CENTRO INTERNATIONAL DE MEJORAMIENTO DE MAIZ Y TRIGO
CIMMYT Londres 40, Apdo. Postal 6-641, Mdxico 6, D.F. M6xico
FARMERS' PRACTICES, PRODUCTION
PROBLEMS AND RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES
IN BARLEY PRODUCTION IN THE
CALPULALPAN/APAN VALLEY, MEXICO
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.
INTERNATIONAL MAIZE AND WHEAT IMPROVEMENT CENTER
Londres 40, ler, Piso, M6xico 6, D.F. M6xico
TABLE OF COTNS
1.0 Introduction: Purposes of the Survey
2.1 Selection of the Study Area
2.2 General Survey Procedures
3.0 The Agro-Climratic Environment of Farmers
3.4 Climatic Conditions in 1979
4.0 Socio-Economic Environment
4.2 Product Markets
4.3 Input Markets
4.5 Research and Extension
4.6 Land Tenure
4.7 Labor Market
4.8 Machinery Market
5.0 Grouping Farmers into Recomendation 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
7.0 Farmers' Barley Production Practices
7.1 Land Preparation
7.2 Planting 7.3 Varieties
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 Ran Research Opportunities
9.3 Longer Term Research Opportunities
9.4 Further Implications for Farm Survey Wbrk
9.5 Other Issues in Improved Barley Production
In cooperation with researchers in many national agricultural research programs, CIMT has sought to develop procedures which help to focus agricultural research squarely on the needs of farmers. The process involves collaboration of biological scientists and economists to identify the groups of farmers for wham technologies are to be developed, determining their circumstances and problems, screening this information for research opportunities, and then irplem-enting the resulting research program on experiment stations and on the fields of representative farmers.
CJMT' 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 Technologies Appropriate to Farmers: Concepts and Procedures" has been strongly influenced 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, Zambia, 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 CI4Yr' 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 fanrer problems.
Donald L. Winkelmann
Director, Economics Program
1.0 Introduction: Purposes of the Survey
Since 1975, CIMM2YT' 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 experiments have been conducted for the primary purpose of familiarizing participants 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 Cfl24YT 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, emphasizing 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 aoit 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 prinei~y purpose of tI~e suxyey 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 implemntation of fanner
surveys to obtain this type of information.
2. Research Decision Making: The surveys was also designed to provide information 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 agrnamic
and socio-eccncmic) to enable grouping of farmers .into fairly homogeneous
groups or recarendation domains (RDs) which can be served by the same
experimental program and technological recommendations.
b. Information on prodirtion problems and farmer constraints on using
potential irrproved technologies.
c. Quantitative information on the most caman practices followed by
farmers as a basis for cacrparing improved technologies.
d. Quantitative information on farmers and fields as a basis for
selecting representative farmers and fields for experimental work.
e. Information an input/output coefficients and price relationships faced by farmers that can be used to evaluate improved technologies.
3. Methodology Development: The rmethoology used by CIMMT4Y Economics in assessing farmer circumstances is contingal4y 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 fata 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 reconTendation domains (RDs). The fannrming system and in particular fanners' barley production practices are presented 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.
2.1 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 IAzaro C~rdenas 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 halfhour 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 Prograln has worked extensively since 1975.Y
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".
/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 hoogeneous climatic characteristics.
p c; p ull c
Sn. Mortfn de los PIromides L n. b a Apan
TcutihL :-0 411, 01
Uniliono Zopotc Ld z a ro Cc'; L ci. a 0*0#/ 1
A MEXICO Tepettooxtoc
Logo Atocho D. F. Calpulalpan
Hanccamllpo sn. Torum sporuto ROAD
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 interviewers 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 practices.
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 interviewed. Only barley fields belonging to distinct farmers that could be identified 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 same 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 informally 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. More indepth analysis involving cross-tabulations was conducted using the FASAP computer program (Hesse de Polanco and Walker (1980)) and the SAS statistical package.
3.0 The Agro-Climatic Environment of Farners
The agro-clinatic 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.
