The 2020 forecast by Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has revealed that farmers who cultivate early in 2020 are likely to have poor harvest.
The forecast was contained in a document shared by the weather and climate agency in Abuja on Tuesday, at the Seasonal Rainfall Prediction.
“Farmers are advised to avoid planting during the pre-onset period. Rather, they should focus on land preparation,” it said.
A pre onset period is the season that comes before the rainfall season.
“Before the full establishment of the onset of the planting season over the various ecological zones, a couple of rainfall events are expected to occur which could be enormous and tend to give a false start of the season,”.
Though such rainfall events are not uncommon, however, their frequency seems to be on the rise.
Some forcing functions have been observed to be likely responsible and will be monitored carefully and keep Nigerians informed, the agency said.
It highlighted that farmers should, therefore, avoid early planting during this period to avoid losses.
In the document, farmers were encouraged to adopt climate smart agricultural practices that will boost the output for the year.
“Authorities concerned should facilitate the provisions of early maturing and drought resistant varieties to guard against the risk of crop failure and poor yield, ” it said.
Also, soil and water management is essential for maintaining the production of food crops and folder under conditions with high water stress.
The forecast said soil erosion will be controlled through the introduction of various techniques, all which could also contribute to increased infiltration, improved soil fertility and water conservation to guarantee crop production in the country.
According to the document, cropping patterns adjustments can also help farmers adapt to changing weather patterns.
Additionally, conservation agriculture, which encompasses the techniques of minimum mechanical soil disturbance, aims at achieving sustained agricultural production and environmental conservation.
The predicted temperature in January to April over the northern states will affect the poultry feed conversion ratio, hence shell quality and egg weight in layers may be affected, the agency also highlighted.
NiMet said heat stress prevention strategies and improving the general environmental conditions will go a long way in boosting their efficiency.
It also highlighted that ruminant animals are likely to be affected by the warmer than normal temperatures across the country.
“Their efficiency in feed intake, milk production and re-productivity will be affected. Heat stress through providing water constantly and cooling of the animals is advised,” the agency said.
Adaptation measures for the animals, according to the agency, was is the provision of pastures, adequate water and shed for animals.
It also highlighted the production of conservative feed resources such as silage, hay among others.
The anticipated temperature across the country is expected to affect oxygen solubility on water, which would favour the survival of parasites and bacteria, growth and development, the document said.
Due to this, it recommended the changing of pond water as at when due and urged that heat management practices be observed, to avoid heat stress.