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High-yielding corn varieties to uplift farmers of Asturias

Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - June 22, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Three hybrid corn varieties of Bayer led by DEKALB 9118S topped a corn competition in Asturias, Cebu with a computed yield of 8.3 metric tons per hectare (MT/ha) and are seen to uplift farmers’ lives in Cebu’s biggest corn-producing town.

Developed to have good resistance against tough corn diseases, particularly foliar disease, banded leaf sheath blight (BLSB), and stalk rot disease, DEKALB 9118S seized the highest net income standing from the local government-organized corn derby in Asturias. On return on investment, it was pegged at 84.7% showing a net income of more than P45,000 per hectare.

The corn derby was conducted in a 4.5-hectare farm in Asturias, Cebu owned by Virginia Farms. The group co-hosted the competition with the objective of assessing the performance of different hybrid corn varieties available in the market.

The municipality of Asturias and the provincial government of Cebu are aspiring to raise corn production while also helping raise the livelihood levels of farmers.

“Asturias is now the biggest in the whole of Cebu island province in terms of land area planted to hybrid corn. We are also the highest corn yielding town,” said Asturias Municipal Agriculturist Jade Mesias who co-administered the corn derby.

While the Cebu is not a major producer of yellow corn in the country, the province has a huge demand and relies on neighboring islands for its requirements.

Asturias’ target is to grow the corn area to meet the needs of feed millers in the province.

“Agriculture is the lifeblood of Asturias’s economy. The impact will be very significant,  both socially and economically if we’re able to plant more area with hybrid corn,” added Mesias.

From the corn derby, other Bayer varieties that ranked second and third were DEKALB 9919S and DEKALB 6919S, respectively. DEKALB 9919S had an ROI of 78.7 percent with 7.9 MT/ha, while DEKALB 6919S obtained 71.3 percent return-of-investments at 7.5 MT/ha.

“Aside from being the top performer in the Asturias corn derby, DEKALB 9118S characteristics include high shelling recovery at 84 percent which indicates heavy grains once the corn ears are removed from the cobs,” said Erwin Vibal, Grower Marketing Lead of Bayer Crop Science adding that this is advantageous for end-users who require high yield output from corn production.”

Virginia Farms Inc., has been eyeing corn area expansion due to the significant demand for this feed input. It supplies meat products not only to Cebu but to the rest of Visayas region.

The corn requirement for Cebu is estimated at 20 million kilos every month for swine feed.

The Cebu provincial government announced last year its Enhanced Countryside. Development program with a total budget of P15 billion for agriculture. At east P28 million is already allocated for investment in four yellow corn post-harvest facilities to be situated in strategic areas, including Bantayan Island and Camotes Island.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) also earlier announced the allocation of P454 million for Cebu’s agriculture sector in 2021.

In an earlier interview with Asturias Mayor Antonio Pintor, he said that the municipality is going to initially increase the production of its corn products (both yellow and white corn) among other crops.

According to Pintor the town has been investing in infrastructure particularly farm-to-road projects to make it easier for farmers to transport their goods, while drafting more programs to boost the town’s livelihood related to corn production.

With 50 thousand population in 27 barangays, Pintor noted growing interest for farm and tourism investment, re enforcing the town’s positioning to capture good revenue stream in agri-tourism sector.

Asturias’ sprawling fertile land makes it ideal for yellow corn production. At present, the town has about 200 hectares dedicated for corn plantation.

CORN
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