Hybrid corn of agriculture leader Bayer Crop Science posts record-high 14.85 MT yield, more Filipino farmers anticipated to grow corn

Hybrid corn of agriculture leader Bayer Crop Science posts record-high 14.85 MT yield, more Filipino farmers anticipated to grow corn

February 5, 2020

Two corn Dekalb corn hybrids of agriculture leader Bayer Crop Science have come out as topnotchers in a government-led corn competition in in three Mindanao sites, posting a record high for the region with a computed yield of 14.85 metric tons (MT) per hectare.

   A four-month planting program co-hosted by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and municipal agricultural offices in Compostela Valley, Davao City, and Sarangani have exhibited the highest potential yield of the hybrids, given optimum growing conditions and proper crop management.

   In Compostela Valley, Dekalb 8719S came out a first place with 14.85 MT per hectare. Its yield was 14.12 MT in Davao City, also the highest yield in the province.

   In Davao City, the second place was garnered by another Bayer corn hybrid, Dekalb 8899S with 13.38 MT per hectare.

New Dekalb 8719S int he field ready for harvest

   Samuel B. Ontic, DA Malungon municipal corn coordinator, said the government anticipates more farmers will be encouraged to plant corn as the new corn varieties offer bigger profitability potential for corn planting.

   “That is really our objective in putting up these technology-demo sites—to show farmers the best hybrid corn varieties suitable in their areas,” said Ontic. “Varieties perform best depending on the location and this activity demonstrates which corn hybrids are most ideal for their farm.”

   The computed yield from Bayer’s products are highly significant in the Philippines where the average corn yield is only at 3.1 MT per hectare based on Philippine Statistics Authority records.     

   The corn derby in DA Malungon was conducted in MTDC – Integrated Communal and Research Garden, Sitio Basak, Malandag, Malungon, Sarangani Province during the September 2019 to January 2020 cropping season.

   As part of the competition protocol, two different types of fertilizers were applied to all the competing hybrid corn varieties. This way, farmers would have the opportunity to determine which fertilizer and fertilization level to use for optimum plant growth.

   “We recognize the importance of having a sustainable corn industry in Mindanao to meet

demand and we’re excited to have new corn hybrid varieties in the pipeline that farmers here may consider in the coming season,” claimed Erwin Vibal, head of marketing for Bayer Crop Science. “The corn derby results show an achievable scenario on the potential yield and income that Mindanao farmers can get with the right inputs and sound crop management practices.”

Farmers’ Perspective

   Edwin Ligahon, a corn farmer in South Cotabato, said Dekalb 8899S is indeed a “super” variety among all corn hybrids. “A few hybrid corn varieties can get double ears per plant, but for 8899S, most of the plants have two ears that can be harvested with both being heavy,” said Ligahon.

   From the two hectares that he planted with Dekalb 8899S, he reaped 312 cavans. Shelling recovery is high which he estimates to be more than 80 percent. With his highly satisfactory harvest, he plans to expand planting of 8899S to five hectares by the next planting season.     

   It even helps that Ligahon is a resourceful farmer as he runs his own feed processing business. With the value chain in place, his costs for producing feeds are reduced since he grows his own raw materials.

   Mar Nacional, a farmer who tilled Dekalb 8899S, claimed that applying fertilizers at the right time is essential for good harvest. He added that proper cultivation of the soil aids moisture and nutrient retention which are vital for the crop.

   “First and foremost, it’s the right choice of hybrid corn variety that makes the difference if you want to reach the optimum yield potential,” said Nacional.

   Adaptability Across Mindanao

   Ontic claimed that the biggest advantage of the new corn varieties from Bayer is their adaptability in both uplands and lowlands of Mindanao region.    

   “Some corn varieties that have tall plants cannot be grown in hilly or sloping areas, only on flat land. These new hybrids may be grown even on uplands because of their short height,” he said. “Shorter plants with strong stalks are more resistant to lodging, thus surviving strong winds or even some typhoons that destroy plants just before harvest.”

   Bayer’s hybrid corn Dekalb 8899S, launched in late 2019, was bred to have a stable yield performance under drought conditions. Across high and low elevation corn areas in Mindanao, it has shown consistently high shelling recovery at 82%. It also has good resistance against Diplodia ear rot, Phaeosphaeria Leaf Spot (PLS) and other foliar diseases which are critical for the high disease pressure areas in Mindanao. Maturity ranges from 105 to 120 days, depending on the elevation level and season.

Mindanao corn farmers showing off ears of Dekalb 8719S and 8899S in farm activity

   Another Bayer hybrid corn variety, Dekalb 8719S, will be launched this coming season. It boasts of good resistance against Gibberella ear rot, more known by farmers as ‘lipstick’ because of the purpling of the corn ear near the top during the later stage of the crop.

