Learn Ways to Increase Farm Income from Two Bulakeno Farmers
Farmers should always keep this in mind like farmers Romeo Mendoza Jr. and Jose Velasquez of San Ildefonso, Bulacan. They have always been receptive to new farming technologies, and have ventured to other agribusiness to increase their income. Now, they have over a hundred sacks of rice, baskets of vegetables, and buckets of fish to sell.
A man open to new ideas, Mendoza, an official of Barangay Pinaud, initiates the conduct of seminars with the help of extension workers to update himself and his fellow farmers on new farming methods.
In one of the seminars he attended, he learned that the use of certified seeds of a recommended variety is the first key in increasing yield. Hence, he travels to the Science City of Munoz Nueva Ecija to buy certified seeds from the seed centers along the road.
He also learned in the seminars that during land leveling, the field should have 2 cm -3 cm water depth, and that rice crop establishment shouldn’t be rushed to allow stubbles and weeds to decompose and be of use as fertilizers.
Has been farming for 25 years, this 41year-old Bulakeno knows that he will be broke if he produced less than 80 cavans per hectare, considering the soaring prices of inputs nowadays. Thus, he strives hard to produce 100 cavans per hectare from his rainfed farm and 120 cavans per hectare from his irrigated farm. He earns P635,000 from his 10hectare tainted farm in the wet season and as high as P892,000 in a year from the 4-hectare irrigated farm, which he rents for 10 cavans per hectare every harvest.
Mendoza also grows mangoes, vegetables, and tilapia. His 20 mango trees are already bearing fruits, and he earns P30,000 a month from 4 hectares planted to vegetables such as bitter gourd, tomatoes, and string beans. Aside from this, he has recently harvested 300 kilos of tilapia from a hectare, which he sold at P60 per kilo or a total of P 18,000. He transports his produce to Balintawak Market where prices are higher.
Velasquez, on the other hand, has been in farming for 60 years. This 73-year-old Bulakeno was a seed grower, but he stopped to take care of his sick wife. After her death, he ventured into commercial rice production.
In managing his crops, he maintains 3 cm-5cm water depth during irrigation and allows a fallow period of at least a month. He saves on fertilizer cost because some of the chicken manure from a nearby poultry farm are thrown to his field.
Believing that sowing the right amount of seeds results in the production of healthy seedlings, he follows the recommended crop establishment practices. He sows 40 kg of seeds in 400 square meters (m2) seedbed. At this seedling density, the seedlings wouldn’t compete with each other for nutrients and sunlight. He transplants the seedlings at a distance of 20 cm x 20 cm in the wet season and 20 cm x 15 cm in the dry season.
He usually harvests 100 to 117 cavans from his 1-hectare irrigated farm and 70 to 90 cavans per hectare from his 2hectare rainfed farms. He sells a cavan of his milled rice at P1,600 to P1,800.
Velasquez has a fishpond, too. It measures 1,000 m2 and contains 4,000 fingerlings. He also raises pigs, chickens and ducks, and grows string beans, okra, sponge gourd and squash, too.
He has been earning a considerable amount of money from these farm ventures, and he is thankful for succeeding in these and wishes other farmers to succeed, too. He has a tip for them: “To get a high yield, you should really look after your crops. You know your crop more than other people do. Don’t be complacent with the thought that your helpers can do all the farming activities.”