• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Index
 Preface
 Background and objectives
 Methodology
 Agroclimatic circumstances
 Socioeconomic circumstances
 The farming system
 Current practices in maize...
 Conclusion






Group Title: Maize in north Veracruz State, Mexico : farmer practice and research opportunities
Title: Maize in north Veracruz State, Mexico
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00080078/00001
 Material Information
Title: Maize in north Veracruz State, Mexico farmer practice and research opportunities
Physical Description: 30 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Harrington, Larry
CIMMYT Economics Program
Publisher: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
Place of Publication: México D.F. México
Publication Date: 1982
 Subjects
Subject: Corn -- Mexico -- Veracruz (State)   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Mexico
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: L. Harrington ... et al..
General Note: "1982 working paper."
General Note: "Economics Program"--Cover.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00080078
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 31174785

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Index
        Index
    Preface
        Preface
    Background and objectives
        Page 1
    Methodology
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Agroclimatic circumstances
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Socioeconomic circumstances
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
    The farming system
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Current practices in maize production
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    Conclusion
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
Full Text

2-,- 0/2-



27. 076


CENTRO INTERNATIONAL DE MEJORAMIENTO DE MAIZ Y TRIGO
INTERNATIONAL MAIZE AND WHEAT IMPROVEMENT CENTER
T Londres 40, Apdo. Postal 6-641, Mexico 6, D.F. Mexico























MAIZE IN NORTH VERACRUZ STATE, MEXICO -- FARMER
PRACTICE AND RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES


1982 Working


L. HARRINGTON*
Q. ALAM**
I. ARAP ROP**
I. BASA**
P. RODVINIJ**
P. TULACHAN**
Paper


Economist, CIMMYT Mexico.
those of CIMMYT.


The opinions expressed are not necessarily


** Visiting Scientist (1981 B), CIMMYT.
















I N D E X
INDEX





1.0) Background and Objectives. . . . ... 1

2.0) Methodology. . . . . ... . 1

3.0) Agroclimatic Circumstances . . . . 4

4.0) Socioeconomic Circumstances . . . . 6

4.1) Land Tenure . . . . ... . 7

4.2) Working Capital -- The Official Bank . . 7

4.3) Input Markets . . . . ... 8

5.0) The Farming System . .... ... ......... 10

5.1) Land Use and Crop Rotations . . . 10

5.2) Labor Hire and Off-Farm Income .... . ... 14

6.0) Current Practices in Maize Production . .... 14

6.1) Tillage . . . . ... . .14

6.2) Planting . . . .... ... 17

6.3) fertilization . . . . ... 20

6.4) Weed Control . . . . ... 23

6.5) Insect Control . . . .... .27

6.6) Maize Harvest and Use . . . .... 27

7.0) Conclusions . . ... . . 28

7.1) Recommendation Domains . . . .. 28

7.2) Research Opportunities and Priorities ...... ... .30









PREFACE

In cooperation with researchers in many national agricultural
research programs, CIMMYT 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 whom technologies are to be
developed, determining their circumstances and problems, screening this
information for research%:opportunities, and then implementing the re-
sulting research program on experiment stations and on the fields of
representative farmers.
I

CIMMYT's Economics Program has emphasized developing procedures for
the first stage of this process, through to establishing research oppor-
tunities. 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, 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 was developed from farm surveys conducted by Economics
Visiting Scientists, in collaboration with CIMMYT's Economics Program
and the Maize Training Program. Its purpose is to assess farmer circumstan-
ces and identify research opportunities in an area in Mexico in which the
Maize Training Program conducts on-farm trials.

Donald Winkelmann
Director, Economics Program.









1.0) Background and Objectives
The following report summarizes the results of a farm survey
conducted by CIMMYT Economics Visiting Scientists (1981 B) in North
Veracruz State, Mexico. The objective of this survey was to obtain,
rapidly but accurately, the information from farmers needed to plan a
set of on-farm agronomic experiments for the chosen study area. The
information collected from farmers can help researchers tailor agronomic
experiments to the needs of representative farmers by helping take
decisions on selection and level of experimental variables, level of
non-experimental variables, site selection, etc.-


The study area centered on the Municipio (township) of Tihuatlan,
Veracruz, near the urban center of Poza Rica. It therefore falls into
one of the humid tropical maize-growing areas of Mexico. (For a more
complete description of the study area, see section 3.0).



2.0) Methodology
The methodology employed in the research to be reported below, was
based on CIMMYT's "Planning Research Appropriate to Farmers" (Byerlee,
Collinson et al, 1980). In this methodology, on-farm research is seen
as an integrated process whose objective is the formulation of near-term
recommendations for target groups of farmers (recommendation domains).
The basic steps in this process include:


1) Planning research based on farmer circumstances
2) Conducting on-farm experiments under farmer conditions
3) Analyzing experimental results, to formulate farmer recommen-
dations.
4) Subjecting these recommendations to assessment by farmers
5) Extending acceptable recommendations.



1/ No unique set of on-farm experiments is expected to be planted,
based on survey results. However these results are expected to be
useful to CIMMYT's Maize Training Program, which uses the study
area for fieldwork in production agronomy training.









