditional seedbed, a farmer requires 100 square meters to cultivate and produce seedlings for one hectare while the float system only needs 72 trays to produce uniform seedlings for the same hectare,” said the officer.

A single float tray has 242 cells in which grow-mix from pine bark granules, water and treated seeds are put for germination.

“Unlike the conversional system which requires watering three times a day and the use of chemicals, the float system can go for weeks without watering and does not require pesticides.

“The float system makes seedlings robust due to clipping severity, reduction in disease pressure, salt injury and limits production costs and environment threats,” added the officer.

The officer said after 42 days of laying seeds, the seedlings are introduced to artificial harsh conditions for further hardening.

“From day 43 we withdraw nutrients, just add water to the floats and cut some leaves. In the event of a disease attack recommended pesticides are used but that is very unlikely,” said the officer.

Over 80 percent of the tobacco producers in Zimbabwe are smallholders and beneficiaries of the government’s controversial land reform programme.

A farmer requires at least $300 to have a full kit of the float system to produce seedlings for a hectare.

“If well managed, the float system kit can last for over four farming seasons,” said the research officer.

Post published in: Agriculture
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