I am Emmanuel from Nigeria.
Because of the menace of cattle rearing and kidnapping many of the farmers has abandoned their farms. I am working with some community on backyard natural farming and piggery. I must confess that I have gotten a lot of resources from Echo family.
I am more interested in banana stalk as alternative feeds for pig.
My question is this, l am planting the banana and plantain at a density of 2x3 meter instead of the recommended 3x3 meter here or can I make it 2x2 meters. I also intend to harvest the banana before I use the stalk for feed. Hope there is no disadvantage in both the density and using the harvested stalk.
My name is Stacy and I work at ECHO. I learned much of what I know about banana cultivation in East Africa, but have made banana stalk silage for our pigs here in Florida as well.
From what I have been told, 3x3 m is the best spacing for full-sized (non-dwarf) banana and plantain varieties. Closer than this, and the banana clumps will start to compete with each other (roots will start to compete for nutrients & water and shoots will start to compete for sunlight). Don’t forget that bananas have a pseudostem which will also photosynthesize and make plant sugars, so the stems like to get some sunlight as well as the leaves!
Another issue I run into with closely-spaced clumps is that I can no longer tell the clumps apart! They start to merge together which makes management more difficult. 3 stalks per clump is ideal. I was taught to think of it as a grandmother (stalk about to or currently fruiting), a mother (stalk that is 2/3 the height of the grandmother), and a child (new banana pup emerging from the base). More stalks than this will decrease the fruit bunch size as the clump is partitioning resources (nutrients and water) to several stalks at the same time.
That being said, I have seen some areas with many healthy bunches (but I wonder how much nutrients they have to supply). If you plant them at 3x2 m and have success, please share it with us! Has anyone else planted bananas at a closer spacing?
Thank you for your comments and suggestions.
I guess I will try the 2x3 spacing on a conner of the farm while I make the rest 3x3. I won’t put all my eggs in one basket. I like trying new things. I will surely post my findings.
Thank you so much.
My name is Patrick, I work at our ECHO Asia office in Thailand. We use banana stems to make pig feed every week here on our farm. Just to add to what Stacy has already mentioned, it’s worth noting that the nutritional value of stems that have already produced fruit will be much lower than the smaller, more tender stems. For feed we typically use stems that have not yet produced fruit, as they are higher in protein and much less fibrous (more digestible). If you do choose to make feed from older stems that have already produced fruit, it is recommended that you peel back several of the outer layers first and only used the tender inner portion.
Thank you so much for your suggestion. Trust it is a valued piece of information which I am going to work with.
Thank you so much.