1.0) Background and Objectives
The following report summarizes the results of a farm survey
conducted by CIMMYT Economics Visiting Scientists (1981 B) in North
Veracruz State, Mexico. The objective of this survey was to obtain,
rapidly but accurately, the information from farmers needed to plan a
set of on-farm agronomic experiments for the chosen study area. The
information collected from farmers can help researchers tailor agronomic
experiments to the needs of representative farmers by helping take
decisions on selection and level of experimental variables, level of
non-experimental variables, site selection, etc.-


The study area centered on the Municipio (township) of Tihuatlan,
Veracruz, near the urban center of Poza Rica. It therefore falls into
one of the humid tropical maize-growing areas of Mexico. (For a more
complete description of the study area, see section 3.0).



2.0) Methodology
The methodology employed in the research to be reported below, was
based on CIMMYT's "Planning Research Appropriate to Farmers" (Byerlee,
Collinson et al, 1980). In this methodology, on-farm research is seen
as an integrated process whose objective is the formulation of near-term
recommendations for target groups of farmers (recommendation domains).
The basic steps in this process include:


1) Planning research based on farmer circumstances
2) Conducting on-farm experiments under farmer conditions
3) Analyzing experimental results, to formulate farmer recommen-
dations.
4) Subjecting these recommendations to assessment by farmers
5) Extending acceptable recommendations.



1/ No unique set of on-farm experiments is expected to be planted,
based on survey results. However these results are expected to be
useful to CIMMYT's Maize Training Program, which uses the study
area for fieldwork in production agronomy training.










This research process is presented in more detail in Figure 2.1. The

current study was confined to the research planning stage.


FIGURE 2.1 OVERVIEW OF AN INTEGRATED RESEARCH PROGRAM


ON-FARM RESEARCH


Choice of Target Farmers
and Research Priorities







POLICY
CONTEXT
National goals, input sup-
ply credit, markets, etc.










Identification
of Policy Issues


New Components Incorpo-
rated intoOn-Farm Research






EXPERIMENT
STATION
Developing and screening
new technological com-
ponents (e.g., varieties,
new herbicides, pesticides)








Identification of Problems
for Station Research


In the CIMMYT methodology, information on farmer circumstances can

be used in the design of on-farm experiments, in at least five ways:


1) Identification of research opportunities (the identification

of a relatively small number of variables that merit high-priority in

on-farm trials because of their expected beneficial impact on income,

risk or system interactions, for a given RD).


2) Pre-screening of experimental treatments (careful selection of

those treatments which address important research opportunities, are

likely to be profitable at reasonable levels of risk, and are expected

to mesh well with such system characteristics as labor and machinery

availability, cash flow and use).


- 2 -


1.Plan
Obtain a knowledge and un-
derstanding of farmer cir-
cumstances and problems,
to plan experiments.

1
2. Experiment
Conduct experiments in
farmers' fields to formulate -
improved technologies un-,"
der farmers' conditions. U


3. Recommend mU
Analyze experimental re- u.
sults in light of farmer cir-
cumstances to formulate
farmer recommendations.


4.Assess
Determine farmers' experi-
Sence with technologies.


5. Promote
Demonstrate improved
technologies to farmers.









3) Delineation of recommendation domains (RD's) (stratification
of the farmers in a study area into homogeneous target groups).


4) Site selection (selection of experimental sites that are re-
presentative of the fields and farmers corresponding to a given RD).


5) Setting the level of non-experimental variables (setting agro-
nomic practices which do not form part of the experimental program for a
given RD, at levels representative of the current farmer practice for
that RD).


The current study used a sequence of survey activities to ascertain
farmer circumstances and address the above five issues. First, avail-
able secondary data were reviewed, including climate maps, rainfall data
and census data (soils maps are not available for the study area).Then,
a brief exploratory survey was conducted. During this exploratory
survey, a non-random sample of farmers from the study area was "interviewed"
by the researchers. Agricultural extension and credit agents were also
interviewed. No questionnaire was used in these interviews, although a
mental "check list" of topics to be covered was employed. The interviews
were conducted as informal conversations. The results of the exploratory
survey served to set up hypotheses on recommendation domains, the current
farmer practice and research priorities. Specifically, the exploratory
survey served to design a "formal survey" to test these hypotheses.


This formal survey was conducted in September, 1981. The draft
questionnaire developed from exploratory survey results was extensively
field-tested and adjusted.


A sample of 48 farmers was obtained through two-stage sampling, in
which "ejidos" or villages served as primary sampling units. Only "ejidatarios"
or beneficiaries of the land reform were included in the sample. The
data were obtained by enumerators selected and trained for the occasion.
Manual analysis was preceded by a thorough manual edit.


- 3 -









3.0) Agroclimatic Circumstances
The important agroclimatic factors in the study area (those factors
that have a strong effect on farmer decision-making with respect to
agricultural production technology) appear from the exploratory survey
to be rainfall, soils, and topography.


Rainfall is the only source of water for agricultural production in
the study area. Water from the small rivers in the area is not used for
irrigation. Historical data show that mean annual rainfall is in the
1200-1300 mm range, with considerable seasonal fluctuations (Figure
3.1). June, July, August and September are the heavy rainfall months,
with a gradual decline in October, November and December. Rainfall,
however, tends to be unpredictable and unreliable. 'Extended droughts
during the "wet" months are not uncommon. Equally dangerous from the
viewpoint of agricultural production are the periods of heavy rainfall
which lead to water-logging of the area's heavy soils. Farmers perceived
both drought and water-logging as serious weather-related problems in
maize production (Table 3.2).


