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New farming methods, fertilizer help increase corn production

Dr. Nenita de la Cruz, scientist and professor of Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in Nueva Ecija, heads the support group and experts involved in the field test and validation of the farm that yielded 16.2 tons per hectare, using the Masinag organic liquid based fertilizer. Dr. De la Cruz is shown measuring the diameter of the corn planted in an unplowed 2.5 hectares farm using the ‘zero tillage’ farming technique. A farm nearby using previous corn farming practices was used as a ‘control’ measure and basis of their scientific analyses and comparison.  

MANILA, Philippines - A cooperative leader in San Manuel, Tarlac has harvested 16.2 metric tons (162,000 kilos) of yellow corn per hectare. The feat was called by experts as the highest per hectare yield recorded in the country so far.

Posting the record-breaking harvest was Juanito Rama, head of the San Manuel Multi-purpose Farmers Cooperative.

Rama volunteered his 2.5 hectare corn field for a demonstration test of a combination of cutting-edge farming practices including zero tillage or no plowing done, and the use of a liquid organic based fertilizer called Masinag.

Based on the P12.50 per kilo farm-gate price of corn at the time of harvest, Rama’s farm yielded a total of 405,000 kilos that fetched a hefty P5,062,500, in gross sales.

The one-time yield made him a multi-millionaire.

The farmer-leader said that he used hybrid seeds supplied by the country’s biggest corn seed breeder, and applied only six bags of complete commercial fertilizer plus six liters of the liquid organic fertilizer for each hectare of his corn land. He planted the corn seeds on unplowed land.

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The combination of those bold farming techniques, Rama testified, cut his labor and input costs by half and increased his net earnings to a record he never imagined could happen. 

A support group of experts including the Land Bank of the Philippines, scientist from the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in Munoz, Nueva Ecija, the Department of Agriculture through the new National Agribusiness Corp., (NABCOR) the seed supplier and the developer of the Masinag organic based fertilizer contributed to Rama’s success.

Dr. Nenita de la Cruz, leader of the team of farm scientists from CLSU involved in the field test, said that neighbors of Rama were skeptical when her group guided Rama in using the “zero tillage” farming technique.

Direct seeding was done on the Rama demonstration farm without plowing the field. It was only cleared of the remaining rice stalks after the wet cropping season last November.

A nearby farm where the prevailing corn farming practices were used was used by the farm scientists as a “control” and the basis of their scientific analyses and comparison. The yield in the control farm was 12 tons per hectare for inputs of 16 bags of commercial fertilizer.  

“The newly planted corn was rained out and I feared the seeds would not sprout, but they did,” Rama shared in recounting his experiences to representatives of the Federation of Tarlac Cooperatives on the day of the harvest.

The farming technology on the Monsanto BT corn seed was used with some innovations, particularly the application of Masinag organic-based liquid fertilizer, and the “zero tillage” system.

With the success of the field demo test, the package of technology applying the Masinag organic-based liquid fertilizer and the zero tillage system will soon be taught to other corn farmers, Dr. De la Cruz said.

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