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 38mm in the driest point, Apan, and is
Average Annual Rainfall: 588 mm 7
Average May-Sept Rainfall: 464 mm 120 107
100 ---~-. 91
(nnm) 60 47 47
J F M A M J J A S 0 N D Month
CALPUIALPAN (1948-1978) Average monthly
Average Annual Rainfall: 635 mm precipitation in
Average Rainfall, May-Sept: 506 m 20 percent driest
2 Average monthly
120 precipitation in
100 92 all years.
80 70 7
Sinfall 80 4
40 34 39 91
20 7 1
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Average Annual Rainfall: 742 m Average Rainfall, May-Sept: 625 mn 152 146 149
Rainfall 80- 79 78
60 49 54
40 38 30 3
J F M 4 M J J A S O N D
Figure 3.2 Histogram Showing bMonthly Rainfall Distribution for Three Centers in the Calpulalpan Valley
Source: Unpublished rainfall data from Servicio Meteorol6gico Nacional, IMexico
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 rainfall is somewhat unreliable as the average rainfall in Apan and Calpulalpan is only 21am 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 40am for each of these months even in the 20 percent driest years.
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 aregs 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-clinatic 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.
40 Frost at 00C or less
cumulative 3 ,robability 3 f frost M%
10 Frost at -20C or less
1 11 21 1 11 2 31
Figure 3.3 Cumlative Probability of Frost in Septenter/October at Calpulalpan Source: Unpublish data from Servicio Mteorol6gico Nacional, m~exico.
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, 51mi of rain was received but this was followed by another dry spell in which only 25m' 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 Aarkets 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.
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, Impulsora Agricola, 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 Agricola 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.l/
To sell directly to Impulsora Agrfcola, farmers must -take their barley to
one of its few buying points. Because of this, most farmers sell to intermediaries
l-In 1980 farmers are lobbying for a substantial price increase from IMpulsora,
Agricola. (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 "veterinarias"), Impulsora Agrxcola, FERTIMEX and the official bank, BANRURAL. The veterinarias distribute seed and herbicides but fertilizer must be purchased through FERTIMEX outlets or as part of a loan in kind from BANRURAL. FERT=IMEX 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.
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. BANRdRAL 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
- A nore detailed description of the role of Impulsora Agricola, see Mellin
recomrendations to fanrers. Nonetheless the National Agricultural Research Institute (INIA), has established reconendations 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 sane 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, much of this rented land is probably ejido land. During 1979 the going rental price for land was about $1000/ha4.7 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 nonagricultural 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,
Y1All monetary units are in Mexican pesos. Approximately $23 Mexican = $US 1.00
Table 4.1 General Recomnendations for Barley Production in Calpulalpan/Apan Area
Land Preparation Plough and harrow after harvest
followed by a second ploughing and harrowing.before planting. Alternatively, harrow after harvest, followed
by ploughing 6 weeks later and another harrowing before planting.
Variety Apizaco, Puebla, Cerro Prieto,
Sowing Date 1 May to 15 June. After 15 June
plant only Cerro Prieto or Puebla.
Sowing Rate 100 kg/ha
Fertilizer Calpulalpan 60 kg N/ha, 30 kg P/ha
Herbicide 2 It/ha of Esteron 47 in 200 Its.
water applied 20-30 days after
For wild oats 4 lt/ha of Finaven 20-30 days after planting.
Source: Impulsora Agricola (1977)
cormrnly 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 ork 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 harvesting.
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 Reconmendation 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 w c
From secondary data and conversations during the exploratory survey we
concluded that the study area is quite homogeneous agro-climatically but heterogeneous with respect to socio-economic characteristics of farmers. The only important agro-climatic variation seems tQ 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, nore 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.2/
Farmers are quite heterogeneous with respect to such interrelated characteristics as farm size, land tenure, machinery ownership and use of credit, although it is not immediately clear that these difference are sufficiently large to warrant different sets of reconuendations. One guide is the extent to which farmers' current practices correlate with these characteristics. Analysis showed that many cultural practices, especially land preparation were significantly 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 ownership of farm machinery.
The criterion, tractor ownership, was chosen for tentative stratification. This clearly divided sampled farmers into two grqu s those who rented tractors (37 farmers) and those who owned tractors (50 farmers). Some of the former group also used horses for sore 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.
l/This subregion also consists of smaller farmers so that sone of this variation
is captured in the subsequent stratification by farm type.
