Double row planting technology for hybrid corn to increase productivity and profit in Maddela, Quirino

“If you double the row, you double the grow. So mas mataas ang profit natin,” said DA-Quirino Experiment Station (QES) science research specialist II Archival B. Sabado during the DA-BAR webinar on 3 June 2022. 

He discussed how the double row planting technology for hybrid corn production increased the productivity and profit of farmers in Maddela, Quirino. The said technology was initially introduced in Villaverde, Nueva Vizcaya. Upon its successful implementation, the technology was outscaled to other areas in the region especially in the province of Quirino. 

With a planting distance of 80 by 30 centimeters between rows and 20 cm between hills, the plant population increased to an average 90,910 per hectare from the farmer’s practice of around 66,000. The total number of bags that can be planted was 2.5 to 3 bags at 9 kg of seeds per bag. Hence, yield increased from 4.5 to 8.5 tons per ha using the double row planting technology. 

While a jabber planter can still be used to establish the double row planting distance, the QES research team introduced the use of a mechanized double row planter which can furrow, plant, and apply fertilizer. 

Alongside this technology, the team also introduced the balanced fertilization and pesticide use strategy to the farmer-cooperators. 

“Organic fertilizers feed the soil and the synthetic [ones] feed the plant,” Sabado said. 

One pack of Bio-N, a microbial-based nitrogen-fixing fertilizer, should be mixed to 3 kg corn seeds before planting. He stressed the importance of avoiding sun exposure of seeds with Bio-N as the heat could kill the microorganisms. 

The farmers either followed the soil analysis-guided fertilizer application or the site specific nutrient management. They also sprayed carrageenan, a seaweed-based foliar growth-promoting fertilizer, at 3 liters per ha during the 15, 30, and 45 days after transplanting. To manage the occurrence of pests, biological controls such as earwig, trichogramma, and metarhizium were used. 

To compare the yield performance, the farmer’s practice produced 7.7 metric tons per ha, balanced fertilization with site specific nutrient management at 9.6 mt/ha, and balanced fertilization with soil laboratory recommendation at 11.1 mt/ha. 

Lastly, he discussed the cost and return analysis of the production using the introduced interventions compared to the farmer’s practice. (### Rena S. Hermoso)