The "flooding" or water-logging problems noted above are due as
much to the soils found in the study area, as to heavy rainfall. No
soils maps are available, but agronomists have identified the predominant
soils as heavy black vertisols.-


Buckman and Brady (1969) describe a vertisol as follows: "This
order of mineral soils is characterized by high content of swelling-type
clays which in dry seasons cause the soils to develop deep, wide cracks...
Their very fine texture and shrinking and swelling characteristics make
them less suitable for crop production... They are sticky and plastic
when wet and hard when dry. As they dry out following a rain, the
period of time when they can be tilled is very short."


- 4 -


- A Violic, personal communication.










AVERAGE MONTHLY RAINFALL, POZA RICA, VERACRUZ


rl


a I I I I i. I I I .


1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Months


Source: CIMMYT meteorological
Experiment Station.


8 9 10 11 12


records, Poza Rica


-5-


220
200

180

160

140


Average
rainfall
1973-1979
(mm)


FIGURE 3.1









The terrain in the study area is characterized by rolling hills,
with occasional flat plains. Soils on the slopes may be somewhat dif-
ferent than those on flat lands, but detailed data is lacking. Topo-
graphy may also influence weather-related risk. The data in Table 3.2
suggest that flat fields are more likely to be waterlogged than sloped
fields although the relation was not significant at the .20 level.
Topography also appears to influence farmer decision-making with respect
to tillage and weeding practices, as will be discussed in later sections.


TABLE 3.2 SERIOUS WEATHER PROBLEMS, BY CROP CYCLE AND TOPOGRAPHY!



CROP CYCLE2/
PROBM 1981 1980-1981
WET DRY

FLAT SLOPE FLAT SLOPE



Drought 0 4 50 60
Waterlogging 72 54 31 15
Lodging 6 25 13 10
None 22 17 6 15



1/ % farmers reporting a given problem with respect to maize production

2/ Wet cycle = June or July planting
Dry cycle = December or January planting


4.0) Socioeconomic Circumstances
There are several socioeconomic factors that influence farmer
decision-making in the study area. Of most interest are the following:
land tenure, source of credit, and input markets.


-6-









4.1) Land Tenure
There are two major kinds of farmers in the study area of
Tihuatlan: the private landowners, or "propietarios" and the benefi-
ciaries of the land reform system, or "ejidatarios". This latter group
is of greater interest as they produce almost all of the maize that is
locally grown (1970 Census).


An ejidatario is a member of a land reform village or "ejido".
He has the right to use the land and even pass it on to a son, but not
to sell or rent it. Informal rental arrangements were detected in the
exploratory survey, including both cash rentals and share-cropping. Lack
of "ownership", however, does not appear to have inhibited long-run
investment in agriculture: citrus production has recently become a
major activity among ejidatarios.


4.2) Working Capital -- The Official Bank
Ejidatarios in the study area, in planting maize or beans, can
either use their own funds or they can obtain financing through the
official bank (BANRURAL). In the formal survey, 55% of respondents
reported working with the bank. Funds obtained through the official
bank are heavily subsidized and inputs are sold at a reduced price-- but
working with the bank Implies that the farmer must use the production
technology required by the bank. The bank therefore, plays a central
role in adoption of new technology for maize production. Recommendations
developed through on-farm research may be directed at the BANRURAL as
well as at individual farmers.


Many farmers were found in the exploratory survey that plant
maize with the bank on some fields -- and self-finance further maize
production on other fields. Curiously, farmers do not use the bank's
recommended technology on their self-financed fields. This will be
documented in detail in subsequent sections.


Access to some inputs and services -- notably chemical fertil-
izer and technical support -- are tied to the BANRURAL program. It


- 7 -









appears to be quite difficult to obtain fertilizer, for example, other
than through a bank loan.


A BANRURAL agricultural loan is relatively easy to obtain. In
a given ejido, a group of farmers wishing to use the bank's services
elect a representative or 'socio delegado" who handles the paper work
with the bank. Farmers using the bank's services in a given crop cycle,
however, may not necessarily use them in the following cycle.


4.3) Input Markets
Four major input markets may be distinguished: labor, machi-
nery services, fertilizer, and other purchased inputs (e.g. insecticide
and herbicides).


There is a very active labor market in the study area. Most
farmers (88%) use hired labor for peak season chores in maize produc-
tion. Exploratory survey results indicate that few farmers can count on
help from their sons because most of these find employment in urban
areas or in the nearby petroleum fields. Other evidence points to a
growing labor shortage: real wages for agricultural daily labor increased
by roughly 40% between 1978 and 1981. The current wage is roughly
MN $150 per day (equivalent to about 33 kg of maize)!


Peak labor periods are found in the months of June, July and
August, with a lesser peak in the November to January periods. The
I
June-August period corresponds to the harvest of dry cycle maize, and
tillage, planting and weeding of wet cycle maize. (Table 4.1)


Custom machinery hire is widespread throughout the Tihuatlan
study area, especially for land preparation for annual crops. For
example of these farmers using tractors for tillage in the 1981 "wet"
maize cycle, over 90% used hired tractor services. No farmers reported
that tractor hire was difficult to obtain, but field observation leads
one to believe that many farmers used tractor services at inappropriate
times. Wet plowing of the heavy vertisol soils was observed to leave


- 8 -










behind huge blocks of soil. This may indicate that the current stock of
tractors is insufficient to perform tillage operations during the short
periods of favorable physical soil conditions.


TABLE 4.1 PEAK LABOR MONTHS!




