Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 The agro-climatic enviroment of...
 Socio-economic enviroment
 Grouping farmers into recommendation...
 General features of the farming...
 Farmers' barley production...
 Production, profits and risks
 Implications for agricultural research...
 List of available CIMMYT economics...

Group Title: Working paper / Economics Program, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center ; 80/5
Title: Farmers' practices, production problems and research opportunities in barley production in the CalpulalpanApan Valley, Mexico
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00080072/00001
 Material Information
Title: Farmers' practices, production problems and research opportunities in barley production in the CalpulalpanApan Valley, Mexico
Series Title: Working paper Economics Program, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
Physical Description: 60, 1 p. : ill., maps ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Byerlee, Derek
Harrington, Larry
Marko, Paul
Publisher: Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo, CIMMYT
Place of Publication: México D.F
Publication Date: 1980?
Subject: Barley -- Mexico   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Mexico
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 61).
Statement of Responsibility: Derek Byerlee, Larry Harrington, Paul Marko.
Funding: Working paper (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. Economics Program) ;
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00080072
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 11562304

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    The agro-climatic enviroment of farmers
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Socio-economic enviroment
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
    Grouping farmers into recommendation domains
        Page 15
        Page 16
    General features of the farming system and farmers' resources
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
    Farmers' barley production practices
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
    Production, profits and risks
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
    Implications for agricultural research to improve early barley production
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
    List of available CIMMYT economics working papers
        Page 62
Full Text

/I~, 7gi
22z, QSI~

(T Londres 40, Apdo. Postal 6-641, Mdxico 6, D.F. Mexico

Derek Byerlee
Larry Harrington
Paul Marko

1980 Working Paper

The author are respectively, Economist CIMMYT, Mexico; Economist and
Training Officer, CIMMYT, Mexico; and Agronomist and Former Head,
Wheat Training Program, CIMMYT, Mexico. The views expressed in this
working paper are not necessarily those of CIMMYT.

Londres 40, ler, Piso, M6xico 6, D.F. M6xico


1.0 Introduction: Purposes of the Survey

2.0 Methodology
2.1 Selection of the Study Area
2.2 General Survey Procedures

3.0 The Agro-Climatic Environment of Farmers
3.1 Rainfall
3.2 Frosts
3.3 Topography
3.4 Climatic Conditions in 1979

4.0 Socio-Economic Environment
4.1 Infrastructure
4.2 Product Markets
4.3 Input Markets
4.4 Credit
4.5 Research and Extension
4.6 Land Tenure
4.7 Labor Market
4.8 Machinery Market

5.0 Grouping Farners into Recommendation Domains

6.0 General Features of the Farming System and Farmers' Resources
6.1 The Farming System and its Evolution
6.2 Land and Land Tenure
6.3 Machinery Ownership
6.4 Credit
6.5 Labor

7.0 Farmers' Barley Production Practices
7.1 Land Preparation
7.2 Planting
7.3 Varieties
7.4 Fertilizer
7.5 Weed Control
7.6 Harvesting and Crop Disposal

8.0 Production, Profits and Risks
8.1 Yield and Factors Affecting Yields
8.2 Production Costs and Breakeven Yields
8.3 Production Risks

9.0 Implications for Agricultural Research to Improve Early Barley Production
9.1 Recommendation Domains
9.2 Short Run Research Opportunities
9.3 Longer Term Research Opportunities
9.4 Further Implications for Farm Survey Work
9.5 Other Issues in Improved Barley Production


In cooperation with researchers in many national agricultural research
programs, CIMMYT has sought to develop procedures which help to focus agricul-
tural research squarely on the needs of farmers. The process involves colla-
boration of biological scientists and economists to identify the groups of
farmers for whom technologies are to be developed, determining their circumstan-
ces and problems, screening this information for research opportunities, and
then implementing the resulting research program on experiment stations and on
the fields of representative farmers.

CIDMYT's Economics Program has emphasized developing procedures for the
first stage of this process, through to establishing research opportunities.
The evolution of the procedures, now synthesized in a manual "Planning Technol-
ogies Appropriate to Farmers: Concepts and Procedures" has been strongly in-
fluenced by collaborative research with many national programs and with CIMMYT's
wheat and maize training programs. Our efforts with national programs began in
1974 with Zaire's national maize program, then moved to work in Tunisia, Pakistan,
and Egypt. The pace of work accelerated notably in 1976 with assignment of
regional economists stimulating similar work in Kenya, Tanzania, Zanbia, Ecuador,
Peru, Bolivia, Panama, El Salvador, and India. Cooperation with still other
national programs is now underway. We believe that the resulting procedures
offer cost effective and robust guidelines to national programs.

We are now preparing reports that illustrate the implementation of these
procedures in various national programs. While not all such work can be reported,
we take this opportunity to thank all of those who have collaborated with us.

This report is the result of the collaboration of CIMMYT's Economics
Program and Wheat Training Program to better understand the circumstances of
barley producers in the area where the Wheat Training Program conducts an on-farm
experimental program. The information is being used to better focus these
experiments on key farmer problems.

Donald L. Winkelmann
Director, Economics Program

1.0 Introduction: Purposes of the Survey

Since 1975,CIfMYT's Wheat Training Program has conducted experiments on

improved barley, wheat and triticale technologies in farmers' fields in the

high valleys of the States of Mexico, Hidalgo and Tlaxcala, Mexico. These ex-

periments have been conducted for the primary purpose of familiarizing partic-

ipants in the training program with rainfed wheat, barley and triticale agronomy

and techniques of on-farm experimentation. The experiments have also served to

develop and to some extent, demonstrate improved technologies for wheat and

barley production in the area.

The CIMMYT Economics Program has cooperated with the Wheat Training Program

since 1975. In that year, a small study was conducted on the circumstances of

barley producers in the area, in order to provide information for more closely

focusing experimentation on the problems of typical farmers. The study also

provided price and cost information for economic evaluation of the experimental

results. In 1979, the Economics Program began its own training program, empha-

sizing the role of economists in agricultural research. A major part of this

training consists of field work to design and execute farmer surveys to provide

information for agricultural research decision making.

The survey of farmer practices and problems in barley production described

here was carried out in 1979 in one highland valley by the Economics Program and

the Wheat Training Program, with a number of objectives in mind. These can be

summarized as follows:

1. Training: A primary purpose of the survey was to train economists from

agricultural research programs in the type of information on farmer circumstances

useful in research decision making and in the design and implementation of farmer

surveys to obtain this type of information.

2. Research Decision Making: The surveys was also designed to provide in-

formation to the Wheat Training Program on farmer practices and problems in

research decision making. A number of different types of information are needed

in planning on-farm experimental programs, including:

a. Information on variation in farmer circumstances (both agronamic

Sand socio-eccncnic) to enable grouping of farmers .into fairly homogeneous

groups or reccmrendation domains (RDs) which can be served by the same

experimental program and technological recormendations.

b. Information on production problems and farmer constraints on using

potential improved technologies.

c. Quantitative information on the most cammn practices followed by

farmers as a basis for carparing improved technologies.

d. Quantitative information on farmers and fields as a basis for

selecting representative farmers and fields for experimental work.

e. Information on input/output coefficients and price relationships

faced by farmers that can be used to evaluate improved technologies.

3. Methodology Development: The me hodology used by CIMMYT Econcmics in

assessing farmer circumstances is contoingaly being evaluated. In this case

we wish to compare information obtained by informal and formal survey methods

and to test the value of informal field observations.

This report focuses on the second objective that is, the presentation

and analysis of information on farmer circumstances for, use in designing on-farm

experiments. We first outline the methodology employed, for obtaining data and

then briefly describe the agro-climatic and socio-econanic environments in which

farmers make decisions, Variation in these circumstances is used as a basis for

stratifying the sampled farmers into tentative recommendation domains (RDs). The

fanning system and in particular farmers' barley production practices are pre-

sented and analysed for each RD. The following sections analyse production, income

and risk. This information is synthesized in the final section into implications

for experimental research in the area.

2.0 Methodology

2.1 Selection of the Study Area

A highland valley with Calpulalpan, Apan and Sanctorum as the main

urban centers was chosen as the area for the study. The farmers sampled are
from the Municipios- of Mariano Arista, Calpulalpan and LAzaro Cardenas in the

State of Tlaxcala and the Municipios of Emiliano Zapata and Apan in the State of

Hidalgo (see the map in Figure 3.1). The area is convenient to CIMMYT a half-

hour drive as well as a major barley producing area. In the 1970 agricultural

census, some 10,500 ha were planted to barley in this valley. It is also an

area in which the CIMMYT Wheat Training Prograin has worked extensively since


2.2 General Survey Procedures

The survey procedures followed are described in the CIMMYT Economics Manual

(Byerlee, Collinson, et al, 1980). These are:

a) Assembly of secondary data, in this case primarily climatological data

from the Mexican meteorological service and data from the 1970 agricultural census

which are available at the level of the "municipio".

S-A local government unit.

2/The Wheat Training Program also works in two other distinct zones but to better
achieve the objectives of the survey, we decided to focus on one valley with'
fairly homogeneous climatic characteristics.


o~ )@ / epsopuic

Sn. Mortfn de los *
Piromidcs /
A umba / Apan

Su 'e/En1~iliono Zopoa .oLa'zoro Co; dc
S7 i***...../ .
I z c

A MEXICO Tepetlooxtoc r" I ,
C Logo .tocho
D.F. Calpulolpon
Texcoco Vo' "
\ ~ \anocomllpo

~S-- n. Torum
C9 \spoimto
--=-Tr, /ROAD / o

Figure 3.1 Map Showing Location of Study Area

b) An exploratory survey consisting of informal interviews with farmers

and institutions that serve them such as the official credit bank

(BANRURAL), machinery contractors ("maquiladores") and input suppliers. During

the exploratory survey we went in small groups to a different part of the valley

each day and talked informally to farmers we met on the way.

c) A formal survey was conducted using trained interviewers to administer

a written questionnaire to a randomly chosen sample of farmers. Three interview-

ers were employed. They were sons of local farmers or farmers in their own right,

18-25 years old with at least primary school education. They were given a one

week training course including practice in filling the questionnaire in the field.