Results showing the different practices of the tw.o hyrnthesized groups of farmers will be presented in the following sections. In the conclusions we shall summnarize these differences and again examine whether twov separate recommrendation domains (PDs) are justified.
6.0 General Features of the Farming System and Farners' Resources
6.1 The Farming System and its Evolution
General features of the farming system are summrarized 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 areak of 10-2 0 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 "ha larger farmers are almost entirely specialized in barley production (Tqbl9 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 Taize 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 Recommendation Domain
Reco~nendation Domain Statistical SigniTractor Tractor ficance on Diffe- /
Renters Owners rences between RDsNumber of Farmers 37 50
Average Farm Size (ha) 10.8 50.0 **
Percent Area Planted to Barley 79 91
Percent Area Planted to Maize a 17 8 **
Percent Area Planted to Other Crops- 4 1
Percent Farmers Plant Maize 65 74
Percent Intercrop with Maguey 41 44
Percent Planted Barley after Maize 47 27 **
Percent Continuous Barley for **
Five Years 33 56
Percent Ejido Land 68 27 **
Percent Privately Owned Land 18 31 **
Percent Rented Land 15 42 **
Average Number of Fields 2.7 4.7 **
Average Size of Field (ha) 4.0 14.5 **
Percent Own Disc Plough 0 96 **
Disc Harrow 3 100 **
Drill 0 48 **
Combine Harvester 0 40 **
Truck 8 60 **
Credit Percent Receive Credit
from Official Bank 16 52 **
Labor Percent Hire Labor 69 72
- Percent have Off-Frm Incomp 50 44
a/ Mostly habas and frijol (broadbeans and beans)
** Differences between the two groups are significant at 5 percent level using a
Ch-i-squaredtest for percentages and t-test for neans.
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
Percent Area Planted to
Barley 73 74 77 83 82 99
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
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 fanrers expressed the intention
of growing about the same amount of maize in the future to satisfy subsistence requirements.
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, pLque. Generally maguey is grown in rows 6-P2 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
MM Barley following maize or beans
- ] Barley sown continuously for five years
60- 58 53
33 36 32
0-5ha 5-10ha 10-20ha 20-40ha 40-100ha 100+ha
Figure 6.1 Percentage of Farmers Who are Using 'Two Different Rotations by Farm Size
anong 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. Furthermore, we believe that because of thy 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. Anong 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,
L/A comron index of inequality, the Gini coefficient, was calculated as a high
0.58 for land distribution among the sampled farmers.
Percent 2 24
0 1 20 2 4 100
FARM SIZE (ha)
5 10 20 40 100 250
FARM SIZE (ha)
Figure 6.2 Distribution of Farm Size by Tractor Ownership
privately owned land and land rental becomes more important. The largest farmers with over 100 ha particularly have increased farm size through land rental. Mbst land is rented on a share rental basis with either a two-thirds or a one-half share to the renter being most conmon. 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 plotb 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 harvester. 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 relationship 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.
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). Therefore, 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.
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 farirxq' 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 ta incorporate the stubble and kill any weeds still growing at the end of the season
Table 7.1 Land Preparation Practices By Recomrndation Domain
Reconrnendation Domain Statistical SigniTractor Tractor ficance on DiffeRenters Owners rences between RDsa/
Percent do Pre-Plough Harrow 41 54 **
Percent Plough in Oct-Dec 17 32
Jan-March 49 57 **
April-June 34 11
Percent Consider Best Time to Plough
Oct-Dec 64 69
Jan-March 17 31
April-June 19 0
Percent do Subsoil Ploughing 19 36 **
Percent Harrow Zero Tines 14 2
Once 54 36 **
Twice 22 42
Three Times 11 20
Desired Number of Harrowings 2.2 2.4
Percent Post-Plough Harrow the First Time in Oct-Dec 6 8
Jan-March 25 49 **
April 19 29
May-June 50 14
Percent Farmners Expressed Difficulty in Hiring a Tractor in Periods of High Derrand 54 nea.
* Differences significant at the 5 percent level based of Chi-squared test. n.a. Not applicable.