MONTH PERCENTAGE2~

MAY 16
JUNE 43
JULY 32
AUGUST 16
SEPTEMBER 11
OCTOBER 0
NOVEMBER 12
DECEMBER 16
JANUARY 16
FEBRUARY 0
MARCH 0
APRIL 0
ALL YEAR 9




1/
Percentage mentioning a given month as a busy one with
respect to agricultural work.
2/ Percentage sums to more than 100 due to multiple answers.


The market for fertilizer is tightly controlled. Fertilizer is
not freely available through commercial channels, but rather through
a limited number of franchized dealers. The only major source of
fertilizer at a reasonable distance for farmers in the study area is


-9-









BANRURAL, the official bank. The bank clearly has a strong preference
for credit users. In short, a farmer who wishes to use fertilizer on
his maize but does not wish to use bank services will have problems in
finding the fertilizer.


Such other purchased inputs as seed, insecticide and herbi-
cides have a much freer market structure. They are widely distributed
through private channels, and frequently are found at the village level.



5.0) The Farming System
5.1) Land Use and Crop Rotations
Maize is not by any means the only agricultural activity
undertaken by farmers in the study area. With respect to land use, it
is not even the most important. Pasture occupies roughly half the land
controlled by the ejidatario farmers, with fruit orchards and annual
crops (including maize) accounting for most of the rest. (Table 5.1)


TABLE 5.1


LAND USE


PERCENTAGE, AVERAGE AVERAGE PERCENTAGE
USE OF FARMERS-1 HA2 HA3/ OF FARM


Fruit orchard
Pasture
Annual crops
Fallow/forest
TOTAL


5.7
9.6
3.8
2.6


3.3
6.7
3.8
0.9
14.7


22
46
26
6
100


1/ Percentage farmers who use land for this purpose(ejidatarios only)

2/ Only farmers who use land for this purpose

3/ All farmers


- 10 -










Pasture land is used by ejidatario farmers primarily for small
dairy operations. These activities provide a constant income and appear
to have no major peaks in labor or cash requirements. Fruit orchards
similarly have no detectable labor peak demand periods (harvesting is
performed by the purchaser), although income is received at infrequent
intervals.


On the average, ejidatario farmers only reserve about 25% of
their land for the production of annual crops, out of an average farm
size of almost 15 ha per farmer. Small farmers, however (less than 10
ha farm size), use almost 70% of their land in the production of annual
crops. (Table 5.2). Larger ejidatario farmers (10-20 ha farm size)
produce roughly the same number of hectares of annual crops as small
farmers, but a lower percentage of their farm area is in these crops.


TABLE 5.2 LAND USE, BY FARM SIZE


PERCENTAGE OF FARM IN:
CATEGORY ANNUAL FRUIT
PASTURE OTHER
CROPS ORCHARDS
All Farmers 26 22 46 6
Farm size < 10 ha 69 9 5 16
Farm size > 10 ha 22 25 49 4




Within annual crop land, the most important crop is maize. The
preferred rotation is two crops of maize per year on the same field.
Occasional crops of beans, squash (for oilseed), and chiles are also
grown. (Table 5.3). Although the preferred rotation is continuous
maize, farmers can choose from a wide variety of potential crop ro-
tations, given the customary planting and harvesting dates of each
alternative annual crop. These dates are shown in Table 5.4.


- 11 -









CROP ROTATIONS


ROTATION!/ PERCENTAGE OF FARMERS

Maize-Maize-Maize 79
Maize-Squash-Maize 8
Maize-Maize-Beans 3
Other 11



1/ In the rotation description, the first crop is
the crop in the ground in a selected field at the
time of the survey. The two previous crops are then
listed.
TIMING OF CULTURAL PRACTICES, BY CROP


- 12 -


TABLE 5.4


ACTIVITY OPERATION M 0 N T H
WET CYCLE i DRY CYCLE
MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR APR

MAIZE a) Land Prep. X X X X

b) Planting X X X X

c) Weeding X X X X

d) Harvesting X X X X X X



BEANS a) Planting X

b) Harvesting X



SQUASH a) Planting X

b) Harvesting X X



CHILE a) Planting X

b) Harvesting X
----


TABLE 5.3









In the exploratory survey, farmers indicated that the area in
annual crops has been reduced significantly in the last few years, due
to profit and risk factors. Maize, for example, is seen as both less
profitable and riskier than citrus production.- Sources of risk in
annual crop production, as determined in the exploratory survey, are
summarized in Table 5.5.


TABLE 5.5 SOURCES OF RISK FOR


ANNUAL CROPS!/


DROUGHT WATERLOGGING INSECTS DISEASES VARIABLES
CROP PRICES

Maize Yes2/ Yes No No No
Beans Yes No Yes Yes No
Squash Yes No No No Yes
Chile Yes No Yes Yes Yes



1/ Source: Exploratory Survey

2/ Dry cycle

3/ Wet cycle




The reduction in annual crop area implies that maize is being
increasingly used for home consumption and not for cash sales. In the
formal survey, for example, only 50% of the farmers reported selling any
maize at all. No significant relation was detected between farm size
and the sales of maize. About 40% of small ejidatario farmers (1-9 ha)
sell some maize, versus 53% for large ejidatario farmers (10-20 ha).



/ Recent increases in government subsidies on inputs for maize production
combined with large increases in the floor price for maize may have
led, after this study was finished, to an increased area in maize.