The questionnaire was designed on the basis of information learned during the

exploratory survey and focused on farmers' practices and reasons for these


d) A sample of farmers was chosen by randomly locating coordinates on an

aerial photograph of the valley of scale 1:50,000. The point corresponding to a

coordinate was located on the ground and the four barley fields nearest to the

point chosen. The farmers managing these fields .were then identified and inter-

viewed. Only barley fields belonging to distinct farmers that could be identi-

fied within 250 meters of the point were selected. As a result less than four

farmers were interviewed at many points. This sampling procedure probably led

to some bias toward larger farmers who have larger fields and/or larger

number of fields. Therefore regional averages presented below do not

necessarily represent the true picture for the region as a whole. In most cases,

however, we present data disaggregated by subgroups based on farm size or machinery

ownership which removes most of the bias.

e) At the time of sampling or on a return visit a senior researcher infor-

mally made observations on the sampled fields. These included observations on

planting method, stand, weed problems, lodging, frost damage and an "eye ball"

estimate of yield.

2.3 Data Analysis

Basic descriptive statistics on farmer practices and problems were extracted

by hand tabulations. MDre indepth analysis involving cross-tabulations was con-

ducted using the FASAP computer program (Hesse de Polanco and Walker (1980)) and

the SAS statistical package.

3.0 The Agro-Climatic Environment of Farmers

The agro-climatic environment of farmers not only establishes the potential

for crop production but is also the major source of risk in farmer

decision making. Rainfall, frosts, soils and topography are the major elements

of the agro-climatic environment that influence farmers' decisions in the study

area. Disease and pest incidence (except weeds) are often an important element

of the natural environment but were not found to be a significant factor in the

study area, with the exception of weeds.

3.1 Rainfall

Average annual rainfall for points in the study area is shown by the

histograms in Figure 3.2. In general, rainfall decreases as one moves away from

the mountains on the southern side of the valley. Apan on the northern side

of the valley, with an annual rainfall of about 590mm, is therefore somewhat

drier than Calpulalpan and Sanctorum.

Almost all rain falls from April to October with June to September as the

wettest months. May rainfall averages 38mn in the driest point, Apan, and is


APAN (1961-75)
Average Annual Rainfall: 588 mm
Average May-Sept Rainfall: 464 mm
100 98 1-- I ,


J J A S 0 N D

CALPULILPAN (1948-1978)
Average Annual Rainfall: 635 nm
Average Rainfall, May-Sept: 506 mm

(mm) 60


7 10 7













Average monthly
precipitation in
20 percent driest
Average monthly
precipitation in
all years.


11 17


SANCIORUM (1966-78)
Average Annual Rainfall: 742 mn
Average Rainfall, May-Sept: 625 m.


7 I r 5 6







146 149








18 12 6


Figure 3.2 Histogram Showing Monthly Rainfall Distribution for Three Centers
in the Calpulalpan Valley

Source: Unpublished rainfall data from Servicio Meteorol6gico Nacional, 'exico


140 1-



.- . .. -

- ---------


------------- ~~-

I . .. ..


normally sufficient to allow May planting. However, an early planting does run

the risk of the barley maturing in wet weather in September. However, May rain-

fall is somewhat unreliable as the average rainfall in iApan and Calpulalpan is

only 21nm in the 20 percent driest years (see Figure 3.2). In these years

sowing of barley will be delayed into June, shortening the growing season.

Rainfall from June to September is generally quite reliable averaging over

40mn for each of these months even in the 20 percent driest years.

3.2 Frosts

With an average altitude of about 2600 meters above sea level, the length

of the growing season in the study area is also constrained by the incidence of

frosts in the latter part of the season (September and October). Figure 3.3

shows that these frosts can occur as early as the first week of September but

the probability of a frost ( 00C) is not large until the last week of September

and then rises rapidly in October. These data were taken at Calpulalpan near

the center of the valley. Iower lying areas have a higher frost risk while

higher areas on the southern slopes have a much lower risk. This means that

late planted barley (late June) that matures in 120-125 days runs a significant

risk of frost damage in late September and early October. Normally, rainfall

is sufficient to allow earlier planting but farmers who delay planting after

opening rains to control weeds or due to lack of equipment run the risk of

early frosts.

Given these agro-climatic constraints, the ideal situation for the farmers

is to plant when rains are quite reliable in late May/early June using a variety

that is mature by the last week in September and that can be harvested in the

drier weather of October.

f frost (%)

Frost at 0C or less

Frost at -20C or less

1 11 21 1 11 2) 31



Figure 3.3

Cumulative Probability of Frost
at Calpulalpan

in September/October

Source: Unpublish data from Servicio Meteorol6gico Nacional,

3.3 Topography

The great majority of fields in the study area are flat or gently sloping

with some steeper slopes on the southern side of the valley. Erosion on

sloping fields is reduced by planting the perennial cactus, "maguey", on the

contour. However, normally there is sufficient space between the maguey rows

to allow annual crops to be planted between the row using a tractor for land

preparation and planting although machinery efficiency is reduced.

3.4 Climatic Conditions in 1979

In 1979, the year in which the survey was conducted, climatic conditions

were somewhat abnormal in several respects and may have a bearing on the survey

results. First, early rainfall was below average. At Calpulalpan no rain

was recorded in May until May 22. Between May 22 and 30, 51rmn of rain was

received but this was followed by another dry spell in which only 25nmm were

recorded until June 27. As a result, moisture for planting was sometimes

lacking, delaying planting. Also early planted fields were often subject to

considerable moisture stress in June. Finally, killing frosts began on September

25 and continued for several days.

4.0 Socio-Economic Environment

The socio-economic environment consists of markets for inputs and products,

investments in infrastructure, institutions serving agriculture such as banks

and general rules and customs placed on resource use such as land tenure. These

elements are usually regarded by farmers as fixed in their decision making,

although they may have important effects on the practices they follow.

4.1 Infrastructure

The study area is generally well served by roads with two main highways

crossing the valley, several paved lateral roads and an extensive network of

service roads most of which are motorable during the rainy season.

4.2 Product Markets

Two distinct markets exist for barley barley for forage and barley for

malting. Traditionally, most barley was produced for animal forage, either for

the farmers' own animals or for sale. The 1970 Agricultural Census reports

that over 60 percent of barley was produced for forage purposes.

During the 1970's however, the emphasis has switched strongly to production

of barley for malting purposes. This reflects a strong increase in demand for

beer in Mexico with rising population and incomes. Incomplete statistics

indicate that beer production has expanded at an annual growth rate of about 6

percent per annum during the 1970s.

A private organization of major breweries, Inpulsora Agrlcola, has

promoted barley production for malting purposes through distribution of improved

varieties of higher malting quality and technical advice, as well as acting as

a buying agent. Impulsora Agrloola normally announces a fixed buying price

although this is often discounted according to quality. Although this price is

often not available at the time farmers make planting decisions, barley prices

do not seem to be subject to much seasonal or year to year fluctuation. Prices

have risen gradually relative to competing cr9ps. For example, the price of

malting barley has increased about 300 percent from 1974-79 compared to a doubling

of the guaranteed price of maize./

To sell directly to Impulsora Agricola, farmers must -take their barley to

one of its few buying points. Because of this, most farmers sell to intermediaries

--In 1980 farmers are lobbying for a substantial price increase from Impulsora
Agrlcola. (Excelsior, 29 September, 1980) However the guaranteed price of
maize has also increased substantially.

who purchase barley at the farm gate and transport it to a buying point of

Impulsora Agricola.-

4.3 Input Markets

Major input suppliers in the area are private stores (the veterinarians") ,

Impulsora Agrlcola, FERTIMEX and the official bank, BANRURAL. The veterinarians

distribute seed and herbicides but fertilizer must be purchased through FERTIMEX

outlets or as part of a loan in kind from BANRURAL. FERTIMEX stores are located

in nost of the larger centers but fertilizer supplies are very erratic and

farmers who do not take bank credit often must travel a considerable distance

to obtain fertilizer. BANRURAL distributes inputs of seed, fertilizer and

herbicide as part of its loan.

4.4 Credit

As just noted, credit in kind and sometimes as cash for machinery expenses

is available from BANRURAL at modest interest rates of 14-16 percent per annum

on a standard loan of $3000-3500/ha. BANRURAL particularly works with the

ejido sector. However, terms of the loans and the type and quality of inputs

included in the loans vary with the branch of BANRURAL. In particular, part

of the study area is in the state of Tlaxcala and the other in the state of

Hidalgo, so that branches of BANRURAL fall into different administrative districts.

4.5 Research and Extension

A primary activity of extension is to provide technical advice to farmers

working with the credit program of BANRURAL. They do not have a demonstration

program nor is there a research program operating in the area to provide

SA more detailed description of the role of Impulsora Agricola, see Mdellin

recommendations to farmers. Nonetheless the National Agricultural Research

Institute (INIA), has established recommendations for barley production in the

area which are promoted by Impulsora Agricola. These are shown in Table 4.1.

Extensive experimentation on varieties and agronomic practices as well as

demonstration of technological packages has been conducted by the CIMMYT Wheat

Training Program. Although the primary purpose of these experiments is training,

they have no doubt had same impact on the spread of new technologies.

