|Young corn plants treated with Cruiser are vigorous. |
Their roots are more extensive so the plants are more
resistant to water stress. The leaves are also wider,
hence more efficient in photosynthesis.
|Corn not treated with Cruiser are not vigorous. The|
leaves are narrower and the roots are less extensive
than those treated with Syngenta's Cruiser.
|Your Blogger Zac B. Sarian interviewing Syngenta experts|
at the Demo Farm in Ba Ria province, Vietnam. He was
one of the journalists invited to the Syngenta Media Workshop
in Ho Chi Minh City, Nov. 29-31, 2012.
|Dr. Hardeep Grewal showing fully filled ears of hybrid corn.|
About 98 percent of corn planted in Vietnam today are hybrids.
|Test-corn seedlings treated with Cruiser. Note the long roots.|
|Weed-free corn field treated with Lumax. The plants|
are robust and are expected to produce big ears.
|Weedy corn field not treated with Lumax. Pointing to|
the weedy condition is Ngo Lanh, head of Syngenta's
Solutions Development Division.
Not many farmers may realize it, but the most crucial stage that can assure high yield in corn is proper care of the corn plant during its first 45 days.
This was emphasized by corn experts of Syngenta during the recent media workshop that the company sponsored for Asian journalists in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Proper care of the young corn plants during the first 45 days from planting could easily mean an additional two tons of grains that could translate to a profit equivalent to US$500. That’s exactly what a small farmer from Indonesia reaped when he took good care of his young corn plants.
The same is also being experienced by farmers in Vietnam. Right now, one ton of corn in Vietnam sells for US$340. Which means two tons ($680) could mean an additional income equivalent to close to P28,000 in Philippine money.
Aside from the use of high-yielding variety, one important step is to treat the seeds for planting with a Syngenta product called Cruiser. This is a liquid which is used to treat the seeds before planting. This protects the young plants from the various pests that attack corn. Aside from protecting the plants from pests, Cruiser is also claimed to encourage development of much longer roots that go deep into the soil. This means that the plants can tolerate dry spell better than those untreated.
Another important factor is the early control of weeds in the corn field. Syngenta has come up with a new and effective herbicide that prevents the weed seeds in the soil to germinate. This is called Lumax, a liquid that is sprayed on the ground before the seeds are planted.
Ngo Lanh, Syngenta’s head of Solutions Development division, explained that weeds rob the corn plants of nutrients in the soil. At the same time, they harbor insects that could be destructive to the crop.
Meanwhile, Vietnam is fast approaching self-sufficiency in corn. It is now producing about 80 percent of its annual requirements, thanks to the increase in hectarage as well as higher yield per hectare.
In 2001, the area devoted to corn in Vietnam was about 700,000 hectares. By 2011, the area has expanded to 1.12 million hectares. And the average yield per hectare has increased from 3 tons to 4.5 tons. The use of hybrid seeds has been mainly responsible for the increase in yield. Introduced only about 10 years ago, hybrid seeds are now planted in about 90 percent of the corn areas.
BIOTECH CORN – Biotech corn, those genetically engineered varieties, are not yet approved for planting in Vietnam but this is expected to be approved any time soon. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has reportedly approved of the technology but there are still some agencies that have to give their approval.
Once Biotech corn is approved for planting, corn production could increase significantly. It would not be far-fetched to imagine that Vietnam could also become a corn-exporting country.
The consolation for Filipinos is that the planting materials could be supplied from the Philippines. Syngenta has a big Biotech corn processing plant in Pangasinan which could supply the seeds to Vietnam.