- 13 -








5.2) Labor Hire and Off-Farm Income
It was pointed out in section 4.3 that ejldatario farmers in
the study area rely to a great degree on scarce hired labor in maize
production, especially in the peak labor demand months of June, July,
December and January. Fewer farmers indicated off-farm work as a source
of income. Only 7% reported having permanent off-farm employment, while
17% reported working occasionally as a hired daily laborer. Farm size,
however, relates strongly to labor hire practices. As many small farm-
ers as large farmers hire temporary labor but only small farmers work
for others. (Table 5.6).


TABLE 5.6 LABOR HIRE PRACTICES, BY FARM SIZE


FARM SIZE
VARIABLE SMALL LARGE
(1-9 ha) (10-20 ha)

% hire labor 82 90
% occasionally workfor others 55 0
% permanent off-farm work 9 6


6.0) Current Practices in Maize Production
In the following section, the current management of the maize crop
will be described and analyzed practice by practice, including tillage,
weed control, insect control, and harvest.


6.1) Tillage
Tillage for maize production in the Tihuatlan study area is
largely mechanized, with 60% of farmers plowing, harrowing and furrowing
with a tractor. Most of the rest of the farmers prepare their land by
hand, with a hoe. Of these farmers using tractors, the majority (90%)
use a rented tractor. About 25% of the, farmers reported difficulties


- 14 -









in obtaining the services of a hired tractor the rental price of which
is currently between $1500 and $2000 M. N.- per hectare (mean price =
MN $1725/ha; modal price = MN $1500/ha). This includes a plowing and
one harrowing. Farmers occasional pay for a second harrowing at
$400 -$600/ha MN.


Tillage practices are strongly influenced by topography and by
credit source. Tractors are more commonly used on flat fields than
sloped ones. Similarly, tractors are more commonly used on fields where
maize production is financed by the official bank. (Table 6.1). This is
expected, as the official bank's recommended maize production technology
includes tractor tillage. Indeed, almost all farmers who used tractor
tillage on sloped fields were found to be working with the bank.


TABLE 6.1 TILLAGE SYSTEMS BY TOPOGRAPHY AND SOURCE OF CREDIT



Tillage System Flat Sloped TOTAL
1/ 2/ 1/ 2/
Bank! Free Bank! Free,

% % %
Plow, harrow & furrow
with tractor 100 80 55 15 60
Plow & furrow with
horse 0 0 9 31 9
Manual (hoe) 0 20 27 46 26
Other 0 0 9 8 5


Total 100 100 100 100 100
% of Total 33 12 26 30 100


1/ Credit from BANRURAL.

2/ Credit from other source, or own capital ("free" is a direct translation)




SEquivalent to between 333 and 444 kg of maize.


- 15 -









Farm size does not appear to influence tillage methods. Small
farmers, for example, were not found to use more manual land prepara-
tion, nor did large farmers appear to prefer tractors (Table 6.2).
Recall that farm size does not appear to affect area in maize.


TABLE 6.2 TILLAGE SYSTEMS, BY FARM SIZE



TILLAGE SYSTEM SMALL LARGE TOTAL
(1-9 ha) (10-20 ha)



Plow, harrow and furrow
with tractor 75 55 60
Plow and furrow with horse 8 10 9
Manual (hoe) 17 29 26
Other 0 6 5
TOTAL 100 100 100


The farmer's tillage practice does not usually produce an even
seedbed. Although the soils that are being tilled are very heavy,
tillage is usually restricted to a plowing and one harrowing, which
leaves many large clods in the field. Given that hand planting is
employed, and that few herbicides are used for weed control, the problem
is probably not serious.


If mechanized planting or chemical weed control were to be
introduced, however, the current tillage system may be an obstacle to
adoption. An even seedbed is needed to achieve a good stand with mech-
anized planting. Similarly, an even seedbed can significantly reduce
the herbicide dose required to obtain good weed control, when compared
to an uneven seedbed. For example, if 1 kg/ha Gesaprim 50 is needed on
a perfectly even surface to control weeds, 2-3 kg/ha Gesaprim 50 may be
needed to control weeds in a field full of a large clods, given the larger
effective surface area to be covered by the herbicide.


- 16 -









6.2) Planting
Ejidatario farmers in the Tihuatlan study area all plant their
maize by hand, using a long planting stick. On sloped land, where land
preparation is performed with a hoe, no furrows are normally used. On
flatter fields tillage consists of a plowing, a harrowing and a furrow-
ing, and planting is performed in the bottom of the furrows. Planted
density depends on the variety chosen.


Most farmers use the local variety, although some use the
Tuxpeiito open-pollinated variety. Those farmers using this commercial
variety also use a higher seed rate (Table 6.3).


TABLE 6.3 PLANTING PRACTICES




VARIABLE ESTIMATE

Variety:
-- % planted local variety 63
-- % planted Tuxpenito 28
-- % planted other 9
Average seed quantity:
-- kg/ha seed -- local variety 12
kg/ha seed -- Tuxpenito 18

Planting date:
-- % planted in May or June 30
-- % planted in July 38
-- % planted in August or September 32

Source of seed:
-- % planted own seed 70
-- % obtained seed from bank 28


- 17 -









In response to an open-coded question, farmers reported that
different advantages and disadvantages correspond to the two different
varieties. Farmers praised the good yields in storability of the local
variety but are concerned by its tendency to lodge. Tuxpenito lodges
less due to its small plant size, but is susceptible to weevil attack in
storage. (Table 6.4). The question of storability, of course gains in
importance to farmers as maize shifts from a cash crop to a consumption
crop.


