Mark Mercado who manages a 28-hectare farm in Iba, Zambales, will tell you that preparing other people’s farms for planting is good business. In just one year of servicing other farmers in Zambales, his investment in a new tractor was recovered.
At the time of our interview when he visited the Sarian farm in Teresa, Rizal, he said that his son who was cultivating about two hectares of rice field reported that in the evening, he would go home with P9,000 as his payment for the day’s plowing service.
And how much was the cash expense? Only P2,000 for the diesel fuel, he said. The operator, who is his son, would have a share of P1,000. So there is a net of P6,000 for that day.
Mark’s combine harvester is another money-maker. The machine was obtained with a P1.7 million loan. He is confident that in less than two years, the harvester will be paid off. He said that the harvesting machine can harvest about 400 sacks a day. Which means that the share of the harvester is 40 cavans. Forty cavans or 2,000 kilos. At P19 per kilo of palay, that is worth P38,000 in a day’s work.
Mark who bought a hole digger attached to his tractor, mainly for digging holes for posts, has found a practical use for the hole digger. In his own experiment, he made holes about one foot deep. He half-filled the hole with old chicken manure and put the top soil above. Then he planted eggplant. Lo and behold! The eggplants were very robust and fruitful. Now, he says, he does not have to plow the field for planting some crops like eggplant. He will just make holes, fill them up with old chicken manure and top soil, and he will have a good crop of eggplant. One other crop he grows in holes made by his tractor is squash or pumpkin. Other crops like watermelon, honeydew and the like will also be highly suitable for planting in holes. No more plowing of the whole field.