4.6 Land Tenure

The major land tenure arrangement in the area is that of the ejido with

ejidatarios managing their land allotment individually. Private ownership is

also connon. Many farmers rent additional land on a share or cash basis. Although

legally ejido land may not be rented or sold, nuch of this rented land is probably

ejido land. During 1979 the going rental price for land was about $1000/ha-/

4.7 Labor Market

The local labor market is strongly influenced by the proximity of the study

area to Mexico City as well as by the location of factories in or near the area.

The industrial complex, Ciudad Sahagunis only a few kilometers outside the area.

As a result, there are strong alternative employment opportunities in the non-

agricultural sector. The high wage rate for agricultural labor relative to other

rural areas of Mexico ($100/day in 1979) reflects this labor scarcity. The

scarcity of labor, reflected in rising wage rates, has been an important factor

encouraging mechanization in the area, especially labor intensive activities

such as harvesting. (Hesse de Polanco and Byerlee (1981).)

4.8 Machinery Market

An active market for rental of tractor services for land preparation and

planting and for combine harvesting exists in the area. Machinery renters,

1All monetary units are in Mexican pesos. Approximately $23 Mexican = $US 1.00

Table 4.1 General Recortendations for Barley Production in
Calpulalpan/Apan Area

Land Preparation


Sowing Date

Sowing Rate



Plough and harrow after harvest
followed by a second ploughing and
harrowing .before planting. Alterna-
tively, harrow after harvest, followed
by ploughing 6 weeks later and another
harrowing before planting.

Apizaco, Puebla, Cerro Prieto,

1 May to 15 June. After 15 June
plant only Cerro Prieto or Puebla.

100 kg/ha

Calpulalpan 60 kg N/ha, 30 kg P/ha

2 It/ha of Esteron 47 in 200 Its.
water applied 20-30 days after
For wild oats 4 It/ha of Finaven
20-30 days after planting.

Source: 'Impulsora Agricola (1977)


commonly known as maquiladores, may be entrepreneurs with their own plant

specializing in this activity. Or they may be farmers in their own right who

charge-off some of the capital cost of machinery ownership by performing contract

work for neighbors after completing work on their own farm. There are also some

maquiladores from other regions such as the Bajio with a different agricultural

calendar who move machinery (often by train) to the area for planting and


According to the 1970 Agricultural Census there was one tractor for every

40 cultivated hectares in the area. This is a relatively favorable ratio although

it is not clear if the census figures includes all tractors or only tractors in

working order. The ratio is likely to have become even more favorable since 1970.

5.0 Grouping Farmers into Recommendation Domains

One decision that must be made early in a research program is the division

of farmers into relatively homogeneous groups or recommendation domains that

is, farmers with similar problems for whom we can make one recommendation. It

is necessary to try to make this division early in the program since research

might be orientated differently for each group of farmers.

From secondary data and conversations during the exploratory survey we

concluded that the study area is quite homogeneous agro-climatically but hetero-

geneous with respect to socio-economic characteristics of farmers. The only

important agro-climatic variation seems to occur on the southern slopes of the

valley (e.g. around Nanacamilpa and San Marcos) where rainfall is higher and

risk of frost lower than in the valley floor. This subregion therefore has a

longer, more certain growing season that favors longer season crops such as

maize and wheat, as well as later maturing barley varieties. However, the area

is small relative to the total area studied and we did not deem it worthwhile to

consider this variation in defining recommendation domains.-/

Farmers are quite heterogeneous with respect to such interrelated charac-

teristics as farm size, land tenure, machinery ownership and use of credit, al-

though it is not immediately clear that these differences are sufficiently large

to warrant different sets of recommendations. One guide is the extent to which

farmers' current practices correlate with these characteristics. Analysis

showed that many cultural practices, especially land preparation were significant-

ly correlated with these characteristics. Production practices tended to be more

cash and machinery intensive with increasing farm size, with a greater proportion

of land farmed under individual or share land tenure, and with increasing owner-

ship of farm machinery.

The criterion, tractor ownership, was chosen for tentative stratification.

This clearly divided sampled farmers into two grgqus those who rented tractors

(37 farmers) and those who owned tractors (50 farmers). Some of the former

group also used horses for some operations but only one farmer in the sample

used horses for all land preparation and planting activities. Tractor ownership

is of course highly correlated with farm size but it was hypothesized that the basic

characteristic determining practices of large farmers was tractor ownership.

That is, farmers who own a tractor can perform land preparation and planting in

a more timely manner than those who must await the services of a rented tractor.

Moreover, because of the sensitive nature of land tenure in the area, we felt

that information on farm size would be less reliable than information on tractor

ownership for purposes of stratification.

/This subregion also consists of smaller farmers so that some of this variation
is captured in the subsequent stratification by farm type.

Results showing the different practices of the two hypothesized groups of

farmers will be presented in the following sections. In the conclusions we

shall summarize these differences and again examine whether two separate

recommendation domains (RDs) are justified.

6.0 General Features of the Farming System and Farmers' Resources

6.1 The Farming System and its Evolution

General features of the farming system are summarized in Tables 6.1 and

6.2. Barley is by far the most important farming enterprise in the area. The

1970 Agricultural Census indicates that 73 percent of annual cropped areas was

planted to barley. This percentage seems to have increased recently to over 85

percent of annual crop area in the sampled farmers in 1979.

Maize makes up most of the residual area of 10-20 percent planted to other

crops. Maize is of course the traditional staple food and over two thirds of

farmers continue to plant enough maize for subsistence purposes. Maize area

increases only marginally with farm size so tha" larger farmers are almost

entirely specialized in barley production (Tqbl 612), It may be, however,

that 1979 maize area was below normal because of poor rains in April when

maize is normally planted and a frost in June which resulted in some badly

damaged maize fields being replanted to barley.

nonetheless, there is evidence that farmers are slowly reducing the area

sown to maize. Compared to five years ago, farmers claim to have reduced I~aize

area by about 16 percent. Half of the farmers claimed to have decreased maize

area while another 37 percent were growing the same area of maize. Only 13

percent had increased their area in maize. According to farmers the low price

Table 6.1 Cropping Patterns and Farmers' Resources by Recomrendation Domain

Recommendation Domain
Tractor Tractor
Renters Owners

Statistical Signi-
ficance on Diffe-
rences between RDs -

Number of Farmers
Average Farm Size (ha)


Area Planted to Barley
Area Planted to Maize
Area Planted to Other Crops-/
Farmers Plant Maize
Intercrop with Maguey

Rotation Practices
Percent Planted Barley after Maize
Percent Continuous Barley for
Five Years
Land Tenure
Percent Ejido Land
Percent Privately Owned Land
Percent Rented Land
Average Number of Fields
Average Size of Field (ha)
Machinery Ownership
Percent Own Disc Plough
Disc Harrow
Combine Harvester
Credit Percent Receive Credit
from Official Bank
Labor Percent Hire Labor
Percent have Off-Farm Incomp












/ Mostly habas and frijol (broadbeans and beans)
b/ Differences between the two groups are significant at 5 percent level using a
Chi-squaredtest for percentages and t-test for means.

Table 6.2 Cropping Patterns and Farmers' Resources by
Farm Size Group

Farm Size Group
<5ha 5-10ha 10-20ha 20-40ha 40-100ha 100ha+
Distribution of Farmers by Farm
Size Percent 15 26 22 17 13 7
Cropping Pattern
Percent Area Planted to
Barley 73 74 77 83 82 99
Land Tenure
Percent Ejido Land 97 84 60 63 44 2
Percent Privately Owned
Land 3 0 29 9 37 37
Percent Rented Land 0 16 11 28 19 61
Average Number Fields 2.2 2.8 3.1 5.1 5.3 7.7
Tractors Percent Own 25 35 53 73 100 100
Percent Owners Doing 1
Custom Work 50 50 40 55 27 43
Credit Percent Receive Credit
from Offical Bank 0 22 53 53 55 57

of maize and the high labor requirements were major reasons for reducing maize

area although the risk associated with the longer growing season of maize

probably also plays a role. Nonetheless, most farmers expressed the intention

of growing about the same amount of maize in the future to satisfy subsistence


As the area of barley increases relative to maize, there is also a tendency

toward sowing continuous barley in the same field. Figure 6.1 shows that in

the selected fields, a barley-maize or barley-beans rotation is practiced by

over half of small farmers but as farm size increases the continuous barley

rotation becomes overwhelmingly dominant. This trend toward continuous barley

cropping may lead to a build up of weed problems although few farmers seem to

observe this.

In addition to annual crops, the perennial cactus, maguey, is widely grown

in the area for the extraction of agua-miel which is processed into an alcoholic

drink, pulque. Generally maguey is grown in rows 6-32 meters apart on the

contour at a density of 250-500 plants/ha. It is usually planted on sloping

land as an important means of reducing soil erosion. Annual crops are then

sown between the maguey rows.

About 40 percent of farmers were cultivating paguey although, in some cases,

maguey has been restricted to the borders of fields. Maguey like maize is widely

perceived to be a less profitable and more labor intensive crop than barley.

In addition, farmers must wait 8-10 years to harvest a maguey plant. Even more

than maize it seems to be declining in importance. Forty percent of maguey

producers did not replace a plant when harvested and one-third stated that they

expected to stop maguey production completely. This trend is less pronounced

Ml Barley following maize or beans
[-] Barley sown continuously for five years

60- 58 53
4- 44
33 36 32

0-5ha 5-10ha 10-20ha 20-40ha 40-100ha 100-

Figure 6.1 Percentage of Farmers Who are Using Two Different Rotations
by Farm Size


among smaller farmers, many of whom find the year round secure source of cash

income a considerable advantage. Moreover, production risk arising from

weather variability is very low or negligible in the case of maguey production.