TABLE 6.4 ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF MAIZE VARIETIES!'

VARIETY
VARIABLE LOCAL TUXPERITO
Percent of Farmers

Advantages:
Yields well 50 17
-- Resists lodging 0 58
-- Early maturing 0 25
Stores well 20 0
Drought tolerant 16 0

Disadvantages:
Lodges 47 0
Insects in storage 10 75



1/ Percentage of farmers using a given variety who mentioned a
given advantage or disadvantage of that variety in response
to an open-ended question.


The Tuxpeiito variety tends to be grown on flat fields by
farmers working with official bank financing. (Table 6.5). Small
farmers also tend to use Tuxpeiito, probably because a greater propor-
tion of their financing comes from the bank. It is interesting to note
that almost all farmers not working with the bank (and who therefore
could take responsibility for variety selection) used the local variety.


- 18 -









TABLE 6.5 MAIZE VARIETY BY TOPOGRAPHY, FARM SIZE, AND SOURCE OF FINANCING

PERCENTAGE OF FARMERS PLANTING:
VARIABLE LOCAL TUXPERITO

Topography:
-- Flat fields 44 56
-- Sloped fields 94 6

Farm Size:
-- Small (1-9 ha) 45 55
-- Large (10-20 ha) 76 24

Source of Financing:
-- Bank 45 55
-- Other 94 6




Farmers reported a remarkably wide range in planting dates.
Some farmers planted as early as May while others delayed planting until
September. The major reason for delay in planting appeared to be water-
logged fields caused by unusually heavy rains in June and early July.
Since fewer sloped fields were waterlogged, fewer sloped fields were
planted late. (Table 6.6). There is no evidence, however, to indicate
that fields planted in August are less productive than fields planted in
June or July.


TABLE 6.6 DATE OF PLANTING, BY TOPOGRAPHY


DATE OF PLANTING FLAT SLOPED TOTAL



May June 10 46 30
July 40 36 38
August September 50 18 32
TOTAL 100 100 100


- 19 -








There seems to be little room for the mechanization of maize
planting at the current time. Mechanization would require more thorough
tillage, which would increase production costs by MN $400 5001/ per
additional harrowing. It would at the same time save very little labor;
currently, farmers only use 2-3 man-days per ha in planting, costing MN
$ 150 per man-day. Finally, it should be recalled that maize area is
declining and that few farmers have more than a few ha reserved for
annual crops.


There does, however, appear to a need for improved maize va-
rieties. It is clear that farmers would like to have access to a high
yielding, early-maturing variety of white maize that is resistant to
lodging -- and that also is storable (i.e. weevil resistant) under
farmer conditions./ If it appears unlikely that such a variety be
developed, research on storage techniques for the Tuxpeiito variety (or
other forthcoming modern varieties) could be useful.


6.3) Fertilization
Most ejidatario farmers in the study area do not fertilize
their maize. Of the 36% of farmers who do fertilize, most of these use
,only urea (46-0-0) and the rest use only DAP (18-46-0).. The most common
method of application is to place the fertilizer in the furrow near each
plant, immediately before either cultivation or hilling-up (15-45 days
after planting). The average dose of N applied by fertilizer users is
45 kg/ha (Table 6.7).


The use of fertilizer does not appear to be related to either
topography or farm size. That is, farmers on flat land do not show a
higher tendency to fertilize than farmers on sloped lands, nor do fewer
small farmers apply fertilizer than large farmers. However, the use of
fertilizer is related to source of financing. Farmers working with the
bank tend to fertilize, but farmers not working with the bank rarely do


SEquivalent to between 90 and 110 kg of maize.

SMore work needs to be done to ascertain what characteristics are
needed for weevil resistance husk cover, grain type, etc.


- 20 -









so. This is to be expected, because the bank is for all practical
purposes the only source of fertilizer in the study area. (Table 6.8).


TABLE 6.7 FERTILIZATION PRACTICES -- FERTILIZER USERS


VARIABLE


ESTIMATE1/


% Fertilizer 36
--% use urea 30
% use 18-46-0 6


% Obtain fertilizer from bank
% Use only one application

Application method:
-- % broadcast
-- % place in furrow near plant


Timing of fertilization:
-- % at planting
-- % at first weeding
-- % at hilling-up

Average N dose (kg/ha)


1/ Users only, except for "% fertilizer"








SIt was expected that an even larger proportion of farmers working
with the bank would use fertilizer because this forms part of the
bank's required technology. In follow-up interviews, some farmers
indicated that bank fertilizer arrived too late for application
to current cycle of maize.


- 21 -


__









TABLE 6.8 FERTILIZER USE BY TOPOGRAPHY, FARM SIZE AND SOURCE OF FINANCING




PERCENTAGE OF FARMERS
VARIABLE WHO FERTILIZE



All farmers 36

Topography:
flat fields 35
-- sloped fields 36

Farm Size:
small (1-9 ha) 36
large (10-20 ha) 35

Source of financing:
bank 52
-- other 12





Those farmers who did not apply fertilizer indicated several
reasons for this decision. The major reasons were that: this cycle's
weather was unfavorable for fertilization (50%), insufficient capital
(31%) and that fertilizer does not increase yields (19%).


