Farmers' Field Day on Organic Corn Production Held

A farmers’ field day on organic-based corn production was conducted March 6 at the farm of Magsasaka Syentista Villamor C. Tabios in Brgy. San Guillermo, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte.

Eighty farmers participated in the activity which was part of the promotional activities of the S&T Based Farm (STBF) on Organic-based Corn Production funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD).

Traditional farmers’ practices on corn production were showcased in a 5,000 m2 area while another 5,000 m2 space showed “enhanced” practices involving S&T interventions. The two practices were compared as to which is better and profitable.

Among the interventions were the application of organic fertilizer and use of: 1) MMSU Glut 1 corn variety, 2) earwig and trichogramma as pest control, and, 3) inoculants for the seeds.

Dr. Marivic M. Alimbuyuguen, MMSU Extension director and Partner Member Agency team leader, said that the STBF projects respond to the “diak kita, diak pati” attitude of the farmers. According to her, the field day is an avenue for farmers to actually see for themselves and compare the effects on their crops traditional farmers’ practices and enhanced practices which could serve as basis for adoption.

Based on initial results, the enhanced practices could give more benefits for farmers. MMSU Glut 1 matured 10 days earlier than the traditional Lagkitan variety. Both were planted at the same time on Nov. 29, 2011. MMSU Glut 1 matures in 90-100 days after planting (DAP) while Lagkitan, 90-110 DAP. Also, MMSU Glut 1 is taller (206.75 cm) than Lagkitan (184.35 cm). As to computed yield, enhanced practice produced 5,720 kg/ha while farmers’ practice, 5,600 kg/ha. Moreover, a difference of P2,040 as to gross income was computed in favor of the enhanced practice if the produce is sold at P170 per kilo.

Dr. Stanley C. Malab, director of ILARRDEC which supports the corn industry in the province, said during the program that MMSU Glut 1 is one of the best varieties for corn processing specifically for chichacorn.

On the other hand, Mr. Leonardo T. Pascua, regional Techno Gabay coordinator, encouraged the farmers to consider value adding of their products. “For instance, corn can be sold not only as grains. When steamed, it can also be supplied to school canteens or stalls along the highway. This commands higher price and at the same time provides healthy food for the consumers,” he said.

The project is synergistically implemented by LGU San Nicolas, ILARRDEC, PCAARRD, MMSU, and the Office of the Provincial Agriculture.