However the general decline in the area planted to maguey does have important

implications for long-term soil conservation.

Finally, livestock are of some importance in the area. Many farmers have

flocks of a few cows, sheep and goats. Barley straw is fed to these animals

by grazing them in the field or, in many cases, the straw is baled and sold.

6.2 Land and Land Tenure

In the sample of farmers, land is quite unequally distributed. As a rough

measure the smallest forty percent of farmers (i.e. with less than 10 ha each)

farm only 10 percent of the area while the largest 20 percent of farmers (i.e.

with over 40 ha each) farm 66 percent of the area (Figure 6.2). However,

caution is needed in extrapolating these figures to the region. We have already

noted the bias toward larger farmers implied by the sampling method. Further-

more, we believe that because of the sensitive nature of land tenure some

farmers substantially understated their area so that the proportion of small

farmers is inflated.

Distribution of land within each RD is shown in Figure 6.2. Among tractor

renters there is relatively little variation in farm size, with almost all having

less than 20 ha. Among tractor owners there is great diversity in farm size. In

particular, there was a small group of farmers who farmed over 100 ha and up to

250 ha.

Land tenure status is quite closely related to farm size (see Table 6.2).

Small farmers largely farm under the ejido tenure system. As farm size increases,

LA/ comron index of inequality, the Gini coefficient, was calculated as a high
0.58 for land distribution anmng the sampled farmers.




S0o 26 4b 100



- ~



Distribution of Farm Size by Tractor Ownership






20 -


10 -

5 10 20

I _1 I 4vM---



Figure 6.2

privately owned land and land rental becomes more important. The largest farmers

with over 100 ha particularly have increased farm size through land rental. bMst

land is rented on a share rental basis with either a two-thirds or a one-half

share to the renter being most common. The renter normally pays all production

costs except harvest costs which are shared according to the share of output.

Both the number of fields as well as the size of the field increase with

the farm size. Some larger farmers have ten or nore scattered fields of varying

sizes. This number and distribution of plots means that mechanical operations

are somewhat less efficient although the switch from animal power to tractor

power has made the management of scattered parcels more practical. Farmers

also recognize that the scattering of plots reduces risks from frosts and drought.

6.3 Machinery Ownership

As expected, machinery ownership is dependent on tractor ownership. Almost

all tractor owners also own a three-disp plough and an offset disc harrow.

Roughly half of tractor owners also own a drill, truck and/or a combine har-

vester. Tractor ownership is closely related to farm size (Table 6.2). We

hypothesized that few small farmers would own tractors and those who did would

also contract services to other small farmers. In fact, there is little relation-

ship between farm size and performance of custom work off-farm. About half of

tractor owners who claim to farm less than 20 hectares of land do not perform

custom work off-farm which leads us to suspect that farm size was understated by

this group of farmers. Also, it should be recalled that farmers with surplus

machinery capacity can also utilize this capacity by expanded sharecropping.

6.4 Credit

A little over one-third of farmers in the sample received credit from the

official bank in the form of inputs of seed, fertilizer and herbicide. About

half of this number, or one-sixth of farmers in the sample, also received credit

in cash primarily for machinery hire or operation. Very few tractor renters or

farmers with less than 20 hectares of land, received credit (Table 6.2). There-

fore, one of the major cash expenses, rental of tractor services, is paid from

the farmers' own sources or from credit borrowed from other sources (used by

about 12 percent of farmers).

It is not clear why more small farmers are not obtaining credit from the

bank. Most credit users seemed to be pleased with services they were receiving

although a few complained that inputs were more expensive through bank sources.

On the other hand many felt that the agricultural insurance which is mandatory

for credit users was an important advantage of working with the official bank.

6.5 Labor

Despite the relatively high level of mechanization in the area, most

farmers hire some labor for farm work. A substantial proportion of farmers also

have off-farm sources of income such as work on other farms or a business. Some

farmers and particularly many farxier' pons are full-time workers in one of the

nearby factories. This availability of non-farm employment has reduced the

supply of hired labor for farm work.

7.0 Farmers' Barley Production Practices

7.1 Land Preparation

Land preparation practices are summarized in Table 7.1. Except for a very

few small farmers on the southern slopes, almost all power is provided by

tractors. Many farmers harrow immediately after harvesting (and removal of straw

to incorporate the stubble and kill any weeds still growing at the end of the season

Table 7.1 Land Preparation Practices By Recommendation Domain

Reconmiendation Domain
Tractor Tractor
Renters Owners

Statistical Signi-
ficance on Diffe-
rences between PDss-


do Pre-Plough Harrow
Plough in Oct-Dec

Percent Consider Best Time to Plough
Percent do Subsoil Ploughing
Percent Harrow Zero Times
Three Times
Desired Number of Harrowings
Percent Post-Plough Harrow the First
Time in Oct-Dec
Percent Farmers Expressed Difficulty
in Hiring a Tractor in Periods of
High Demand

a/** Differences significant at the 5 percent
n.a. Not applicable.

level based of Chi-squared test.






This is followed by a ploughing with a three-disc plough. The date at which

this ploughing is done varies by recommendation domain. About two-thirds of all

farmers in both RDs consider it is best to plough in November or December,

immediately after the previous harvest (see Table 7.1), in order to utilize end

of season moisture and allow sufficient time for decomposition of crop residues.

In fact only 17 percent of tractor renters and 32 percent of tractor owners

ploughed in this period. One-third of tractor renters ploughed after the

beginning or the rains in April although very few tractor owners followed this

practice. The most common reasons given for not ploughing at the desired time

were inability to remove straw from the field and lack of moisture. Tractor

renters also cited lack of tractor availability or lack of ready cash as reasons

for not ploughing early.

A minority of farmers also practiced subsoil ploughing during the 1979

season, usually after the initial ploughing. However, this does not appear to

be a popular practice as two-thirds of farmers who had ever done subsoil

ploughing thought they would not do it again.

Intensity of secondary tillage also varies substantially by RD. Tractor

renters most conmonly harrow once while tractor owners usually harrow twice

(Table 6.1). Moreover, most tractor renters do not harrow for the first time

until immediately before sowing in May and June. Both the timing and number of

harrowings suggests that larger farmers owning tractors are using secondary

tillage to control weeds and prepare a better seed bed over the dry season while

smaller farmers renting tractors do not begin this process until after the

opening rains.

/Later informal interviews indicate that some farmers plough twice in cross-wise
directions. However, the questionnaire did not specifically ask about this

Again the intensity of secondary tillage is related to tractor availability

since both groups of farmers desired at least two arrowinigs before planting

(Table 6.1). After a rain during the dry season there is a relatively short

period of time when moisture conditions are suitable for harrowing. However,

many farmers who rent tractors stated that they have difficulty'obtaining a

tractor in periods when there is a high demand for tractor services. When

asked to estimate the wait required to obtain tractor services, most farmers

estimated that they needed to give one to two weeks notice to a maquiladora" .

Among small fanrers, the need to have cash on hand ($200/ha) at the right time

was also felt to be a problem affecting timeliness of operations.

In summary, tractor renters use significantly less intensive land prepara-

tion practices than tractor owners. The need for a renter to find a tractor

when moisture conditions are right and then find the cash to pay for the service

apparently is a severe constraint on more intensive land preparation.

7.2 Planting

Broadcasting seed and covering with a tractor-drawn disc harrow is the

common planting method used by farmers in the area although a larger area is

probably planted by drills. There is still a relatively limited rental market

for drills. Among tractor renters a few farmers are also renting a drill for

planting. Almost half of tractor owners, however, planted with a drill.

Drilling does involve some extra cost. As a general rule farmers who use

a drill also disc harrow immediately before drilling in order to kill remaining

weeds and provide a more even seed bed. This is an operation normally performed

when broadcasting in order to cover the seed. Therefore the cost of drilling is

the difference between drill rental, about $250/ha, and hand broadcasting

at about $50/ha that is, an extra cost of about $200/ha.

Most farmers in the informal survey noted that the optimal time for planting,

given adequate moisture, was the end of May and the beginning of June. In fact,

as shown in Table 7.2 this was the most popular time for planting among farmers

in both RDs. Moreover the distribution of planting dates is almost identical

for both group of farmers.

Table 7.2 Planting Time and Method by Recommendation Domain

Percent Use Drill
Percent of Farmers Using Drill who
Rent the Drill
Percent Plant
Before Last Week May
Last Week May and First Week June
After First Week June
Seed Rate (kg/ha)
Source of Seed (Percent by Source)
Previous Year's harvest
Official Bank
Impulsora Agricola
Special Purchases in the Bajfo

Recommendation Domain












Statistical Signi-
ficance of Differ-
ences between RDs a/



.1 ,1

a** Significant at the 5 percent level


using Chi-squared test.

However, a further disaggregation shows that planting date is a function of

both farm size and planting method. As shown in Figure 7.1, farmers who drill

plant significantly earlier than farmers who broadcast. Moreover, among farmers

who broadcast, fields of larger farmers with 20 ha or more were planted signifi-

cantly later than fields of farmers with less than 20 ha. (Among farmers who

drill the distribution of planting dates was almost identical for small and

large farmers.) These relationships are of course expected, given that one person

can only broadcast about 2-3 ha per day. A large number of workers is needed to

complete planting by broadcasting in a short period of time on large farms. At

the same time, farmers using a drill plant 10 to 20 ha per day without the use

of hired labor.