Fertilizer does not have to increase yields very much in order
to be profitable, given current price relations. A farmer increasing
his fertilizer dose from 0 to 45 kg/ha of N in the form of urea only
incurs an expense of about MN $ 400 per ha for the purchase and trans-
port of urea. Adding an application cost ($ 150) and cost of capital
(50% minimum rate of return required to induce investment), the total
cost that must be recovered increases to MN $ 825 per ha. This is
equivalent to roughly 200 kg/ha of maize, or roughly 4 kg of maize per





22 -









kg of N. That is, an average yield increase of only 200 kg/ha is sufficient
to make profitable the use of 45 kg/ha of N in the form of urea.


In a good year, (i.e., with good weather), agronomists expect
maize yields to increase by considerably more than 200 kg/ha. In bad
years (drought, waterlogging), however, maize yield response to fertil-
izer can be cut to zero. Given the high probability of bad years oc-
curing (Table 3.2), fertilizer use may only be just profitable on the
average and may particularly difficult for risk averters. (Recall,
however, that fertilizer use is not related to farm size, a commonly-
used measure of risk-taking capacity.)


In summary, survey results indicate that there are two likely
reasons for low fertilizer use rates: weather-related risk, and dif-
ficulties in obtaining fertilizer. Technological innovations that re-
duce the effects of drought or water-logging on maize yields (e.g. zero
tillage with mulch, drainage) should also raise the average productivity
of fertilizer and make its use more attractive. Nonetheless, fertilizer
use is not likely to become more widespread until fertilizer supplies
are made more accessible to farmers, especially farmers who decide not
to work with the official bank,


6.4) Weed Control
Weeds are a serious problem in the Tihuatlan study area.
Farmers consider weeds to be a problem and field trips revealed numerous
plots in which weeds can be expected to reduce yields considerably.
Weeds are mostly broad leaves and annual grasses.


Most farmers control weeds by hoeing their field once or
twice. Some farmers, however, use horse cultivation, at times in
combination with hoeing or "hilling-up". (Table 6.9). Hilling-up
refers to a pass between the rows with a horse-drawn plow, which heaps
up earth around the base of the maize plants. Cultivation is done at
roughly 20 days after planting, while hilling-up is done at roughly 45
days. Few farmers use herbicides.


- 23 -









TABLE 6.9 WEED CONTROL PRACTICES


VARIABLE


% farmers consider weeds a serious
problem

Weed control system:
-- % only hoe
-- % cultivate, hoe and hill-up
-- % cultivate and hoe
% cultivate and hill-up
-- % other


% use herbicide


The weed control practice used by farmers depends somewhat on
the tillage practice employed. Farmers that tend to prepare land with a
hoe also tend to weed with a hoe. The hoe is, however, also used by a
number of farmers that use tractor tillage (Table 6.10).


TABLE 6.10 WEED CONTROL SYSTEM BY TILLAGE SYSTEM


WEED CONTROL TILLAGE SYSTEM
SYSTEM TRACTOR PLOW ONLY
HARROW AND FURROW HOE


Only hoe 42 80
Cultivation 58 20
TOTAL 100 100


- 24 -


ESTIMATE









Exploratory survey results indicate that farmers use 8-12 man-
days per ha in hand weeding, per weeding, with only one weeding being
more common than two. The cost of weeding, then, varies between MN $
1200 and 1800 per ha. Much of this labor is hired labor, as weeding is
performed during a period of peak demand for labor. As was noted in a
previous section, labor is increasingly scarce in the study area. This
is reflected in a 40% increase in the real wage paid to agricultural
laborers, in three years.


The weed control practice selected by farmers is somewhat
influenced by topography, with farmers planting maize on sloped fields
showing a slightly higher preference for the hoe. (Table 6.11).


TABLE 6.11


WEED CONTROL SYSTEMS BY TOPOGRAPHY, FARM SIZE AND SOURCE OF
FINANCING


% %
1/
VARIABLE ONLY HOE CULTIVATE-

Topography:
-- flat fields 38 62
-- sloped fields 67 33

Farm Size:
-- small (1-9 ha) 33 67
-- large (10-20 ha) 61 39

Source of Financing:
-- bank 55 45
-- other 57 43


1/ Any weed control system in which cultivation is included.


- 25 -









Given increasingly scarce labor, chemical Weed control may
offer substantial benefits to local farmers. Estimating four man-days
per ha needed for hauling water and herbicide application, and a dose of
2 kg/ha of Gesaprim 50, the cost of weed control could be cut to roughly
MN $1000/ha. Furthermore, the quality of weed control may improve;
chemical weed control is likely to lead to a cleaner field during the
early stages of plant growth and may therefore increase yields. How-
ever, the selection and dose of herbicides should be determined by
appropriate experiments on farmers' fields.


Intercropping and rotations should not present complications
in the adoption of chemical weed control. The most common rotation is
maize-maize, and intercropping of annual crops is almost nonexistent.


The farmers' tillage practice, however, may affect the pro-
fitability of chemical weed control. Tractor tillage in the study area
leaves large, unbroken clods which, among other things, increases the
dose of pre-emergent herbicide needed to control weeds. If the cost of
herbicide purchase were to exceed MN $ 1000/ha (eg. 4 kg/ha Gesaprim
50), chemical weed control would show no cost advantage over hoeing with
hired labor.


