*Farmers advised against planting*
Agriculture experts have cautioned farmers against planting with the current rains, but to take advantage of the wet conditions to speed up land preparation as they wait for the onset of the rainy season.
“We do not encourage farmers to plant with these rains. Normally, the rains that come early October are not planting rains.
She said the onset of rainfall differed from area to area and with the help of extension officers, farmers would be able to tell the onset of rains in their particular areas.
Agriseeds sales and marketing manager, Mr Ivan Craig said the current rains were beneficial to pastures that had deteriorated due to the dry conditions.
“Rains will also help wheat which was still at irrigation stage but if it is less than 22 mm, these rains will not substitute the normal irrigation cycle,” he said.
Rains would soften the ground and enable farmers who failed to carry out winter ploughing to be in a position to carry out land preparation.
“Maize requires 22 millimetres and above to germinate and 30mm to 35mm for soya beans. Not much rains have fallen and the chances of experiencing long periods of dry spell are quite high. The crop may germinate now but can be affected by the dry spell,” he said.
Meanwhile,widespread afternoon and evening thunderstorms accompanied by strong winds, hail and lightning with some localised heavy downpours were expected yesterday in Matabeleland, Midlands and areas along and to the south of the main watershed.
“Thunderstorms that occur now are violent. It is therefore important for the public not to expose themselves unnecessarily to the dangers associated with these violent thunderstorms.
“Current high temperatures and abundant moisture are also conducive to the continuation of these thunderstorms, at least up to Thursday 8 October after which there should be a reduction in rainfall activity countrywide,” said the Met Office
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