Figure 7.1 shows that by the end of the first week of June, 90 percent of

farmers using a drill had planted the sampled field but only. 73 percent of small

farmers and 58 percent of large farmers who broadcast had planted. Given that

planting after the first week of June significantly increases the risk of frost

damage in large September and early October it seems that one of the major

advantages of drilling is nore timely planting and reduced risk. Drilling may

also enable a more even stand by placing seed at a uniform depth.-

The overall result is that tractor owners who consist of both large

farmers who use a drill and large farmers who broadcast do not plant any

earlier on average than tractor renters. However, variation in planting dates

anmng tractor owners is much higher as a result of different methods of planting.

--/owever we have observed farmers obtaining excellent stands by broadcasting on
a well prepared seed bed. Some farmers also claim that scattering of seed
throughout the soil profile at varying depth increases the probability of
obtaining early emergence when soil moisture is limiting.




Percent of
field by


All Farmers Drilling

/ 00

Small Farmers Broadcastin
S (<20 ha)

Large Farmers Broadcasting
(2 20 ha)

B I -

1 2
<- May

3 4 1 ? 3
> <-- June

Planting Date (Month'and Week)

Figure 7.1

Cumulative Distribution of P)anting Dates in Selected
Fields by Planting Method and Farm Size


The seeding rate varies between 90 and 130 kg/ha with an average of 115 kg/ha.

We hypothesized that farmers broadcasting would use a higher seeding rate than

farmers who drill but average rates are almost identical for each group. The

source of seed does however varies substantially between the two recommendation

domains. Farmers renting tractors largely planted seed saved from the previous

year while farmers owning tractors generally purchased seed, usually through the

Rural Credit Bank. A few of the larger farmers make special trips to the Bajlo

each year to obtain new supplies of seed from barley grown under irrigation in

that region during the winter. Purchased seed was generally pricedat $5.0-5.5/

kg or about twice the selling price of cormiercial barley.

7.3 Varieties

Year of release and days to maturity of varieties planted by sampled farmers

over the last three years are shown in Tpble 7.3. A total of six varieties were

encountered in the survey. There is very little difference in the varieties

planted between the two groups of farmers.

Common a tall "local" variety introduced to Mexico by the Spanish in the

XVI Century is now only planted by a few small farmers in the area. It is highly

regarded for its forage value but it has low malting quality and does not respond

well to improved management, particularly the application of nitrogen which

causes it to lodge severely. Oomnun has been replaced by improved varieties

released by INIA since the early 1960's. One of the earliest of these INIA

varieties was Apizaco which became the major variety planted in the area. Api-

zaco is still widely grown but a newer and earlier variety, Cerro Prieto, is

now equally common. Moreover, a comparison across the years 1977 to 1979 shows

that Cerro Prieto has been rapidly replacing Apizaco during this period.

Tabe 73 aritie Pantd~yfa~rsinEac Pan~~ndtin Dm~i Drin te Lst hre Yar


Cerro Prieto

Approx. Days
to Maturity a/


Approx. Years P-
leased in Area -


Variety Planted
Tractor Renters I Tractor Owners

-~~~ -- -- -- -=





I 5

1977 1979
20 0
44 38
16 8
12 30
4 16
4 10

1978 1977



Know Consider
Variety Best Variety


a/ Information from Riojas Guadiana (1976) and personal observations.

Table 7.3 Varieties Planted by Farmers in

Each Recommendation Domain During the Last Three Years

Interestingly this trend is strongest among the smaller farmers (i.e. tractor

renters). Celaya is another older variety of lower malting quality whose use

is declining. Puebla and Centinela are newer varieties of yet earlier maturity

which have recently increased in importance, although they are still only sown

by a relatively small number of farmers. The sowing of Puebla may have peaked

because of difficulties farmers experience in selling it for malting purposes.

Farmers also tend to plant late maturing varieties earlier. Figure 7.2

shows that there is a clear preference towards planting Apizaco up to the

third week of May, after which Cerro Prieto is more commonly planted.

It is clear that farmers in the region have wide knowledge of varieties

in the area and are continually experimenting with new varieties. In fact,

only Centinela, the latest variety released, was not widely known in the area.

Some two-thirds of farmers changed varieties over the period 1977-79.

Farmers were also asked to name, from the varieties they knew, the "best"

variety for their needs and to rank these varieties with respect to certain

characteristics (see Table 7.3). Apizaco emerged as the most popular single

variety largely because of its proven yield and quality characteristics and

because it exhibits few problems of lodging and shattering. Nonetheless,

farmers consider earliness as an important characteristic and many preferred

one of the newer earlier varieties, Cerro Prieto, Puebla and Centinela. Al-

though Cerro Prieto is sown by almost one-third of farmers, it is preferred

by only 20 percent of farmers. Farmers consider that Cerro Prieto has more

problems of lodging and especially of shattering if harvesting is not completed

soon after maturity. On the other hand, Celaya was equally preferred to Cerro

percent of
fields plant-
ed with variety

100 -




60 -

.50 -

40 -

30 -

20 -



1' i 1 2'
< May > <

Date of Planting (Month-Week)

Figure 7.2 Relationship Between Date of Planting

June >

and Variety Planted

_ 1

Prieto although grown by less than 10 percent of farmers. The lower preference

for Puebla and Centinela probably reflects the fact that these varieties are

less well known.

The fact that farmers sometimes plant a variety other than the preferred

variety seems to reflect several factors. Seed availability was mentioned by

many farmers. For example, Cerro Prieto seed was widely available in 1979.

Moreover, farmers who worked with the bank often did not plant their preferred

variety because they were constrained to use the seed provided by the bank.

Only 41 percent of farmers receiving official credit planted their preferred

variety compared to 70 percent of farmers working independently. The late

start to the rainy season in 1979 may have caused some farmers to switch to an

earlier variety such as Cerro Prieto although, as we have seen, the trend away

from Apizaco and Celaya toward Cerro Prieto has occurred consistently over the

last three years. Finally, farmers may simply be expressing a preference for

the older varieties with which they have had more experience.

7.4 Fertilizer

Although most farmers have had experience using fertilizer on barley we

found it quite difficult to obtain reliable information on fertilizer use during

the interviews. A number of different fertilizers are used by farmers, but

farmers often did not know the name or nutrient composition of the fertilizer

they used. Most often it was distinguished by color black or white or by

referring to the bag in which fertilizer came. The following data on fertilizer

should therefore be interpreted cautiously.

In 1979 a little over a half of farmers in RDI (tractor renters) and

alrrost all farmers in RDII (tractor owners) used fertilizer (Table 7.4).

Table 7.4 Farmers Practices By Recommendation Domain
for Use of Fertilizer and Herbicide

Recommendation Domain
Tractor Renters Tractor Owners
Percent Farmers Ever Used Fertilizer on Barley 73 96
Percent Farmers Applied Fertilizer in 1979 57 88
Percent Fertilizer Users Applied Nitrogen 93 98
Percent Fertilizer Users Applied Phosphorous 56 88
Percent Fertilizer Users Applied Potassium 12 5
Average Dose of Nitrogen for Fertilizer Users (kg/ha) 49 63
Average Dose of Phosphorous for Fertilizer Users (kg/ha) 20 40
Percent Users Apply by Hand 19 47
Percent Users who Split Application 14 32

Percent Farmers who Ever Used Herbicide on Barley 86 100
Percent Applied Herbicide in 1979 75 88
Average Dose Esteron 47 (It/ha) users 0.65 0.80
Percent Farmers Applied with Back Pack Sprayer users 100 91

Fertilizer users applied nitrogen at an average dosage of 50-60 kg/ha. Phospho-

rous was applied at a rate of about 40 kg/ha P205 if used, but only about half of

fertilizer users in RD1 used phosphorous. Most tractor renters broadcast the

fertilizer by hand but machine application.1was common among tractor owners.

These average figures, however, obscure a great deal of variability in

fertilizer use among sampled farmers. As shown in Figure 7.3 this variability

is less in the case of nitrogen where most farmers apply between 40 and 60 kg/ha

of nutrient. In the case of phosphorous, the most common application is around

23 kg/ha (one 50 kg bag of triple superphosphate or 18-46-0 per hectare) but

the variation in dosis is much greater. Over half the farmers claimed to have

applied nitrogen and phosphorous at a ratio of less than 1.7:1 which indicates a

rather high rate of phosphorous use relative to nitrogen.

The official bank has had a substantial impact on fertilizer use by giving

loans in kind. Table 7.5 shows that all farmers working with the official bank

applied fertilizer but only a little over one-third of small farmers, not receiving

credit, applied fertilizer. To a large extent this reflects problems of fertilizer

availability in the area. Most of the larger farmers not working with the bank

applied fertilizer but they often journeyed 50 km or more to points outside the

area to obtain the fertilizer. Note that there is little difference in the

levels of fertilizer used between fertilizer users who work with the bank and

those who work independently.

About one-fifth of the surveyed farmers had applied organic fertilizer in

1978 or 1979. In particular, about half of the farmers who applied no chemical

fertilizer used organic fertilizer. Most organic fertilizer was from the

farmers' own animals and was spread by hand. In most cases, the quantities

applied were quite low in terms of nutrient value.



0 20 40 60 80+
kg/ha N

Figure 7.3

0 20

I .

40 60 80+
Kg/ha P

Distribution of Ratep of Nitrogen and Phosphorous
Anong Fertilizer Users


Table 7.5 Fertilizer Use by Farm Size
and Use of Official Credit

Percent Farmers Use Fertilizer
Average Dose of Nitrogen of
Users (kg/ha
Average Dose of Phosphorous of
Users (kg/ha)

Farners Less than 20 ha
Independent_ Official Bank
38 100

47 51

18 29

Farmers Over 20 ha
Independent/ Official B.

