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The choice of planting date is an important decision especially in rainfed, annual crop production system like corn. The planting period, which lasts 30-90 days according to climatic zone and date of onset of rains, is the most critical part of the farming sea son (Ingram et al. 2002). The difference in planting date during this study ranged from 3 days to 39 days (Table 4.1). The yield and income variation based on differences in planting date are shown in Figs. 4.2 and 4.3. There is an appreciable difference in the levels of corn yields and farm net income in the two sites with distinctly different elevations and agro-environment. Overall, crop yields in the low elevation, flood-prone corn areas in Naguilian are relatively higher that those in the high-elevation, drought-prone corn areas of Benito Soliven.

As shown in Fig. 4.2, the yield in corn areas that followed a planting date based on climate forecast was higher in five out of six farms that participated in the study. This overall yield advantage is about 18% compared to farms with planting dates based on farmer's choice. In the lower elevation areas of Naguilian, areas with planting date based on climate forecast have 11% better yield compared to areas planted following farmer's choice of planting date. Yield in areas that utilized advanced climate information was 25% higher than the overall community yields average. The general trend was similar in the higher elevation and drought-prone municipality of Benito Soliven. Climate forecast-based planting resulted to 12% better yield than areas planted based on individual farmer's choices and 13% better yield than the general community yield average. For Mrs. Herminia Accad (Farmer No. 3) in Naguilian, Isabela, a difference of three days in the choice of planting date resulted to a decrease in yield by 13% or about 770 kilograms of corn yield per hectare.

Income from Corn Production

In terms of farm income, areas in Naguilian that utilized advanced climate information have 18% more income on a per hectare basis compared to farms that depended on individual farmer's choice of planting dates (Fig. 4.3). Income differences based on choice of planting dates ranged from 7.2 to 27% in Naguilian, Isabela. In Benito Soliven, the income advantage resulting from the application of the recommended planting dates based on climate forecast was about 32% on a per hectare basis. Income differences of participating Benito Soliven farmers ranged from 4.3 to 65.7%. The huge 65.7%

Table 4.1. Planting dates based on climate forecast products and farmers' choice of dates of planting corn in Isabela Province, Philippines

Location

Based on climate forecast

Based on farmer's choice

B. Soliven

- Farmer 1

27 October 2003

18 November 2003

B. Soliven

- Farmer 2

27 October 2003

10 October 2003

B. Soliven

- Farmer 3

27 October 2003

18 October 2003

Naguilian

- Farmer 1

21 October 2003

17 November 2003

Naguilian

- Farmer 2

21 October 2003

30 November 2003

Naguilian

- Farmer 3

21 October 2003

24 October 2003

Fig. 4.2. Corn yields at Naguilian and Benito Soliven, Isabela, Philippines as affected by planting dates

Fig. 4.2. Corn yields at Naguilian and Benito Soliven, Isabela, Philippines as affected by planting dates

difference in the per hectare income of Mr. Edmund Gauiran (Farmer No. 2) of Benito Soliven was brought about by the 29.4% yield advantage and the better price of corn grains when the harvest from area planted using climate forecast was sold in the local trading center.

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