This is followed by a ploughing with a three-disc ploughh1 The date at which this ploughing is done varies by reccmrendation dcmain. About two-thirds of all farmers in bofth 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 tine 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 commron 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.7
Intensity of secondary tillage also varies substantially by 1D. Tactor renters most commlonly harrow once while tractor owners usually harrow twice (Table 6.1). mreover, 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 secondry 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.
L/ILater informal interviews indicate that sone 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 harrowings 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 "maquilador". Among small farmers, 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 suarary, tractor renters use significantly less intensive land preparation 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.
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 Domrain
Reconmendation Domain Statistical SigniTractor Tractor ficance of Differ-/
Renters Owners ences between RDs -/
Percent Use Drill 19 46 **
Percent of Farmers Using Drill who Rent the Drill 100 16 **
Before Last Week May 31 39
Last Week May and First Week June 44 39
After First Week June 25 23
Seed Rate (kg/ha) 106 115
Source of Seed (Percent by Source) Previous Year's harvest 50 24
Official Bank 14 42
Impulsora Agricola 3 20 **
Neigors 28 14
Special Purchases in the Bajfo 3 6
* 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 significantly 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 relationsips 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 tine, 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 laae September and early October it seems that one of the major advantages of drilling is more 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 antng tractor owners is much higher as a result of different methods of planting.
l-i mjwever 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.
All Farmers Drilling 100- .
90 0 *
faPerent of 70 small Farmers Broadcastir
completed (<20 ha)
planting 60 *
field by 50
fi db50** Large Farmers Broadcasting
40/ (2 20 ha)
' I B I
1 2 3 4 1 ? 3 4
< May > < June >
Planting Date (Mnth'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 kgiha. 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 reconriendation 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 Bajto 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 commercial barley.
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.
Ommun 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. Cmxmn 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. Apizaco 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 periQd.
Table 7.3 Varieties Planted by Farmers in Each Reconvendation Domain During the Last Three Years
Approx. Days Approx. Years p Variety Planted Know Consider
Variety to Maturity a/ leased in Areaa_ Tractor Renters I Tractor Owners Variety Best Variety
1979 1978 1977 1 1979 1978 1977
CoMMun 110-115 11 0 20 0 2 2 96 7
Apizaco 115-120 1966 30 38 44 38 61 52 93 38
Celaya 105-120 1970 11 29 16 8 7 20 76 20
Cerro Prieto 107 1975 35 19 12 30 23 20 85 21
Puebla 107 1975 11 10 4 16 5 4 61 5
Centinela 105 1976 2 5 4 10 2 2 38 8
Information from Riojas Guadiana (1976) and personal observations.
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 nuTber 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. Althaugh Cerro Prieto is sown by almost one-third of farmers, it is preferred by only 20 percent of farmer 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 60 rro Prieto
fields planted with variety. 50
10 .00 100
1' : 2' '. 4
< May > < June >
Date of Planting (Mnth-Week) Figure 7.2 Relationship Between Date of Planting and Variety Planted
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 soretirs plant a variety other than the preferred variety seems to reflect several factors. Seed availability was mentioned by many farners. 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 seasn in 1979 nay have caused sore 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.
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 farn-ers often did not know the name or nutrient Qopposition 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 alirost all farmers in RDII (tractor owners) used fertilizer (Table 7.4).
Table 7.4 Farners Practices By Recarendation Dcmain for Use of Fertilizer and Herbicide
actor 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 Farers 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. Phosphoi
rous was applied at a rate of about 40 kg/ha P205 if used, but only about half of fertilizer users in RDl used phosphorous. Most tractor renters broadcast the fertilizer by hand but machine application.was conon among tractor owners.
These average figures, however, obscure a great deal of variability in
fertilizer use among sarrpled 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 nuch 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 fanrers, 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 whno 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 nost cases, the quantities applied were quite low in terms of nutrient value.