VFarners who do not receive credit from the official bank



Finally we asked farmers about their perceived yield increase from using

chemical fertilizer. Prices paid by farmers for chemical fertilizer in 1979

were approximately $3.2/kg for Urea (46 percent N) and $3.l/kg for Triple

Superphosphate (46 percent P). With a transport charge of $10 per 50 kg bag,

application labor of 0.5 mandays/ha and capital costs of 25 percent, an average

dose of 60 kg/ha N and 35 kg/ha P would require a 350 kg/ha increase in yields

to cover costs. In fact farmers estimated average yield increases of about 1.0

ton/ha well above the breakeven level. Moreover, farmers did not perceive

fertilizer as a risky investment. Over two-thirds of farmers estimated yield

increases above the breakeven level even in the worst years.

7.5 Weed Control

Weed control in the area is achieved through secondary tillage operations,

herbicide application and, on a lifiited scale, rotation and selective manual

control. Secondary tillage has been discussed under land preparation and here

we document other weed control methods, especially herbicide use.

Use of the 2-4, D product, Esteron 47, has become almost universal in the

area with some 94 percent of farmers having used-this product. The number of

farmers applying herbicide during 1979 was somewhat lower, possibly due to the

dry weather after planting.

Farmers apply 2-4, D at a rate considerable below the recommended dosage

oD :2 It/ha of commercial product (1 It/ha active ingredient). The modal dosages

was in fact only 0.75 It/ha of commercial product and many farmers applied only

0.5 It/ha and same as little as 0.3 It/ha. In fact, no farmers in the sample

applied the reconaended dose. Nonetheless, most farmers achieved good broadleaf

weed control with these dosages.

On average in normal weather conditions farmers estimated that application

of 2-4, D increases yields by about 500 kg/ha, substantially above the 85 kg/ha

needed to cover the cost of application./ Furthermore, farmers probably benefit

from reduced impurities in their grain sample and hence lower discounts on prices

received for barley.

Back-pack sprayers are used by 94 percent of farmers in the sample to apply

herbicides. Even most of the largest farmers, with 100 ha or more of barley,

use back-pack sprayers by employing teams of several workers, each with a sprayer.

Farmers estimate that 2 to 4 ha of barley can be sprayed by one worker in a day so

that a team of 5 workers might be able to spray 100 ha in a week. Given prices

of labor of $100/day in 1979, the cost of manual application is $25-50/ha for

labor plus cost of the sprayer. Since sprayers rent for $30-40/day or $15-20/ha

the cost of manual application is from $40-70/ha. It is unlikely that a tractor

and boom sprayer could compete with the cost of bak-pack sprayer application

although the tractor would probably provide more even application over the field.

Farmers generally felt that Esteron 47 gave good control of broadleaf weeds

except for "calabacilla", from the curcubita family. However, the widespread

use of 2-4, D does not mean that there are ro broadleaf weed problems in the area.

As shown in Table 7.6, our own observations in farmers' fields subjectively rated

only one-half of fields as clean of broadleaf weeds and nearly one quarter of

fields as badly infested. Many of the badly infested fields had not been sprayed

during 1979. However, most of those fields in the moderately infested category

had been sprayed but the level of control achieved was quite low even for weeds

/Cost of application, calculated as 0.75 It/ha of Esteron 47 at $160/lt, 0.5
manday/ha for application, $20/ha for rent of the hand sprayer and 25 percent
capital cost. Additional harvesting costs are assumed to be negligible and
the price of barley at the farm gate is taken as $2.75/g.

normally controlled by 2-4, D. This might arise from the low dosage, unsuitable

climate conditions at the time of spraying or late application. Climatic

conditions probably played some part since earlier planted fields were suffering

considerable drought stress at the normal time for 2-4, D application. Many

weeds recovered or new seeds germinated with heavy rains following the dry period .

Nonetheless, we have also observed a considerable variation in the time of appli-

cation in relation to crop growth. Figure 7.4 shows the distribution of weeks

after planting in which 2-4, D was applied by sampled farmers. Assuming that

the optimal time for 2-4, D application in the area is 4-5 weeks after planting,

over half of the farmers applied 2-4, D outside this period mostly later.

Moreover, there was some association between weed problems and date of application.

Sixty-three percent of fields sprayed 4-5 weeks after planting were weed free

compared to 50 percent of fields sprayed six weeks or later after planting.

The lack of good weed control on many fields sprayed with herbicide probably'

reflects farmers management in choosing the right time and dose of application.

Since use of chemical weed control is a relatively new practice in the area, we

hypothesize that farmers are still adjusting their management practices as they

gain more experience.

Most farmers also were aware that 2-4, D does not kill grassy weeds, es-

pecially wild oats, the main grassy weed in the area. As shown in Table 7.6 our

field observations indicate that wild oats is not yet a major problem weed al-

though subjectively we estimated that it was causing substantial yield losses in

15 percent of fields inspected. Another 29 percent of fields had many plants

with the potential to build-up to a serious problem.

Most farmers were aware of the potential problem of wild oat infestation

and felt that tillage methods were the most efficient control mechanism. In fact,

Table 7.6 Ratings of Weed Problems Based on Field Observations

Rating of Weed Problem-/ Broadleaf Weeds Wild Oats
Serious 23 15
Moderate '28 29
Little or None 49 56
100 100

!Based on authors' observations in the
sampling technique. As a rough guide
at least a 10 percent yield loss on a
problems" a 5-10 percent yield loss.



2 ton/ha

fields selected by the
weed problems" represent
crop and "moderate weed

4 i4

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Weeks after planting

Figure 7.4 Histogram Showing the Distribution of Weeks after Planting
of the Application the Herbicide, Esteron 47


fields of tractor owners who have greater flexibility in timing and number of

secondary tillage operations showed somewhat less problems with wild oats than

tractor renters. Some farmers also try to rotate with a row-crop such as maize

or beans when they notice a wild oat built up. Use of such a rotation for wild

oat control requires excellent weed control in the row-crop which is not the case

for many farmers. Also rotation is not a feasible strategy for large farmers

who grow very little maize. A few farmers also selectively weed wild oat plants

by hand as a control measure. Finally, a few farmers are aware of the herbicide

Finaven for the control of wild oats but none are using it. They consider that,

at present, the cost of Finaven use of about $750/ha would not be repaid.

With a tendency toward cultivation of continuous barley and better control of

broadleaf weeds, an increase in wild oats as a serious weed problem is expected.

However, this trend is probably being counteracted at present by improvements in

land preparation, particularly the increased number and improved timing of

secondary tillage operations.

7.6 Harvesting and Crop Disposal

In recent years, combine harvesting has replaced hand harvesting for most

farmers in the area. Only 5 percent of the sampled farmers all small farmers -

now harvest by hand.-/ The average cost of combine harvesting in the previous

Season 1978 was $600/ha or equivalent to six days labor. This is substantially

cheaper than could be expected for hand harvesting and machine threshing. The

rain disadvantage of machine harvesting is the shortage of machines during the

peak harvesting period so that those who rent combines usually have to wait two

to three weeks or more to obtain the services of a contractor. Machine harvesting

might also be delayed if the rainy season extends into October.

-nHand harvesting is usually only performed where maguey rows are sown too close
to allow entry of a combine. In wet weather, smaller farmers may also harvest
by hand rather than await dry weather for combine harvesting.

After harvesting about half of the farmers also use a mechanical baler to

cut and bale the straw for sale. This is practiced especially by larger farmers

who do not have animals to graze off the straw in time to prepare the land for the

next crop cycle. In 1978, farmers estimated that about 100 bales/ha of 18 kg each

of straw could be sold at $2-3/bale. (This price is net of the baling cost.)

The remaining stubble can also be rented for grazing purposes at $100-200/ha.

We also asked farmers about grain disposal after the 1978 harvest. Because

of the substantial time lapse of almost a year between crop disposal and the inter-

views and because many farmers are reluctant to reveal crop sales we do not have

much confidence in the data obtained.

However, some general observation can be made. A good deal of barley is

used for animal feed. About half of all farmers stored one ton or more for

feeding domestic animals. Small farmers also usually save seed for the following

season. A few farmers all small farmers stored their entire production for

animals. Some barley is also sold for animal feed but it is difficult to estimate

the proportion since farmers who sell to intermediaries sometimes do not know the

final destination of their product.

The marketing channels for barley are closely associated with farm size.

Larger farmers with their own trucks usually sell directly to Inpulsora Agricola

buying points in Apan or Mexico City. The price is determined by the fixed
price announced by Impulsora Agr.cola less discounts for quality.- Smaller

l/In 1977, Impulsora Agricola had the following quality standards. Germination
not less than 85 percent. Moisture maximum of 13.5 percent except in factories
with driers in which case grain with up to 16.5 percent'moisture is allowed but
$125/ton is charged for drying and weights were adjusted to 13.5 percent moisture
content. Utilizable grain no discounts with over 85 percent, thereafter dis-
counted 10 kg for each percentage point decrease in utilizable grain with a
limit of 65 percent. Floating grain limit 10 percent. Broken or hulled grain
acceptable up to 5 percent then discounting 10 kg for each one percentage noint
up to a limit of 10 percent. Inpurities acceptable up to 2 percent then 10
kg discount for each one percentage point upto a limit of 6 percent. Mixtures
with other varieties acceptable up to 10 percent.

farmers usually sell to "acaparadores", intermediaries who buy directly in the

field or at the farmers' house. The price received is lower than direct sales

to Impulsora Agrlcola but the cost of contracting transport services is also

saved. On average, farmers received a price of $2.75/kg for the 1978 harvest.

