275 combine harvesters for winter crop

17 Sep, 2023 - 00:09 0 Views
275 combine harvesters for winter crop

The Sunday Mail

Theseus Shambare

TWO-HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE combine harvesters have been mobilised for harvesting of this year’s winter wheat, amid indications that the bulk of the crop has been classified as premium grade.

Wheat harvesting commenced on Wednesday last week, when the programme was officially launched at ARDA Jotsholo in Matabeleland North.

Department of Agricultural Engineering, Mechanisation and Soil Conservation chief director Engineer Edwin Zimunga said wheat farmers in all districts have been grouped into clusters, while combine harvesters will be assigned proportionally to each cluster depending on the available hectarage.

“As we speak, we have 111 clusters countrywide, where we distributed a total of 275 massive combine harvesters of the GS12 model, which are capable of harvesting 40ha per day,” he said.

“Wheat harvesting commenced when we officially launched it at ARDA Jotsholo, Matabeleland North, on September 13.

“Here, we harvested only 10ha, then we moved to ARDA Antelope, Matabeleland South, where we harvested 50ha . . . in total, we have harvested more than 500ha to date.”At Biri Dam in Mashonaland East, he said, 280ha were harvested on Friday.

“The good news is that after the harvest, the Jotsholo GMB (Grain Marketing Board) manager instantly confirmed that the wheat was of premium grade.

“This is really sweet news to every Zimbabwean ear as it points out that all our efforts were not in vain, as we start the journey to another bumper harvest in succession.”

On average, Eng Zimunga said, farmers were reaping seven tonnes per hectare at Jotsholo, up from last year’s average of 4,8 tonnes per ha.

Meanwhile, agricultural authorities successfully managed to contain the threat of quelea birds this season through the use of high-tech drones to destroy the nesting sites. So far this season, only nine reports of quelea bird sightings were reported to the authorities.

The Department of Migratory Pests and Biosecurity Control has destroyed more than 35 quelea birds roosting sites using nine high-tech AGRAS T40 drones.

More than 90 000ha were put under wheat this season, with total production expected to reach a record 420 000 tonnes, up from 375 000 tonnes realised last season.

X: @TheseusShambare


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