Yes I went into peanut production even though profit was the least of my concern. The reasons for the growing of the crop are varied and have been enumerated in the first page of this series (click here to read). I admit though that I hoped I would generate some profit from the peanut project in order to help finance the primary needs of the farm.
The farm is located inland in the municipality of Malungon, Sarangani Province, Philippines. It has a sloping topography being located on the face of a mountain. The farm faces southward.
The base of the farm which is bounded by a river lies about 390 masl and the peak of the agriculturally suitable portion of the land (under the cliff of stone) is about 600 masl. Horizontal distance from base to this peak is about 300 masl.
Soil is clay loam and hard when dry but soft yet not sticky during rainy days. There grows plenty of wild bananas which, I surmise, is an indication of high potassium soil content. Incidence of rain is relatively frequent favoring rainfed agriculture particularly starting April-May which mark the start of the rainy growing season called “panuig”. Ambient temperature is constantly low compared to that in coastal areas prompting me to always wear jacket from late afternoon till early morning.
Nearby farms had been utilized ocassionally for peanut production, but corn is the traditional crop.
On this farm I grew the first peanut crop following sustainable methods. By “sustainable” I mean low cost, necessary, and adopting farming practices and techniques which are common in the community.
1. Land Preparation. The land was first cleared of weeds primarily dominated by the invasive buyo-buyo or Matico trees (Piper aduncum L.), hagonoy or Siam weed (Chromolaena odorata (L.) R.M.King & H.Rob.), aguingay or itch grass (Rottboellia cochinchinensis (Lour.) Clayton syn. Rottboellia exaltata L. f.) and wild banana (probably Musa acuminata Colla). Clearing was done by cutting or slashing using a thin-bladed bolo with curved tip locally called “lagaraw”.
After 2 weeks the land was plowed using a single-bladed carabao-drawn plow. Effective plowing was done only one way whereby only that in which the carabao moves to the right of the slope of the land was the plow allowed to sink on the ground. Furrow slices moved downhill.
2. Planting. Peanut seeds were sown following dibbling method. Planting distances were like that as the farmers in the community practice in corn (about 50 cm between rows and 30-35 cm between hills) but number of seeds was 3-5 seeds per hill.
Thirty (30) kg of the Native White and 10 kg of seeds of the Red variety were planted in one day by four farm laborers.
3. Fertilization and Pest Control. Consistent with traditional practice, no fertilizer nor pesticides were applied.
4. Water Management. Peanut production was fully dependent on rainfall. As planting was done during the first week of June 2018, there was sufficient rain until harvest.
5. Weeding. There was only one instance when the weeds were removed. This involved the uprooting of aguingay, hagonoy and other tall weeds when they became clearly visible.
6. Harvesting, Threshing and Sacking. Harvesting should have been done earlier at 90-95 DAP but the operation was commenced more than 100 DAP at a time when soil was moist due to past rain. Harvesting when the plants are overmature should be considered a costly mistake in peanut production but the lack of labor harvesters prevented us from doing it on time. As a result, many nuts already started germinating and many more were left underground because the pegs had become brittle and were cut off in the act of uprooting.
Harvesting included the manual pulling of the peanut plants and piling them in small heaps. The manual pod strippers (the women threshers) then separated the well developed pods from the plants and placed them in sacks.
(Ben G. Bareja, Mar. 2, 2019)