30 30* 27
Percent Pernt 24
Farners 21 mers
20 19 20
10 7 10
0 20 40 60 80+ 0 20 40 60 80+
kg/ha N Eg/ia P
Figure 7.3 Distribution of Ratep of Nitrogen and Phosphorous Application Among Fertilizer Users
Table 7.5 Fertilizer Use by Farm Size and Use of Official Credit
Farmers Less than 20 ha Farmers Over 20 ha
Independentw- Official Bank Independenta/ Official B Percent Farners Use Fertilizer 38 100 73 100
Average Dose of Nitrogen of
Users (kg/ha 47 51. 67 72
Average IDose of Phosphorous of
Users (kg/ha) 18 29 43 48
Farnmrs 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 $3.1/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 linfiited 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 became 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 reccrmended dosage
of (:2 lt/ha of commercial product (1 lt/ha active ingredient). The nodal dosages was in fact only 0.75 lt/ha of commercial product and many farmers applied only
0.5 lt/ha and same as little as 0.3 lt/ha. In fact, no farmers in the sample applied the recomruended dose. Nonetheless, most farmers achieved good broadleaf wed 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 franom 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 ho 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 l/Cost of application, calculated as 0.75 lt/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/kg.
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 application 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 farmer4 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, especially 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 although 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 mechanics. In fact,
Table 7.6 Ratings of Weed Problems Based on Field Observations
Rating of Weed Problem/ Broadleaf Weeds I Wild Oats
Serious 23 15
Moderate 28 29
Little or None 49 56
!Based on authors' observations in the farmers' fields selected by the
sampling technique. As a rough guide "serious weed problems" represent at least a 10 percent yield loss on a 2 ton/ha crop and "moderate weed
problems" a 5-10 percent yield loss.
-2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Weeks after plan ting
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 Isuch 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 ccntinuous 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 Harvestn and Crop DiSposal
In recent years, ccmbine 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.1- 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 t-ree weeks or more to obtain the services of a contractor. Machine harvesting might also be delayed if the rainy season extends into October. 1747
-land harvesting is usually only performed where maguey rows are sown too close to allow entry of a combine. In wet weather, s;aller 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 tD 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 interviews 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. Scme 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 Agrfcola buying points in Apan or Mexico City. The price is determined by the fixed l/
price announced by Inpulsora Agrcola less discounts for quality.- Smaller
l/In 1977, Inpulsora 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 discounted 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 discDunting 10 kg for each one percentage noint
up to a limit of 10 percent. Impurities 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 Agricola but the cost of contracting transport services is also saved. On average, farmers received a price of $2.75/g 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 farmers' 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 RDI (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 e15Fcirndation Domain
Tractor Renters Tractor Owners
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. Exclw1ing 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 laler, F is a dummny 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 harrqwings significantly affected yields. It was estimated that one additional harrow incrpas9d 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 significantly increased yields by 480 kg/ha. Fprtilizer application generally had
a negative yield effect especially in area A6. In this areas in tlhe northeast part of the valley (centered on the ejido of Benito Judrez) a severe drought occurred early in the season and in fact CIMYT's Wheat Training Program also lost experixrnts 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 explanation.
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 roup 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
Ploughing ($350/ha) 350 350
Harrowing ($200/ha each)/ 200 400
Covering Seed ($200/ha) 200
Drilling ($270/ha) 270
Back Pack Sprayer for Herbicides
(Rental $40/day or $20/ba) 20 20
Harvesting ($600/ha) 600 600
Total Machinery Costs 1370 1640
Broadcasting Seed (.5 manday/ha) 50
Broadcasting Fertilizer (.5 manday/ha) 50 50
Spraying Herbicide (.5 nmanday/ha) 50 50
Total Labor Costs 150 100
Seedb (Own seed $2.75/kg, Purchased
Seed $5.25/kg) 290 600
Fertilizerc/ (Price of N $7.6/kg,
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, 1 kg/ha P. Tractor owners use on
average 57 kg/ha N, 35 kg/ha P. Fertilizer prices include $0.20/kg transportation cost to field.
/0.65 ilt/ha and 0.80 lt/ha for tractor renters and owners, respectively.
Table 8.3 Breakeven Yields and Return on Capital for Barley Production by Recomnendation Domain, 1979
Tractor Renters Tractor Owners
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 Rturn to
Capital and Manageentb/ na. 2070
Implicit Land Rent Under Share RentalS/ na. 1500
Return on Capital/ (percent)
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.
bRate 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
c/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 at the beginning of the season.
d/Calculated 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 assures some risk under the yield-sharing arrangement.
