Costly Farming Mistakes

Published December 31, 2016, 4:05 PM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Zac B. Sarian


POOR YIELD Papaya grown from second generation seeds produce sparse fruits that are inferior
POOR YIELD Papaya grown from second generation seeds produce sparse fruits that are inferior

In farming, it is very easy to commit mistakes. Neophytes, especially, can commit very costly mistakes.

Just like a friend of ours from Laguna. One day, he was excited telling us that he planted a lot of Red Lady papaya. He said an acquaintance of his offered to sell him beautiful seedlings at only P15 per plant, half the usual price in the market. He was told that the seedlings came from big fruits of the Red Lady he bought from a roadside stall. Our friend planted them in spaces between old coconut trees. He was greatly dismayed, however, when his papaya trees started bearing fruit which were very sparse. When he opened one ripe fruit, the flesh was too thin.

Why? We will explain after we relate the pumpkin grower from Bukidnon who bought a lot of cheap Suprema squash seeds offered to him. The seeds were extracted by an “enterprising” guy from Suprema squash bought from the market. Although the pumpkin farmer planted a wide area, he did not make any profit because the yield was too poor.

Why? Because like the papaya planter, the pumpkin grower bought what is called the F2 or second generation seed. This is the seed that is taken from the fruit of the F1 or first generation hybrid plant. What happens is that the plants from the second generation seeds are variable and many of the fruits could be off-type. In both cases, both the papaya and pumpkin planters made the mistake of planting the wrong seeds.

The first generation plants possess what experts call hybrid vigor. The plants are vigorous and the fruits are more less uniform and of good quality.



The worst mistake we have seen is that of a retired executive who bought a big farm in Central Luzon where he planted carabao mango. The variety is good but he made the mistake of planting the seedlings only five meters apart.

Planting mango trees too close to each other is tragic. That is because you wait for several years before you realize the mistake. That way you don’t only lose money but you also lose valuable time. When the trees are planted too near each other, they will be overcrowded and they will bear just a few fruits if at all.

After 10 years, the mango owner was advised by an expert to cut down every other tree so there will be enough space for proper fruiting. Reluctantly, the owner obliged and in the process he spent a fortune in cutting down the excess trees.

One big mistake that the mango planter committed was that he did not consult a mango expert. Instead, he relied on the words of the nurseryman who supplied him the seedlings. Most probably the nurseryman wanted to sell as many seedlings as possible so that he recommended the very close planting. That, of course, is just our speculation but that could be true.

Anyway, mistakes have their own value. They can usually teach valuable lessons not only to the fellow who commit the mistakes but also others who get to know about them.