‘El Niño comes at a better time as summer is off season for farming’

The long-awaited mild El Niño could not have come at a better time than this summer.

Dr. Roldan Saragena, Officer-in-Charge, Provincial Agriculturist said this time is a usual dry season and is an off season for corn farming.

“At this point of time, the farmers prepare their farm for the incoming first cropping season. They are into plowing and harrowing of the field, and application of vassal fertilizers,” he said.

The first cropping season starts in the second week of May. But Saragena advised the farmers to consult first their respective municipal or city agriculturists on the right time to plant to avoid wasting of resources.

He said it would be better for them to listen to the advisory of their municipal agriculturists and not to rely on the unpredictable weather.

He also recommended to them to focus on planting short duration crops that can withstand the dry spell. These crops are pechay, kangkong, and lettuce. He added that planting camote is also advisable because it can withstand and thrive in hot weather conditions.

Planting companion crops such as squash and mongo with corn in the same area is also advisable. He explained that squash and mongo are also called cover crops, which delay the evaporation of water.

The upland farmers, whose farms are situated near the natural water ways or streams, are encouraged to make an improvised water catchment pond.

For rice farmers, they are advised to manage their water resources.

Joseph dela Cerna, Agriculturist II, said the Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) technology is effective.

Farmers can apply AWD to minimize the use of their irrigation systems without compromising production. In AWD, irrigation water is subsequently used a few days after the pond water dries up.

Dela Cerna said the technology has been implemented in the areas where they were able to hold trainings like Argao, Sibonga, Carcar City, Barili, Toledo City, Balamban, Asturias, and Pinamungajan.

Meanwhile, Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Mary Rose Vincoy also advised the livestock farmers to be aware of the things to do during extended hot weather.

She said the ruminant animals should be placed under the shaded area or trees. They must be provided with enough water at all times.

For pigs, they must be sprinkled with water from time to time since they are prone to heatstroke. The poultry farm owners should use ventilation. Dog owners should likewise keep their pets at home from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Dr. Vincoy said that all animal should be provided with vitamins, feeds that are rich in energy, and water.

Currently, the Provincial Veterinarian’s Office is conducting regular veterinary outreach program in some areas in the province.

The United States National Weather Service recently declared that El Niño has finally arrived early this month. The weak El Niño was said to be experienced last October according to the earlier predictions of the weather authorities.