Hybrid corn varieties shield North Luzon farmers from effects of drought
by Chat G. Ocampo
Quezon City (5 May) -- Two corn varieties became the unexpected savior of some corn farmers in North Luzon, an area which was badly hit by the El nino phenomena. In the latest report of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NCDC), this year's dry spell has already resulted in agricultural losses totaling P12.08 billion and has affected the livelihood of 478,725 families nationwide.
A bit of good news came, however, when some North Luzon farmers surprisingly discovered that the corn varieties they planted yielded good produce despite the long months of dry spell.
The corn farmers who planted Monsanto's DK 818 RRC2/YG and DK 9132 RRC2/YG still made substantial earnings from their corn produce even as the NDCC has reported that in Cagayan Valley, at least P6 billion worth of crops have already been damaged due to abnormal weather. Meantime, the provincial government of Isabela and the Region 2 office of the Department of Agriculture (DA 2) have reported that over 112,000 corn and rice farmers in the said province have already been deprived, either totally or partially, of their expected harvest.
DK 818 RRC2/YG is a hybrid corn variety which is highly adaptable to the agro-climatic conditions prevailing in the major low elevation corn growing areas nationwide. Meantime, DK 9132 RRC2/YG is a variety which is specifically recommended for planting in Luzon. Both varieties have high yield potential and ensure protection from corn borer, weeds as well as vivipary or premature germination resulting in kernels germinating with little green shoots.
Only the aforesaid guarantees were what Mr. Juanito Rama, a farmer from San Manuel in Tarlac, had in mind when he planted DK 818 RRC2/YG. Little did he know that the said variety would also yield well despite the dry spell while other farmers in his area would practically have no harvest. "Nagulat ako kasi maganda pa rin ang ani kaya kumita pa rin ako. Umani ako ng labindalawang tonelada ng mais bawat ektarya. Ngayon lang nga namin nalaman na lumalaban pala ang DK 818 at DK 9132 sa drought," Mr. Rama said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Juan Hermoso of Quirino Province and Mr. Ric Festijo of Ilagan, Isabela only have good words to say about the two varieties. Mr. Hermoso said that DK 818 RRC2/YG had seen him through the dry spell with a good yield to boot. "Nakakagulat kasi bukod sa maganda pa rin ang ani ng mais ay magandang pa ang butil atsaka mabigat," he said. From half a hectare of land, Mr. Hermoso was able to harvest 100 sacks of corn. Meantime, Mr. Hermoso said that he harvested 144 sacks from 9,000 square meters planted to DK 9132 RRC2/YG. "Iaangat ka talaga ng DK 818 RRC2/YG at DK 9132 RRC2/YG. Noong umpisa, kabado pa ako at baka walang aanihin dahil sa kawalan ng ulan. Mula nang itinanim ko ay minsan lang umulan kaya masayang-pmasaya ako na maganda pa rin ang aking ani.
Ms. Fely Delos Santos of Cabaruan, Isabela was so thankful that her one hectare of land where she planted DK 818 RRC2/YG yielded 3,500 kilos of corn. "Yung mga katabi kong mga magsasaka ay halos walang inani kaya nagpapasalamat talaga ako na kahit papaano ay kumita ako," she said.
Meanwhile, Ms. Rosallie Ellasus, a farmer from Pangasinan, also shared the aforesaid farmers' sentiments. She planted DK 818 on January 19, which ran smack into the dry season. "Tumama na talaga sa panahon ng tagtuyo pero kahit papaano, maganda pa rin ang ani," she said. Ms. Ellasus was able to harvest 4,095 kilos of corn from her 8,000 square meter land. As of this writing, she is harvesting corn from another 1.5 hectares of land and she thinks that she will still earn from this particular harvest.
Hopefully, the rains will start to come and the farmers who have lost their harvest for the season could finally move on. Meantime, the sad stories brought by El nino may be assuaged a bit by the fact that not all farmers lost their harvest. There were those who have somehow managed to stay afloat, thanks to the wonders of DK 818 RRC2/YG and DK 9132 RRC2/YG. (Monsanto) [top]