Locadia Mavhudzi, Midlands Bureau
LEADING seed house, Seed Co has unveiled new ultra early maturing hybrid maize seed varieties this year in a bid to boost yields in dry regions.
The new varieties SC 301 and SC 303 will mature in 86 to 110 days and are suitable for natural regions four and five.
Seed Co head of agronomy, Mr John Bhasera, told Business Chronicle that the concept of ultra-early maturing hybrids was meant to adapt to the effects of climate change.
“We have introduced new ultra early maturing hybrids particularly suitable for low lying areas, which are characterised by low rainfall and high temperatures. The SC 301 and SC 303 are new blockbusters and have a yield potential of seven to 10 tonnes per hectare under good management” he said.
Mr Bhasera said the traditional early maturing hybrids remain on the market although farmers were encouraged to embrace the new “ultra-early” hybrid.
He highlighted that these new varieties would endure during the long dry spells and have a high disease tolerance.
“We urge farmers in low lying areas to consider these varieties because they are highly adaptable to the changing climate. Seasons are becoming shorter and rainfall distribution is erratic,” he said.
“We also have SC 419 among the new varieties, which have potential to give above 12 tonnes per hectare under good management. This variety is also drought tolerant, disease tolerant and has excellent cobbing ability giving long fat cobs with a high shelling out percentage”.
Mr Bhasera said the new variety was recommended in region three and was one of the seed varieties developed under Seed Co’s medium to long term strategy to boost agricultural productivity.
He encouraged farmers in high rainfall areas to consider another new variety SC 529 because of its early maturity characteristic. The seed variety takes 134 days and can give the farmer above eleven tonnes per hectare.
Due to the unbearable and unfavourable climatic changes in Africa and the unpredictable weather patterns occasioned by the El Nino phenomenon, Seed Co Zimbabwe’s qualified breeders every year come up with newer varieties that can withstand unpredictable weather conditions brought about by climate change.