   Having bold orange kernels adds to its attractiveness and potential for grains to be sold at a premium. The plant of 8719S has a stay green quality which can last until harvest period so it is able to absorb more nutrients for better ear development. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Ears of 8899S during a harvest festival in Mindanao


First-of-its kind urban farm in bustling Taguig City put up by Bayer, Conrad Manila buys the produce

January 24, 2020

A first-of-its-kind urban farm has been put up in Taguig City by Germany-based Bayer as a showcase of a sustainable farm that has a captured market in Hilton hotel chain Conrad Manila.

At a launch in Pamayanang Diego Silang in Brgy. Ususan Taguig, the 200 square meter urban garden called “Bayer Kubo” aims to be part of contributing to meeting certain United Nations goals. The site is nearly along expressway C-5.

A major one under the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations is “zero hunger.”

Vinit Jindal, Bayer Philippines Inc managing director, said the urban garden in Taguig City contributes to this goal and, depending on the availability of suitable land and other partners, the Bayer Kubo concept may be replicated in other urban areas “where it will have significant positive impact.”

“With the Philippines’ growing population, urban agriculture will be important in food security,” said Jindal.
Conrad Manila General Manager Laurent Boisdron said the hotel traditionally sources its supply of vegetables and herbs from the local market.

“We will now buy our vegetables from this farm. Yes we know the produce will be of high-quality with this partnership with Bayer and the community,” said Boisdron in the same launch Thursday.

Bayer Philippines Managing Director Vinit Jindal at the Bayer Kubo with the high-rise buildings rising behind along C5 expressway, Taguig City

The project’s memorandum of agreement also includes Taguig local government unit (LGU) and civic group Rise Against Hunger.

Jomar Flores, Rise Against Hunger executive director, said some urban farms are just launched and later on abandoned. But two major factors will contribute to sustainability of Bayer Kubo.

Direct participation from the Pamayanang Diego Silang and the presence of a direct market in Conrad Manila are major factors to sustainability, said Flores. The BCDA housing community has 2,800 units with 62 buildings.

“We put up our first Food Bank (food storage centers for free distribution to urban poor) in Taguig City. Food banks will only succeed if it’s in an urban area, not rural. The food manufacturers are there (as food supply sponsors),” said Flores.

While it is difficult to organize scattered people in the boondocks, urban areas have the human density, the urban poor consumers, who need food and jobs.

Rise Against Hunger has 12 day care centers in Taguig City where it regularly feeds children and has 500 member-families in its food bank.

Bayer is supplying all the needs of the urban farm—seeds, technical-agronomic assistance, training of people in financial-business operation.

Earwin A. Belen, licensed agriculturist of Rise Against Hunger, said the Bayer Kubo program is using organic practices in the vegetable and herbs farm.

“We’re using organic practices. We use vermicast as fertilizer from worm (waste). We are training the resident-farmers on how to grow vegetables together with the DA (Department of Agriculture,” said Belen.

Bayer Kubo program will also train the 30 registered volunteers from Pamayanang Diego Silang on preparing organic concoctions, fermented fruit juice as plant growth enhancers.

The aquaponics system that Bayer Kubo program is using is also efficient in both fish and vegetable production. It uses a one cubic meter tank to grow lettuce producing 75 heads per cycle (5-6) weeks.

The vegetables are supplied with nutrient by the waste of the fish from the same tank that can grow 30 kilos of tilapia at a time.

Vegetables and herbs now planted in the Bayer Kubo facility here are eggplant, tomato, pepper, medicinal plants roselle, taheebo, gotu kola, tarragon, gotu kola, serpentine, basil, lemongrass, and Thai garden tea.

Registered farmer-volunteers in the urban farm are 30 Pamayanang Diego Silang residents in medium-rise building community in BCDA Housing, mostly senior citizens or retirees.

A multi-sectoral partnership supports success of the program even as Taguig City itself has long been known to sustain its large tracts of profitable farm land despite urbanization.

“We have large tracks of land– hundreds of hectares for farm that have long been farm areas. We have a big production of melon in Taguig. We have kept our rice farms,” said Felix Catigay Taguig City environment officer.

Taguig City naturally has urban greenery program—containerized fruit-bearing trees and urban gardens – in idle areas identified by the city assessor’s office.

What makes the program more holistic is Bayer is making Bayer Kubo, particularly referring to a sawali-bamboo structure conference center, an urban poor multi-program center.

The consumer health and pharmaceutical divisions of Bayer Philippines is also supplying medicines, contraceptives and related products to the community that will support health and population control here.

It will provide training on family planning where Bayer has long involved in successful community work even in other countries where it operates. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Bayer Philippines Managing Director Vinit Jindal at the Bayer Kubo with the high-rise buildings behind rising C-5 expressway, Taguig City