Farm Integration and Diversification are the keys to survival (3)

Subdividing The Farm Lot for More Production and Income (2)

AGRIBUSINESS | LARRY LOCARA
AGRIBUSINESS | LARRY LOCARA

In the previous column we started to subdivide the farm lot, reducing the rice area but setting aside areas for the home lot cum container and mini garden for the vegetable needs of the family. We also allocated a small area for the herbs that can be used as condiments in the kitchen, as first aid and as source of nutrition and medicine for the family. We also established a pig house for finishers where the manure is harvested for the earthworms and ultimately as fertilizer for the garden and the rice farm. Beside it is a chicken area which can produce 30-50 chickens per six (6) months as well as daily harvest of eggs for the family especially the children.

 

Cattle finishing.

When the farmer is able to have savings, he can turn that savings into another income generating project by investing in cattle finishing where he practices cut and carry only. This means that all he needs to do is build a small cattle house good for one (1) head of cattle bought cheap at an auction market and fed with grasses, hay, rice bran and other by products.

The cattle house should be located farthest from the house and separated by a thick stand of napier grass, indigofera and ipil-ipil regularly cut to about one meter off the ground to stimulate leaf production which is a major source of protein for the cattle and the pigs.

Tricantera or “madre de agua” should also planted as many as possible as a source of high protein fodder for both the pigs and the cattle.

Kas Joe should target to sell one head every six months whereby the animal would have increased weight between 80-120 kilograms giving him a gross at least P7,200.00 which could well go to the tuition fees of the children. Cattle finishing is more profitable than raising pigs because there is not much need to buy commercial feeds. Cattle thrives on grasses and legume leaves like peanut, munggo, soybeans, sitao, madre de cacao, ipil-ipil, indigofera and others. It also feeds on non-legume but highly nutritious plants and trees like tricantera and mulberry.

Vegetable, Corn and cash crop area.

Since rice takes about 4 months to be cashed in, the farmer and his family should find ways  to earn money on a shorter period. Vegetables are his best bet. Also green corn or the corn can be grown for about 60 days then sold to be cooked as boiled or steamed corn. 1,000 sq. meters of the area can be set aside for this purpose. When made into permanent beds, the area can produce enough money approximating the income for 1/2 hectare of rice. The said area can be planted to about 5,333 corn plants which when harvested and sold as green corn after 60-65 days can generate about  P7,000.00 at 90% production and P1.50/ear. Between the rows of corn, sweet potatoes can be simultaneously planted and harvested in about 75-90 days yielding an estimated 400 kilograms sold at P25.00/kg. The stalks of the corn and some of the leaves and stalks of the sweet potato can also be fed to the cattle.

Vegetables are the fastest way to make money regularly. Indigenous vegetables like alugbati, okra, ampalaya, eggplants and tagabang are fast selling vegetables and they can also be intensively planted in the small area. A 500 sq. meters area of mixed vegetables can earn for the farmer and his family abut 200 daily which can go to daily expenes like transportation and food.  (To be continued)