A possible solution to this difficulty is chemical zero til-
lage. If herbicides were used for both land preparation and weed con-
trol, large clods would not be formed and herbicide doses could be kept
to a minimum. Furthermore, the resulting mulch cover could have highly
favorable effects on moisture conservation and erosion control. Recall
that droughts are perceived by farmers as an important problem in maize
production. This practice could probably be implemented through the use
of relatively inexpensive herbicides, given the absence of perenniel
1/
grasses in farmer's fields.-



CIMMYT agronomists have had, in fact, considerable success in
developing a cost-reducing, yield-increasing, risk-reducing prac-
tice of chemical zero tillage suited to the study area.


- 26 -










6.5) Insect Control
Insect pests and their control were not studied in the formal
survey. \Exploratory survey results indicate that insects rarely lead to
serious maize yield losses in the study area. Farmers already use an
inexpensive and effective control when insect infestations do occur,
although they have chosen a relatively toxic insecticide. Insects that
are commonly present are leaphoppers in the early stages of plant growth,
and armyworms somewhat later. Farmers apply 1/4 to 1/2 It/ha Folidol
(50% Methyl parathion) once or twice on infested fields. These insects
may be present in both the dry and wet maize cycles.


6.6) Maize Harvest, Sales and Storage
Ejidatario farmers in the Tihuatlan study area harvest their
maize by hand, largely with hired labor. Given the small size of most
maize fields, it is unlikely that harvesting will be mechanized in the
near future. Farmers normally leave the maize in the field until dry
enough for storage, as there are no drying facilities in the area.
Given the atmospheric humidity usually present, field drying can take
quite a while.


About half of farmers sold no maize at all. The proportion
holds for large as well as small farmers. Of those who do sell some
maize, most sell less than half of their harvest. Those sales are
normally conducted immediately after harvest. (Table 6.12). As noted
in section 5.0, maize is now more a consumption crop than a cash crop.


No questions were included in the formal survey on maize
storage problems. The exploratory survey, however, indicated that
weevils are the major storage problem, particularly with respect to the
modern variety, "Tuxpeiito". Maize is typically stored unshelled with
the husk intact. Few farmers complain of rat damage or maize spoiled
due to moisture.


- 27 -









TABLE 6.12 MAIZE SALES


VARIABLE


Maize Sales:
% sell whole harvest
% sell more than half the harvest
-- % sell less than half the harvest
% do not sell

Timing of Sales:
-- % sell immediately after harvest
-- % sell one month after harvest
% sell even later
-- % do not sell

Median sales price ($/kg)


7.0) Conclusions
7.1) Recommendation Domains
Before a list of research
drawn up, a tentative decision must
mendation domains (RD's). An RD is
circumstances and problems, and who
technology similarly useful.


opportunities and priorities can be
be made on the delineation of recom-
a group of farmers with similar
are expected to find the same new


Three potential criteria for RD delineation were analyzed in sec-
tions 6.1 to 6.6. These are: Topography (sloped fields vs flat fields),
farm size (1-9 ha versus 10-20 ha), and source of financing (bank versus
self-financed). The latter criterion, however, is not a very satisfac-
tory base for planning agricultural research: are researchers to plant
one set of trials for bank users and another set for non-users? This


- 28 -


ESTIMATE










becomes ridiculous as current users can easily be non-users next cycle,
1/
and vice-versa.-


Of the two remaining criteria, topography appears to have more
impact on farmer practices and circumstances than does farm size. (Table
7.1). Therefore, the topography criterion is proposed as a basis of
grouping the first set of on-farm experiments. The possibility of
adjustment at some future date, of course, remains open.


TABLE 7.1 EFFECT OF TOPOGRAPHY AND FARM SIZE AND FARMER CIRCUMSTANCES
AND PRACTICES




EFFECT OF:
VARIABLE TOPOGRAPHY FARM SIZE


Source of risk maize Some None
Off-farm income None Some
Land Use None Great
Crop rotation None None

Maize Production:
-- Tillage Great None
-- Variety Great Some
Planting Date Some None
-- Fertilizer Use None None
-- Weed Control Some Some
Sales None None







1/
If use of official bank credit were to have a major impact on input
prices or cost of capital, two recommendations (one for bank users
and another for non-users) might emerge from a single set of on-
farm trials. The question then becomes why all farmers don't work
with the bank.


- 29 -









7.2) Research Opportunities and Priorities
For a program of on-farm experiments (for the purpose of for-
mulating new technologies useful to representative farmers) the follow-
ing are proposed, on the basis of the survey results presented in the
previous section, as high-priority research topics:


1) Chemical weed control: on flat fields, the basis of com-
parison should be horse cultivation with hoeing along the row, and
hilling-up. On sloped fields, the base for comparison should be hoeing
only (maximum two hoeings). Herbicides should be selected to control
broadleaf weeds and annual grasses.


2) Zero tillage (herbicides): on flat fields, the base for
comparison should be tractor plowing, harrowing (once) and furrowing. On
sloped fields, the basis of comparison may be tractor tillage (moderate
slopes only) or hoeing.


3) Fertilization: the official bank may welcome guidance in
the selection and doses of fertilizer for these customers. Flat and
sloped fields are likely to have different average responses to fertil-
izer. The response to earlier applications of fertilizer could also be
checked.


4) Storage: Research on weevil control could be very helpful.


5) Varieties: As a longer-run project, selection by breeders
of new varieties to fit farmer preferences would be most useful. Farmers
would like a high-yielding, short-statured, white maize with low susceptibility
to weevils in storage.


- 30 -




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