Comparative performance of direct seeding and transplanting green maize under farmer management in small scale irrigation: A case study of Zanyokwe, Eastern Cape, South Africa
African Journal of Agricultural Research
Department of Agronomy, University of Fort Hare, Private Bag X1314, Alice 5700, South Africa
An on-farm experiment was conducted at Zanyokwe irrigation scheme (ZIS) in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa (SA) to evaluate comparative performance of direct seeded and transplanted green maize under farmer management. Results indicated that the mean labour requirements for establishment were 212 h ha-1 with transplanting and 1.9 h ha-1 with direct seeding. Crop stand significantly increased from 48 to 97% when maize was transplanted rather than directly seeded. Variable costs were R5 462 and R1 896 ha-1 for transplanted and directly seeded maize, respectively. The corresponding net benefits were R15 005 and R6 232 ha-1, respectively. All farmers were in favour of transplanting, citing bigger cobs, early maturity and the absence of bird damage with transplanted maize, and this was supported by results of statistical analysis. A follow-up survey conducted during the subsequent summer growing season indicated that of the six farmers, only one continued with transplanting. The results suggest that although transplanting might be a better alternative to direct seeding for the study area, the technology is unlikely to succeed unless the labour intensiveness of manual transplanting can be solved. © 2010 Academic Journals.