How To Plant Yam Tubers - The Expert Farmer's Guide

All you need to know about the farming of yams, from the preparation of the soil to the harvesting and storage of the yam tubers. Also included, most common questions asked about yam cultivation and answers to all.

How To Plant Yam Tubers
Nigeria is one of the top producers of yam in the world, and the other African countries take over after it.
In the year 1985 alone, Nigeria produced over 18 million tons of yams from around 1.5 million hectares of land, making it the world largest producer of the produce. We all eat yam, except some few exceptions who may not be fans of the food for maybe some health conditions. It also thrives well in every kind of soil, however it is produced more in the Northern region of the country. 

The planting date of yam depends on the area and rainfall. You can also learn how to grow yams in a container and how to grow yams indoors. To get the best of the crops, you must adopt the best fertilizer for yam from any of the yam cultivation pdf.
How To Plant Yam Tubers
There are no religious restrictions limiting the consumption of the food in Africa. The best time to plant yams in Nigeria are not the same for every region because of differences in some factors such as rainfall. You can also grow them from the cuttings, which makes them even more unique from other plants and similar to other tubers.

Questions Most Commonly Asked About Yam Cultivation

- What is yam staking?

Ans: Yam staking is the supporting of yams with detached plant poles, to help the steps stand erect and soar higher. It is compulsory for the cultivation of yams and some other tubers like the three-leaf yam.

- What are the soil requirements for yam farming?

Ans: Yams are typical examples of upland crops and are planted in a well-drained soul. Sandy loam and silt loam soils are better options as they have been proven to yield better results. You also make use of clay loam soil, especially when they are high in organic matter.

- What is the maturity period for yams?

Ans: In general, yams take about fourteen weeks to mature completely. They also thrive better in a warmer climate.

- What is the planting date of yams?

Ans: Yams are planted around ending of March to the beginning of June.

- What is the fertilizer requirements for yams?

Ans: NPK is applied to the yams and muriate of potash is also applied to encourage bulking of the tubers. You can also use organic manures.

- How long does yam take to grow?

Ans: Yams take an approximate time of 14 weeks to mature completely.

- What is yam sett?

Ans: Yam setts are those cuttings from yam tubers with the intent to be planted.

How To Plant Yam Tubers

There are some steps you need to take in order to achieve success in the planting of yams, abd they include:

- Proper preparation of the soils on which you will cultivate your yams

You may need to clear the soil on which you'd plant your yams prior to the rainy season. Allow the weeds to dry up, they will form good organic manure for your propagation. February and April have always been the best months to plant the yams, since the rainy season is still beginning. Make your beds, ridges or mounts around one meter high and follow the contour in the creation to avoid soil erosion.
How To Plant Yam Tubers - The Expert Farmer's Guide
As I have earlier said, a well-drained upland is the best choice for the cultivation of yams and silt loam or sandy loam is the best choice for soil. If for any reasons you will use the clay loam soil, then make sure it has just enough organic manure.
While making your ridges, be sure to remove hard objects because they may obstruct the growth of the tubers. You can also make use of forest lands, as far as they are fertile and well cultivated.

- Preparation of the yam setts

This is another essential part of the farming. Properly prepare the yam setts and seedlings, and if small they should be planted whole and cut if otherwise. You can cut them into sizes ranging between 60g and 100g. Remember that the sizes of your setts determine the sizes of the outcome, and the bigger they are the bigger the produce but they shouldn't be too big.
Use healthy seedlings for your cultivation to ensure the best results.
There are three types of sets which you can get:
⇨ Head setts
⇨ Middle setts
⇨ Tail setts
As you can see from their names, they are named according to their positions in the yam cuttings.
After cutting them, treat the cuttings with any fungicide or ash and then you sundry. Plant them after they have become dry.

- Pre-sprouting of the yam setts

It is more advisable to pre-sprout the yam setts before cultivation, because it takes nothing less than 3-12 weeks for them to sprout. This is to reduce the stress of weeding the crops as per sprouting, which is essential.
To pre-sprout, first make a little ditch or hole in a shaded area, let's say under a banana tree. You can also consider constructing a shed for this purpose. Place the yam setts side by side to each other and cover them with dry leaves. If you didn't make any holes, then place them on the ground and cover.

- Planting of the yams

This is the next stage, looks like the most important but actually may not be, every stage is important in the planting of yams. The white yams are better planted within the March or April periods depending on the period when the tuber dormancy is broken. You can know this by the sprouting of the yams when under storage.
This is one of the major reasons why you need to pre-sprout at least for three weeks as ahead of the planting period. Keep a period of one meter between the planted crops and a dept of 10 cm is recommended. You will need from 20,000- 28,000 yam setts for a hectare of land.
If the planting field has not been mulched and irrigated, then you should target to plant when it is raining. When planting setts that were not pre-sprouted,  the same distances can be kept. Place the setts so that the sprouts will face up when growing. To achieve this, face the cut surface to the ground.

If you want to plant by the staggering method, the planting field will be divided into 4-6 sections depending. The size and time of each section is dependent on the rate of the sprouting of the yam setts.

- Weeding of the yams

Weeds are unwanted plants in the farm and are unpredictable. The rate at which the weeds grow will determine how the farmland will be weeded. However, it must need to be weeded at least once. If the farm isn't mulched and non-sprouted setts are used, you can weed 2 or three times.
You must also try to weed before the stems grow and cover the regions inbetween the ridges, or the whole thing becomes difficult. You can hand weed or make use of herbicides.

- Harvesting

Once the yam stalks and leaves begin to turn yellowish in color, you can now harvest the yams. The leaves will begin to look like they're drying up and this usually occurs from the late November all through to the early periods of February.
It is best to harvest the yams you want to consume or sell before they start turning yellowish, then the rest can be harvested when you want to plant them as setts for the next farming season.

You can make use of a hoe or any other hand harvesting too to dig around the yam until it becomes loose. Carefully pull it out, cut the vine and avoid injuring or scratching the yams. This may cause decays and they may loose their market values.
Your yams are now ready to be sold, stored or consumed. You can store them in a barn.

Before you go, please checkout all you need to know about the planting and harvesting of watermelons. You can make millions annually from this!
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Information Guide Africa: How To Plant Yam Tubers - The Expert Farmer's Guide
How To Plant Yam Tubers - The Expert Farmer's Guide
All you need to know about the farming of yams, from the preparation of the soil to the harvesting and storage of the yam tubers. Also included, most common questions asked about yam cultivation and answers to all.
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