In a separate page I wrote about increased corn farming activities in our remote, mountainous part of Sarangani using no-till farming techniques. Not only has the area planted to corn (maize) expanded, much of those parts of farms which have not been cultivated before or otherwise considered as hardly suitable for annual crops have, since the past few months, been converted into beautiful green landscapes of corn vegetation.
I know how hard and laborious it is to produce corn in remote places
with mountainous terrain and where the only mode of transport is by foot
and animal “power”. And so it was somewhat surprising to find recently
that there has been a surge in corn farming activities applying no-till
farming techniques, at least in this community of marginal farmers.
Since childhood and until my teens, I helped with farming and house chores including harvesting, drying, sorting and manual shelling of corn ears, hauling of harvest by carabao-drawn sled, harvesting and cooking of young ears, and cooking of corn grains which was then our staple food.
As an adolescent I was assigned a cogonal portion in our farm (not the present one) which I cleared by slash-and-burn, tilled with the help of a carabao, and subsequently planted to an indigenous variety of corn. It was hard work, but then rr or roundup-ready or glyphosate-resistant corn was not yet conceived.
Corn farming is a traditional source of subsistence and livelihood for many poor farmers worldwide particularly in rainfed rural areas. But in highly industrialized countries and for those with sufficient capital, corn is a cash crop with versatile uses such as food, animal feed, and industrial products.As of 2012 according to FAOSTAT, the statistics division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the United States is the top producer of corn in the world with aggregate production of about 273.8 million metric tons of corn grains (maize) and 4.1 million metric tons of green corn. In contrast, ranked 15th in the world is the Philippines with production of about 7.4 million metric tons of corn grains which is a mere 2.7% of the U.S. production.
Corn production is ancient and the cultural practices appropriate in any community are handed down to the next generations. Transfer of technology is by actual participation since the children of farmers customarily provide the farm labor.
With the advent of rr (round-up resistant) corn, however, rural farming communities are quick to improvise and apply no-till farming techniques. The technology involves the use of glyphosate-resistant varieties, slash-and-burn or kaingin, chemical weed control, and post-planting application of granular fertilizers . Undoubtedly, unless its disadvantage is convincingly proved, these farmers will continue to adopt and seek to improve this technology.
How these farmers actually practice no-till corn farming using Btrr varieties in sloping cogonal lands under rainfed conditions is dealt with in separate pages on clearing and land preparation, planting, herbicide application, and fertilizer application. This is a work in progress.
Click to continue reading: 1. Land Clearing and Soil Preparation