I would like to know how to maintain the maize crop free of weed using herbicides without any need for manual weeding? Abooki Annet Kabasindi

Dear Annet
Maize plays a prominent role in livestock nutrition as it is the best energy source for livestock. The need to cultivate maize is very relevant as it is known to be a staple crop. However, some factors impede its cultivation.

After successful pre-planting operations; which involve proper land preparation method, procurement of high yielding seeds and planting, a farmer expects optimum yield from his farm.

From a hectare of land, if all agronomic practices are done judiciously, a farmer should get at least six tonnes of maize after harvesting.

This is quite laudable; but maize farmers face lots of problems, mainly pest. Weed is one of the pests that reduce the yield of a maize farm. Weeds are unwanted crops that grow sporadically with the sown crop.

They are always hard and difficult to control; most times, farmers often use pre-emergence herbicide after planting to keep the weeds at bay for about three months. Effective weed management practice must be adopted to sure the maize farm yield optimally. Manual weeding is undoubtedly the best form of weed control; however, the high cost of manual weeding has discouraged its usage on large maize farms, thus, chemical control is the best substitute.

Answered by Abdul Agaba an agronomist at just agriculture

How can I tell a good laying bird? Moses Lutaya

Dear Moses
The aim of every business is increased productivity. In egg production, a good laying bird is a major factor in the success of the business, provided other resources surrounding the business are well managed and in good condition.

The success of a poultry business, especially egg production, depends on many factors; but the prominent factor is the bird itself. The type of birds reared should be the ones with good production potential.

Before choosing any bird, it is imperative you study the bird decisively to ensure it suits and meets the production requirements.
At times, an unproductive laying bird is very difficult to identify but with further scientific research, some features have been noticed and recommended for farmers. Such features should be traced and present in the birds. They are:

A bright red comb and wattle
The comb and wattle are the superficial parts of the laying birds. These two parts indicate the health status of poultry birds. Before any disease condition manifests, the clinical signs are first noticed on the comb and wattle. A good laying bird has a bright red comb and wattle; this shows that the bird is in good condition and can produce optimally. A laying bird with pale or dark comb and wattle is not in good condition; such birds have poor production potential. When buying your point of lay birds, opt for birds with bright red comb and wattle.

Alert eyes
One of the important parts of a laying bird is the eye. The eyes of a good laying bird are always alert and not depressed. Laying birds with weepy and dull eye are not good for egg production; they are sick birds that require medical attention.

The width
The pelvic bone is the bone around the cloaca, place your fingers around this area to measure it. If it accommodates more than two fingers; the bird is a good laying bird, but if it accommodates just two fingers, the bird is not. Try to check this out before purchasing the birds.

Bleached beak
This is another feature you should look out for in your laying birds. The beaks and claws should be bleached; they are pale and lightened. This should as well be considered and observed in any earmarked laying birds.

Answered by Abdul Agaba an agronomist at just agriculture