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Farm Radio Weekly is a news and information service for rural radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is published by Farm Radio International.

Farm Radio Weekly

Notes to broadcasters: Row planting

Seeding in rows allows individual plants more space to grow, reduces competition for water and nutrients, and makes weeding and harvesting easier. The enhanced airflow in the field reduces fungal disease and the resulting losses of yield.

The TECA webpage (Technologies and practices for small agricultural producers) − part of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization website – has information about planting in rows, including some advantages and disadvantages. “Labour saving technologies and practices: Row planting, hand seeders and planters” is available at: http://teca.fao.org/read/7301. There are also links to other techniques, including conservation agriculture, integrated pest management and improved uses of hand tools. You can download a PDF file by visiting this address: http://teca.fao.org/sites/default/files/technology_files/Row%20planting%2C%20hand%20seeders%20and%20planters.pdf

One advantage of planting in rows is that intercropping, where two or more different crops are planted together, is more easily managed. For more information on intercropping, visit: http://www.allindiary.org/pool/resources/intercropping.pdf, or read FRW’s Notes to broadcasters on intercropping at: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2011/01/31/notes-to-broadcasters-on-intercropping-as-a-supplement-to-fertilizer/ (issue #143, January 2011).

Planting in rows is a simple technique which, after the initial hard work of planting, makes life easier for farmers. Do farmers in your area plant their crops in rows? Which crops do they find easiest to plant in rows? Do they practice intercropping? If they are still using the broadcast method, why do they prefer it?

Visit farmers in their fields and interview them about their preferred practices. Invite an agricultural extension worker to your farming program to discuss with farmers, either in the studio or by telephone and SMS, the best methods of planting different crops. Everyone will have an opinion, which makes for entertaining listening.

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