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 nqstly small farers. Moreover, 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 percent 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 Iprove Early Barley Production
9.1 Recommendation 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
Frost Damage Hail Damage Late Start to Rains
35 35 33 35
30 30 29 3026
Percent 2522 25- 25farmers 21 22
20 20 19 20
20 17 17
15 15 15 13
10 -10 10
0 M.0 0 1 1 0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6+ 0 1 2 3 4 5 6+ 0 1 2 3 4 5 6+
Number Years in Ten Number Years in Ten 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.
present evidence elsewhere (Hesse de Polancoand Byerlee (1981)) that these differences appear to be narrowing as more tractors bei eom available and use of newr varieties, herbicides and fertilizer becomes more widespread anong 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 reconmendation domains may be justified.
9.2 Short Run Research Opportunities
From our own observations and experiences working in tEe 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 s1prt-run opportunities which offer immediate 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 success.
The major problems facing farmers that offer short--um 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 boost of production especially for seed and fertilizer, and c) weed infestation both broadleaf and wild oats. Each of the following experiments addresses one or more 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 cycle.
The management flexibility and incomes of farmers could be increased by the availability of varieties with a wider range of maturities. Fbr 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 alternative 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 moment is the lack of an established market outlet in the area. l/ Farmers also lack an early maturing variety, with satisfactor 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 varietieT 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 conmtn with increased barley area. Finally, ability of a variety to hold grain after maturity is important in years when weather delays machine harvesting.
!/In recent informal interviews, however, we have noted scme farmers growing wheat and successfully marketing it in Puebla or Mexico City.
We therefore recomrend a crop variety by time of planting trial as follows:
Date of Sowing Crp/Variety
Early May Ifeat 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. M reover, 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
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 growth 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 composition of various fertilizers. Moreover, fertilizers are a major cash cost in barley production. Experiments should seek to establish most efficient use of noney invested in chemical fertilizers by:
a) Identifying areas of phosphorous deficiency and management of phosphorous
application over years.
b) Testing mthod 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 Longer Term Research opportunities
Fbr 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. Tillaqe: Possibilities of developing a less costly tillage system for land preparation include:
a) Ploughing after harvest leaving a clean fallow with a nulch cover over
the dry season and then use of a deep drill to seed into conserved misture.
b) Investigation of the cost-effectiveness of subsoiling which is
practiced b y 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) Oni sloping land, the use of tilage methods and banking to control
erosion especially in areas where miaguey 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 more efficient maize technology for rotationwith barley.
Harvesting Techniques: Finally, methods used elsewhere to windrow 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 Frther Inpl ication s -for, Farmi Survey .WT~rk
The current survey has established a descriptive profile of farmers
and their production practices. 'lb comiplement the proposed experimental work a number of specialized surveys are recommended. These include:
a) Informal interviews with farers who have beg :un to grow wheat in the
area to determine potential marketing outlets an Id 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
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 FE1 IMEX, 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 se i to intermed4aries wio judge quality without
the use of testing equipment. The number of buying pints 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
d) Lack of seed cleaning and grading facilities to enable farners 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
These constraints were identified by interviews with farmers. A nore
detailed understanding of the nature of these constraints as well as reconvendations to overcome the constraints will require nore 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". Camercio Exterior, Vol. 30, Nirero 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 Painfed
Barley Production in the Altiplano of Mexico". CIMW1T Economics Working
LIST OF AVAIABIE CIMMT ECNCMICS WAKING PAPERS
80/1 Kwasi Bruce, Derek Byerlee and G.E. Edmeades, "Maize in the Manpong
Sekodumasi Area of Ghana; Results of an Exploratory Survey".
80/2 Derek Byerlee and Dcnald L. Winkelmann, "Accelerated Wheat Production
in Senmi-Arid Developing Regions: Econaomic and Policy Issues".
80/3 Edith Hesse de Polanco and Peter Walker, "A Users Guide to FASAP- A I i Da i
Fortran Program far the Analysis of Farm Survey Dath".
80/4 Alan Benjamin, "An Agro-Econcmic Evaluation of Maize Production in
Three Valleys of the Peruvian Andes".
80/5 Derek Byerlee, Larry Harringtan 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".