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August 19, 2007

Zimbabwean seed company releases new wheat varieties

Leading Zimbabwean seed supplier Seed Co has released three new niche wheat varieties, which will give farmers high yields.

Sales and agronomy manager Mr. Ben Nyakanda said the new varieties were in addition to the six it was already marketing.

Some new farmers are still to establish themselves as wheat producers and in most cases they were forced to plant late because of tillage, finance and input problems.
"Introduction of these three adaptive varieties would address the challenges faced by new wheat farmers," Nyakanda said.

Two of the varieties, SC Shorty and SC Non-Sprout, would be ideal for new producers of wheat because they could be planted late in winter (May-August). "Farmers would be forced to harvest the crop late in November, when the rains have started, and this leads to wheat sprouting while it is still in the fields, and the resulting crop is downgraded and fetches a lower price or is rejected altogether," Nyakanda said.

"SC Shorty would offer the farmer a decent yield even when planted late in mid-June but, more importantly, affords the late planting farmer to harvest his wheat crop on time before the onset of the summer rains," he said. It gives slightly higher yields of up to 160 kilogrammes per hectare.

SC Non-Sprout possesses extraordinarily good non-sprout characteristics if it receives early summer rains.

The baking industry has traditionally been forced to import a significant portion of its wheat requirements from outside the country to meet its grist needs. "Gristing wheat provides the elasticity and dough strength which is required to produce a stable dough when mixed with flour from the other varieties. This slot will be filled by a new gristing wheat variety, SC Sekuru," said Nyakanda.

The Herald

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