Friday, 14 November 2014

Quality corn hybrid seeds termed vital for higher yields

Terming corn a profitable crop for farmers, agricultural experts have advised the farmers to use best quality corn hybrid seeds to increase the production, saying that private sector needs to be encouraged to introduce new seed varieties so that crop's productivity could be enhanced.

They said after the introduction of hybrid maize during the 1990s, farmers have gradually shifted to hybrid maize from traditional/open pollinated varieties (OPVs) as hybrid maize has increased production from a mere 30 maunds/acre to 80-120 maunds/acre. They said corn crop could be highly lucrative for farmers as it has higher per acre yield than other crops.

The experts said though, after the introduction of hybrid maize in Pakistan, farmers had gradually shifted to high-yielding hybrid maize but most of them fail to get the desired production because of use of substandard hybrids and old farming practices. "The adoption of best quality hybrids is also important because the weather patterns are changing and farmers desperately need such seeds as could cope with the harsh weather conditions, fit in changing crop rotations and most importantly provide the much-needed economic benefits to the farmers," they said.

The agricultural experts said this while interacting with farmers who were visiting the hybrid corn field trial site, which serves as a Dekalb Learning Centre for farmers, in Okara. The field visit of farmers was organised by Monsanto Pakistan. Around 600 corn farmers belonging to different area of Punjab. Showcasing the on-field performance of Monsanto's latest and advanced 'Deklab' corn hybrids was also one of the objectives of this field day.

Monsanto Breeding and Technology Development teams advised the farmers to select the best quality hybrid corn seeds and use the best agronomic practices to take the best, in terms of yield, out of corn hybrids. They also informed the farmers that some of Monsanto's new corn hybrids perform very well in harsh weather conditions. "Grains of some of Monsanto's new hybrids are bigger and their resistance against diseases is also high. Also, another advantage is that when the crop fully ripens their leaves remain fresh and green which can be used as fodder for animals," Monsanto's representative Asif Nazir told the farmers.

On the occasion, Monsanto Pakistan Commercial Operations Lead Muhammad Ilyas Nadeem informed the farmers that at least 8-10 years are needed to develop a corn hybrid, adding that Monsanto, after rigorous testing, brings only those products to Pakistan that fit in our conditions and benefit the farmers.

Chaudhry Shaukat, President, Kissan Board Pakistan Okara commended the efforts of Monsanto Pakistan, said the event was a very good opportunity for them to learn and understand the technology and provided insight to best agronomic solutions. They hoped that Monsanto would continue to take such initiatives in future. Quality hybrid seeds are vital for higher yields and most importantly they fetch better price. Another farmer Maqsood Ahmed Jutt, Member Farmers Associates Pakistan - Okara, lauded Monsanto Pakistan initiative for farmers and encouraged Monsanto to introduce new hybrid seeds that would also be as good as previous ones.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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