8.0 Production, Profits and Risks

8.1 Yields and Factors Affecting Yields

Barley yields for 1979 were estimated by the authors by inspecting the

farners' fields. While this is quite subjective, we feel that we were able

to categorize the yield of a given field quite accurately to the nearest 0.5

ton/ha. Two estimates of yields were obtained for fields that had been damaged

by frosts in late September. The first estimate was based on stand, ear size,

etc., and assumed there was no damage from frosts. The second estimate took into

account any grain damage resulting from the frost.

Estimated yields are shown for each group of farmers in Table 8.1. Yields

in RD1 (tractor renters) are somewhat lower than in RDII (tractor owners). Frost

reduced yields by an average of about 300 kg/ha but the incidence of frost

damage was quite variable. Many farmers escaped frost damage while other had

their entire crop destroyed.

Table 8.1 Estimated Average Yields and Standard Deviations of
Yields by Recoimendation Domain

Recamnendation Domain
Tractor Renters Tractor Owners
(t/ha) (t/ha)
Average Yields Assuming No Frost
Damage 1.73 1.95
Standard Deviation .67 .66
Average Yield with Frost Damage 1.39 1.83
Standard Deviation 1.68 .66

A simplelinear regression was fitted to attempt to explain variation

in yields in terms of cultural practices such as date of ploughing, number of

harrowings, planting date, variety, planting method, nitrogen application,

phosphorous application, herbicide application and variables for location to

reflect variation in weather patterns in the study area in 1979.

Of course, yield is often a complex interaction of these cultural

practices as well as timing of the practices in relation to local weather

conditions which is not easily captured in a regression equation. Excluding

variables with minor and insignificant effects, and considering only first

order linear interactions the final form of the equation chosen was:

Y = 1640 + 281L + 483VT 598F + 497FH 274A2 + 580A3 440A6 507FA6
(222) (91) (199) (256) (240) (181) (238) (297) (381)

R2 = 0.44 n= 67

where Y is yield in kg/ha, L is number of harrowings, V is a dummy variable

for early variety (Centinela, Puebla or Cerro Prieto), T is a dummy variable

for planting in the second week of June or later, F is a dummy variable if

fertilizer was applied, H is a dummy variable if herbicide was applied and Ai

are dummy variables representing each of the six areas into which the study

area was divided. Standard errors of the coefficients are given in parentheses.

The number of post-ploughing harrowings significantly affected yields.

It was estimated that one additional harrow incrqas9d yields by 280 kg/ha.

Variety and time of planting independently had little effect but when planting

was performed in the second week of June oF later, an earlier variety signi-

ficantly increased yields by 480 kg/ha. Fertilizer application generally had

a negative yield effect especially in area Ag. In this areas in the north-

east part of the valley (centered on the ejido of Benito Judrez) a severe

drought occurred early in the season and in fact CIM~ET's Wheat Training

Program also lost experiments in this area in 1979. However, fertilizer

and herbicide together significantly increased yields by 500 kg/ha, providing

further evidence that fertilizer is not usually profitable in the absence

of better weed control. Finally the various dummy variables for location

confirm the substantial variability in weather conditions across the area in

1979. Overall the equation explained less than half of yield variation

with cultural practices and location being equally important in the expla-


8.2 Production Costs and Breakeven Yields

A breakdown in costs shows major expenditures which might offer

potential for reducing production costs through experimentation. Average

costs of production for each proup of farmers are shown in Table 8.2 Costs

of machinery have been calculated for tractor owners as equivalent to rental

prices since use of machinery on the owner's farm does incur an opportunity

cost equal to the rental price. The major difference in costs for tractor

renters and tractor owners occurs not in higher machinery costs but in higher

expenditures on seed and fertilizer. Tractor owners spend more than double

the outlay of tractor renters for these inputs. Assuming that land is owned,

and cash costs are machinery, labor and input costs, the tractor renters

needs only a yield of about 800 kg/ha to pay cash costs while a tractor

owner must obtain 1150 kg/ha (see Table 8.3), These figures are relevant for

Table 8.2 Production Costs for Barley Production by Recomendation Domain, 1979

Tractor Renters Tractor Owners
Machinery Costs
Ploughing ($350/ha) 350 350
Harrowing ($200/ha each)a/ 200 400
Covering Seed ($200/ha) 200
Drilling ($270/ha) 270
Back Pack Sprayer for Herbicides
(Rental $40/day or $20/ha) 20 20
Harvesting ($600/ha) 600 600
Total Machinery Costs 1370 1640

Broadcasting Seed (.5 manday/ha) 50
Broadcasting Fertilizer (.5 nanday/ha) 50 50
Spraying Herbicide (.5 manday/ha) 50 50
Ibtal Labor Costs 150 100

Seedb' (Own seed $2.75/kg, Purchased
Seed $5.25/kg) 290 600
Fertilizerc/ (Price of N $7.6/g,
Price of P $7.3/kg) 250 690
Herbicide/ (Esteron 47 at $150/1t) 100 120
Total Input Costs 640 1410

Cash Rental 1p00 1000
Share Rental One-Third of Yield

-One harrowing for tractor renters, two harrowings for tractor owners.

-Tractor renters use 105 kg/ha of own seed, tractor renters use 115 kg/ha
of purchased seed.

c/Tractor renters use on average 23 kg/ha N, 19 kg/ha P. Tractor owners use on
average 57 kg/ha N, 35 kg/ha P. Fertilizer prices include $0.20/kg transpor-
tation cost to field.

-/0.65 It/ha and 0.80 It/ha for tractor renters and owners, respectively.

Table 8.3 Breakeven Yields and Return on Capital for Barley
Production by Recomrendation Domain, 1979

Tractor Renters Tractor Owners

Breakeven Yields
Breakeven Yield to Cover Cash Cost
of Machinery, Labor and Inputsa/ 785 1150

Breakeven Yield to Cover All Costs
Including Cash Land Rental and
25 Percent Return on Capital
and Managementd/ 1380 1830

Breakeven Yield to Cover All Costs
Including One-Third Share Land
Rental and 25 Percent Return to na. 2070
Capital and Managementb/'
Implicit Land Rent Under Share Rental- na. 1500

Return on Capital-
Rate of Return on Capital Assuming
No Frost Damage (%) 62 33
Rate of Return on Capital with
Frost Damage (%) 26 13

a/Assumes price of barley of $2.75 in farmers' fields.

b-Rate of return on capital calculated for all inputs except hire of combine
harvester. In the case of share rental, renter pays two-thirds of harvest

/Calculated as one-third of the breakeven yield multiplied by the price of
barley and reduced by 25% capital cost to be comparable with cash land
rental which is paid 4t the beginning of the season.

dCalculated as (yield x price)/ (machinery costs + labor costs + input cost
+ cash land rental) 1.
na not applicable because few tractor renters rent land.

assessing risk (see Section 8.3) since we assume that farmers will want at

least to cover cash costs, even in a poor year. But for barley production

to be profitable over all years, yields of about 1400 kg/ha and 1800 kg/ha

for tractor renters and owners respectively are needed to pay all costs,

including those of capital and land.

If land is rented on a one-third share basis, then tractor owners would

need a yield of 2070 kg/ha to cover all costs including the third share

going to the land owner.l/ (Tractor renters rent very little land.) This

gives an implicit price of $1500/ha for land rental on one-third shares,

substantially above the rate of $1000/ha for cash land rental. Of course

we expect the share rental costs to be somewhat higher than the cash rental

cost because the land owner assumes some risk under the yield-sharing


Using the yield figures presented in section 8.1 and assuming that the

yield (if the crop were undamaged by frost) is a normal yield, we calculated

the rate of return on capital as 62% for tractor renters (mostly small

farmers) and 33% for tractor owners (mostly large farmers). The larger

return for tractor renters reflects the lower level of inputs employed and

the relative capital scarcity of this group of mostly small farmers. More-

over, a majority of the tractor owners obtain credit from the official bank

at low rates of interest as well as agricultural insurance to protect

against crop losses.

-/If share farmers use lower levels of inputs, the breakeven yield would be
lower. However, there is no evidence that share farmers in the sample
used lower levels of inputs than land owners.

8.3 Production Risks

Farmers were asked about the seriousness of a number of natural

hazards late start to rains, early finish to rains, early frosts, wet harvest

weather, hail, floods, diseases and insects. From this list, early frost emerged

as the major hazard followed by hail and late start to rains. Sixty four per-

cent of farmers ranked early frosts as the major climatic hazard. To some extent

these results may reflect the fact that frosts were earlier and more severe in

1979 than normal and also rains began later than normal'. Nonetheless, when

asked about the number of years in the last ten in which early frosts had

damaged their crops, farmers frequently mentioned 3 years (see Figure 8.1)

which represents a considerable risk to farmers. Hail was also frequently

mentioned as a hazard but apparently the risk of hail damage is somewhat less

frequent (Figure 8.1).

9.0 Implications for Agricultural Research to Improve Early Barley Production

9.1 Reoommendation Domains

Although we have noted important differences in the area with respect to

topography and machinery ownership, we conclude that these differences are not

large .enough to warrant separate RDs for the purpose of planning experiments.

On the sloping land on the side of the valley current farmer practices tend to

be similar to those on flat land. However, the experiments on wheat described

below might emphasize sloping land since length of growing season will be a

major factor in the success of wheat production. We did note substantial

differences in practices between tractor renters and owners. However, we

Late Start to Rains


35 -

30 -


20 -

15 -

10 -








10 -


0 1 2 3 4 5 6+
Number Years in Ten

0 1 2 3 4 5 6+
Number Years in Ten

Figure 8.1 Histograms of Farmers' Estimates of the Number of Years in Ten that Barley Yields are
Reduced by Natural Hazards Frost, Hail and Late Start to Rains.


