Cultural practices of yam. Yam is a mono cotyledonous plant in the genus Dioscorea. It is a multi-species tuber crop cultivated in Africa, Asia and parts of South America. Yam is an important crop in South and Southwestern parts of Nigeria. Many species of Dioscorea genus are economically important crops and many of them have been used in the pharmaceutical industry. Yam is propagated from seed which is the tubers or sections of tuber and corms. Seed tubers or Yam sett are expensive and heavy to transport and the multiplication rate in the field is very low when cultivated on an infertile land.
Shortage of seed tubers for planting is one of the major constraints for yam production in Africa but very surplus in Nigeria. To overcome such problems and to increase production, different propagation methods have been implemented for many Dioscorea species. Convectional and as cultural practices of yam, propagation of Dioscorea species paved the way to meet the demand of this economically important plant. The protocols are designed to provide the optimal levels of mineral nutrients, environmental factors, vitamins and carbohydrates to achieve the high regeneration rate of the different species of Dioscorea in vitro. This review summarizes some of the important reports on different propagation technique of Dioscorea from the literature data.
Cultural practices of yam
Here are a list of cultural practices that can be carried out during yam propagation.
Yam is a staple crop grown in many parts of the world, and successful yam production requires proper cultural practices, including:
Land preparation: The field should be cleared of weeds, plowed and harrowed to provide a smooth seedbed for planting.
Seed selection: High-quality, disease-free yam tubers should be selected for planting.
Planting: Yam tubers can be planted directly in the field or in nurseries for later transplanting. They should be planted at a depth of about 8 to 10 cm.
Irrigation: Yam requires adequate moisture for growth and tuber development. Irrigation may be necessary during dry periods.
Fertilization: Yam plants require nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for growth and tuber development. Fertilizers should be applied according to soil test results and crop needs.
Weeding: Regular weeding is necessary to remove competing weeds and ensure that the yam plants receive sufficient light and nutrients.
Harvesting: Yam is typically harvested 10 to 12 months after planting. Care should be taken to avoid damaging the tubers during harvest and storage.
Storage: Yam tubers should be properly cured and stored in cool, dry conditions to extend their shelf life and prevent spoilage.
By following these cultural practices, yam farmers can improve crop yields and reduce the risk of disease and pest problems.
Mulching as a cultural practices of yam propagation:
This is the covering of the heaps or ridges with dry leaves to reduce soil temperature, conserve soil moisture and prevent rotting of yam setts.
Regular weeding is one of the cultural practices of yam cultivation: This should be done regularly to control pest and reduce weed competition with crops for nutrients.
To weed a yam farm, follow these steps:
Identify the type of weeds: Different weeds require different methods of removal.
Choose an appropriate method: Some common methods include hand weeding, mulching, hoeing, and using herbicides.
Hand weeding: This method involves removing weeds manually by pulling them out of the soil.
Mulching: Covering the soil with a layer of organic material such as leaves or straw can help prevent weed growth by reducing sunlight.
Hoeing: Hoeing involves using a tool to cut off weeds at the base, disrupting their ability to photosynthesize and causing them to die.
Herbicides: Herbicides are chemical substances used to kill weeds. Choose an appropriate herbicide and follow the instructions carefully to ensure it is used safely and effectively.
Monitor and repeat: Regular monitoring of the farm is important to ensure that weeds do not return. Repeat the process as necessary to keep the farm weed-free.
Application of fertilizer as a cultural practice in yam propagation:
Apply 200kg (four bags) of N.P.K. fertilizer per hectare three months after planting, by ring method.
Fertilizer application in yam farming involves adding nutrients to the soil to enhance growth and yield of the yam plants.
Some common fertilizer types used in yam farming include:
- Nitrogen (N) fertilizer, to promote leaf growth
- Phosphorus (P) fertilizer, to support root development
- Potassium (K) fertilizer, to improve overall plant health
The amount and frequency of fertilizer application depend on several factors such as soil type, plant variety, and stage of growth. It is recommended to conduct soil tests to determine the specific nutrient deficiencies and apply fertilizers accordingly.
Additionally, it’s important to follow good agricultural practices to avoid over-fertilization, which can lead to soil and water pollution. It’s recommended to alternate fertilizer application with organic matter, such as compost or farmyard manure, to provide a balanced supply of nutrients and maintain soil health.
Staking as a cultural practice in yam propagation of yam:
The yam should be staked with strong sticks or bamboo. It ensures adequate exposure of the leaf surface to sunlight and increases yield.
Training of vine through staking as a cultural practice in yam propagation:
This is done regularly after staking to ensure even spreading and neatness of the vines to receive sunlight.
Maturity period of yam after planting
Yam matures in 8-12 months after planting. Harvesting process of yam. one aspect of the cultural practice of yam is to Dig the soil gently with cutlass to remove tuber from the soil. Processing: Yam tubers are processed into yam powder or flour or consumed locally. Storage: Yam tubers are stored in barns. It can also be stored in form of yam flour and in dried peeled yam tubers.
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Yam can be affected by several diseases, including:
- Fusarium wilt: A fungal disease that causes wilting, yellowing and death of yam plants.
- Black rot: A fungal disease that causes black rot on yam tubers, making them unmarketable.
- Yam mosaic virus: A viral disease that causes yellowing, mottling and stunting of yam leaves and reduced tuber yields.
- Bacterial wilt: A bacterial disease that causes rapid wilting and death of yam plants.
- Storage rot: A fungal disease that affects yam tubers during storage, causing them to rot and become inedible.
These diseases can be controlled through the use of disease-resistant yam varieties, proper crop management practices, and appropriate storage methods.