Spacing between rows and crops is one of the tricks profit-oriented farmer plot to increase their crop yield and also reduce the cost of production; technically, I can say spacing helps to achieve optimum utilization of the land. The importance of using the right spacing for crops is as crucial as using vigorous planting material.
In this article, you would learn the most efficient spacing requirements for crops like vegetables, maize, plantain, cashew, yam, cassava, and other common crops. In addition, I would indicate the plant population of the crops per hectare using the specified spacing. Read on!
What is spacing?
Spacing is not just the space between your crops, it is the adequate feeding area or the most convenient area required by a particular plant to thrive and develop well. When crops are not properly spaced, they tend to compete for growth enhancement parameters like water, nutrient, and air.
This competition is not good enough as it reduces the growth potential of the sown crops, in terms of both quality and quantity. This is why you see some crops control good market price while others are sold off out of pity; plants have to be properly spaced to achieve reasonable yield.
I almost forgot.
It is important I discuss the two types of spacing. There are two types of spacing used in crop cultivation. They are:
- Inter spacing
- Intra spacing
These two types of spacing are not the same qualitatively and quantitatively; qualitatively in meaning and quantitatively in figures. Inter spacing is the space between two rows while intra spacing is the space within a row. Is it confusing?
Let me shed more lights
Before planting, I presume you have designed your farm layout, as it is part of the preplanting operations in farming.
On your farm layout, you have a row or line and you have named the row or line; on each line you have crops. Isn’t it? Yes!.
The space between the first line and the second line is your INTER SPACING. The space between the crops on each line is your INTRA SPACING. I hope it is clear now.
Lastly on the type of spacing, how do you know the inter spacing and intra spacing figure? It is simple, the first figure is the inter spacing and the second figure is the intra spacing. An example is if we have a spacing of 75cm by 25cm for maize, 75cm is the inter spacing while 25cm is the intra spacing.
Spacing Requirement Of Crops
There are lots of crop in the world but have decided to discuss the spacing requirement these 10 crops because they are widely grown.
Vegetables are part of those crops that are widely grown; I call them cash-flow crops because of their quick turn over. The spacing requirement for vegetables is influenced by the method of planting you adopt.
Most leafy vegetables like Amaranthus, Celosis (soko), Corchorus (Ewedu), Lettuce and others are usually planted using broadcasting method on beds.
However, if you use the drilling method of planting vegetables, you need to space the plant. In the case of vegetables, the intra spacing is not applicable here because the seeds are small-sized and they are evenly distributed on the line or channel made; you only make use of the inter-row spacing. The spacing requirement for vegetables is 0.3 meters, either on the bed or on flat.
Maize is one of the most cultivated crops globally. The yield of maize crop can be amplified by the spacing adopted. The spacing of maize varies with the number of the seeds sown; by standard, two (2) seeds of maize are planted per hole. You may decide to plant just one seed or even three (3) seeds, depending on the viability and germination rate of the seeds.
The standard spacing requirement for maize is 75cm by 25cm, this is spacing is used when you plant one maize seed per hole. When you plant two seeds per hole, the inter spacing remains unchanged but the intra spacing is doubled, making 75cm by 50cm. either of the two spacing used, you would get 53,333 maize stands per hectare.
Plantain and Banana
The standard spacing used for plantain and banana is 3m by 3m; although some farmers now use 3m by 2m. I do not recommend the latter, use 3m by 3m spacing for plantain and banana to get better yield. You would get 1111 plantain or banana stands on one hectare.
Cassava is also one of the widely cultivated and utilized crops in the world. The standard spacing for cassava is 1m by 1m but recently, farmers have started using 1m by 0.75m. This new cassava spacing seems to be productive in areas have experienced it and I think it is good enough to increase yield and income. On one hectare, you will have 13,333 stands of cassava using a spacing of 1m by 0.75m as against 10,000 you would have gotten using a spacing of 1m by 1m.
Yam is one of the crops with high economic importance. The spacing for yam is 1m by 1m; it should be less or more than this if you want to utilize your land optimally. You get a population of 10,000 heaps of yam on one hectare.
The spacing requirement for tomato also varies with the type of tomato planted. The common spacing for tomato is 1m by 0.5m. Considering the growth habit of the determinate and indeterminate tomato, the spacing is further modified. The spacing of the determinate tomato is 1m by 0.5m; while the spacing of the indeterminate tomato is 0.75m by 0.5m. On one hectare of the determinate tomato, you get 20,000 stands of tomatoes while for the indeterminate breed, you get 26,666 tomato plants per hectare.
Use a spacing of 1m by 0.35m for pepper, you can as well use 1m by 0.5m. They are both good spacing for pepper. Using a spacing of 1mm by 0.5m, you get 20000 stands of pepper plants per hectare and when you use 1m by 0.35m, you get 28,571 stands of pepper per hectare.
The spacing of rice varies with the type of land used for the cultivation. Rice is usually planted on low land and upland at a seed rate of two seeds per hole. The spacing of rice on lowland is 20cm by 20cm, while the spacing for upland rice is 30cm by 30cm. On lowland, you get a plant population of 500,000 rice stands per hectare. However, for upland rice, you have 222,222 stands per hectare.
The recommended spacing for cucumber is 50cm by 40cm at a rate of 2 seeds per hole, if planted directly on the soil, you get 100,000 stands of cucumber on one hectare.
Watermelon is one of those crops that requires space to perform well. Some farmers use 1m by 1.5m spacing for planting watermelon, this is good enough. Personally, I used 1m by 1m and the performance was not bad; hence, to better utilize your land, use a spacing of 1m by 1m to plant your watermelon. Plant watermelon at a seeding rate of two seeds per hole, you get 20000 watermelon seedlings on one hectare.
The standard spacing for soybean is 50cm by 50cm. Some farmers use 20cm by 20xm; this is quite too close. Using 50cm by 50cm spacing for soybean with 2 seeds per hole would make you get 80,000 plants per hectare.
Benefits Of Using Good Spacing For Crops
When you utilize good spacing requirements, you enjoy the following benefits:
- Increase in number of plant population
- Natural way of controlling weeds, thereby, reducing the cost of production.
- Diseases and infections are better managed with a good spacing of crops.
- Agronomic practices are easily carried out on crops.
- Good farm layout is maintained.
- Spacing helps to control insect pest.
Apart from planting improved or high yielding planting material, adequate water and nutrient, crop spacing plays a remarkable role in achieving the good yield, in terms of quality and quantity.
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