- i I I 1-2 2
0 1 2 3 4 5 6+
Number Years in Ten

Hail Damage

Frost Damage

present evidence elsewhere (Hesse de Polancoand Byerlee (1981)) that these

differences appear to be narrowing as nore tractors become available and use

of newer varieties, herbicides and fertilizer becomes more widespread among

smaller farmers. Therefore rather than considering different recommendation

domains, we recommend that in the selection of fields for on-farm experiments

particular attention is given to obtaining a representative sampling of

cropping history, date of ploughing and timing and intensity of secondary

tillage. If in the experimentation stage, important interactions are discovered

between these practices and say fertilizer and weed control recommendations,

then two separate reconiendation domains may be justified.

9.2 Short Run Research Opportunities

From our own observations and experiences working in the area and the

results of the survey there are a number of opportunities for increasing barley

production and farmer incomes which should be included in an on-farm experimetnal

program. We have divided these into sort-run opportunities which offer imme-

diate pay-off in one to three years and longer run research opportunities which

will require a somewhat longer period to develop and have less certainty of


The major problems facing farmers that offer short-run solution

are: a) an uncertain growing season due to unreliable rains at the beginning

of the season and frost risk toward the end of the season, b) high cash cost

of production especially for seed and fertilizer, and c) weed infestation both

broadleaf and wild oats. Each of the following experiments addresses one or

nore of these problems.

Variety/Crop x Time of Planting: The survey has clearly shown that farmers use

a wide range of planting dates. These result from variation in earlier rains

across the region as well as differences in access to machinery. Farmers tend

to sow late varieties earlier in order to avoid frost risks at the end of the


The management flexibility and incomes of farmers could be increased by

the availability of varieties with a wider range of maturities. For farmers

who can plant earlier, especially those with fields on the slope in the higher

rainfall areas where frost risks are lower,, wheat seems to be a feasible alter-

native to planting late varieties of barley. The guaranteed price of wheat is

now $4500/ton somewhat above the price received for barley. Also wheat has a

higher yield potential. The major difficulty in wheat production at the nmoent

is the lack of an established market outlet in the area.l/

Farmers also lack an early maturing variety, with satisfactory malting

. quality. (Currently available early varieties, Centinela and Puebla, suffer

from price discounts due to malting quality.) An early maturing variety would

be particularly appropriate for sowing later after the first week of June. It

would complement the current varieties of satisfactory malting quality Apizaco

of late maturity, and Cerro Prieto of intermediate maturity.

Selection of varieties should also consider resistance to disease such as

scald, helminthosporium and rusts which are becoming more common with increased

barley area. Finally, ability of a variety to hold grain after maturity is

important in years when weather delays machine harvesting.

1In recent informal interviews, however, we have noted same farmers growing
wheat and successfully marketing it in Puebla or Mexico City.

We therefore recommend a crop variety by time of planting trial as follows:

Date of Sowing Crop/Variety

Early May I feat and late barley variety

Late May/Early June Cerro Prieto as check variety and other
intermediate maturing varieties.

Mid to Late June Early varieties

All barley varieties should be screened for satisfactory malting characteristics.

Weed Control: Despite the use of 2-4 D, herbicide there are considerable yield

losses in the area due to broadleaf weeds. Moreover, grassy weeds, particularly

wild oats tend to be increasing due to continuous barley cropping and higher

fertility. Experiments should test the following methods of establishing better

weed control.

a) Additional secondary tillage prior to planting especially if a suitable-

early variety is available to enable delayed planting without risks.

b) Improved stand establishment through better seed bed preparation and

perhaps drilling.

c) Testing of broadleaf herbicides such as a Brominol that can be applied

earlier than 2-4, D and reduce early weed damage.

d) Verification and demonstration of the. optimal time and dosage for

2-4, D. application for given conditions of early weed growthh and weather.

e) Testing and establishment of economic doses for wild-oat herbicides

such as Finaven. This should be done on fields selected for wild oat


Fertilizer: Although chemical fertilizer is now widely used in the area, there

is substantial variation in application rates and ignorance of nutrient compo-

sition of various fertilizers. Moreover, fertilizers are a major cash cost in

barley production. Experiments should seek to establish most efficient use of

money invested in chemical fertilizers by:

a) Identifying areas of phosphorous deficiency and management of phosphorous

application over years.

b) Testing method of application of nitrogen (e.g. broadcast, banded).

c) Exploring the interaction between initial moisture conditions and

level of nitrogen applied and the split application of nitrogen.

d) Testing the use of a cheaper source of nitrogen such as Anhydrous


9.3 ILonger Term Research Opportunities

For the long term a number of opportunities exists for reducing costs,

especially through reduced tillage, as well as establishing cultural practices

and rotations for controlling erosion and weed infestation.

Tillage: Possibilities of developing a less costly tillage system for land

preparation include:

a) Ploughing after harvest leaving a clean fallow with a mulch cover over

the dry season and then use of a deep drill to seed into conserved moisture.

b) Investigation of the cost-effectiveness of subsoiling which is

practiced by a significant number of farmers usually with bank support.

This would require observation over more than one season after the

subsoiling is done.

c) Investigation of the possibility of reduced tillage or no-tillage
using herbicides to control weeds prior to seeding.

d) On sloping land, the use of tillage methods and banking to control

erosion especially in areas where maguey has been removed.

Rotations: Rotation with a row crop such as maize which was the traditional

rotation system has potential advantages for weed control, soil structure, etc.

Restoration of this rotation requires a more efficient maize technology especially

for weed control and harvesting which are the major factors contributing to

maize's high cost of production. Experiments on maize, especially chemical

weed control should seek to find a nore efficient maize technology for rotation

with barley.

Harvesting Techniques: Finally, methods used elsewhere to window barley just

prior tp maturity to speed drying, reduce lodging and improved malting quality

warrant testing. An added advantage of this method in the study area would

be a shorter production cycle and hence reduced risk of frost.

9.4 -Further Implications for Farm Survey Work

The current survey has established a descriptive profile of farmers

and their production practices. To complement the proposed experimental work

a number of specialized surveys are recommended. These include:

a) Informal interviews with fannrers who have begun to grow wheat in the

area to determine potential marketing outlets and agronomic problems

experienced in order to better assess the potential of wheat versus

barley in the area.

b) In-depth but informal interviews with both small and large farmers who

have developed effective weed control techniques to use their experiences

to design an effective combination of rotations, tillage techniques and

herbicide use to improve weed control in the area.

c) Extension of both the informal and formal survey work to the drier

areas of the state of Hidalgo where barley is important but adoption of

improved barley technologies has been much slower (Hesse de Polanco and

Byerlee (1981).

9.5 Other Issues in Improved Barley Production .

The present study has focused on circumstances of barley producers

which have implications for research to develop improved varieties and agronomic

practices for barley in the area. In the course of this research a number of

other issues related to the institutional environment of the farmers were identi-

fied as constraints on increased barley production and incomes of farmers.

These included:

a) Difficulty of obtaining the desired fertilizer, especially for farmers

who don't work with the official bank. Although FERrIMEX, the official

fertilizer distributor has several distribution points in the area, they

often lack sufficient supplies.

b) Limited number of buying points of Impulsora Agricola in the area so

that most small farmers sell to intermediaries who judge quality without

the use of testing equipment. The number of buying points has however

increased in 1980.

c) Release and promotion of varieties which in fact have unsatisfactory

malting characteristics and lead to price discounts to farmers growing

these varieties.

d) Lack of seed cleaning and grading facilities to enable farmers to save

quality seed from year to year. At present, annual purchase of seed

represents a substantial cash cost to many farmers.

e) Apparent cash shortages on the part of many small farmers, leading to

lower intensity and poorer timing of tillage operations and inputs. This

suggests potential for future expansion of official credit operations in

the area.

These constraints were identified by interviews with farmers. A more

detailed understanding of-the nature of these constraints as well as reconrenda-

tions to overcome the constraints will require more in-depth studies of the

performances and policies of the agricultural institutions serving farmers in

the study area.


Byerlee, Collinson et al, 1980. "Planning Technologies Appropriate to Fanners:
Concepts and Procedures".

Hesse de Polanco Edith and Peter Walker, 1980. "A Users Guide to FASAP A
Fortran Program for the Analysis of Farm Survey Data".

Inpulsora Agricola, S.A., 1978. "La Cebada Maltera de Temporal".

Medellin, R.A., 1980. "Los Canpesinos Cebaderos y la Industria Cervecera en
Mixico". Canercio Exterior, Vol. 30, Nmrero 9.

Riojas Guadiana E.,' 1976. "Variedades Mexicanas de Cebada". INIA

Hesse de Polanco E. and Byerlee D. (forthcoming) "Technological Characteristics
and Farmer Characteristics Affecting Farmers' Adoption Sequence in Rainfed
Barley Production in the Altiplano of Mexico". CIMMYT Economics Working
Paper, Mexico.



80/1 Kwasi Bruce, Derek Byerlee and G.E. Edmeades, "Maize in the Mampong
Sekodumasi Area of Ghana; Results of an Exploratory Survey".

80/2 Derek Byerlee and Donald L. Winkelmann, "Accelerated Wheat Production
in Semi-Arid Developing Regions: Economic and Policy Issues".

80/3 Edith Hesse de Polanco and Peter Walker, "A Users Guide to FASAP A
Fortran Program far the Analysis of Farm Survey Dath".

80/4 Alan Benjamin, "An Agro-Economic Evaluation of Maize Production in
Three Valleys of the Peruvian Andes".

80/5 Derek Byerlee, Larry Harringtcn and Paul Marko, "Farmers' Practices,
Production Problems and Research Opportunities in Barley Production
in the Calpulalpan/Apan Valley, Mexico".

80/6 Larry Harrington, "Methodological Issues Facing Social Scientists in
On-Farm/Farming Systems Research".

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