Govt cuts Q1 grain production forecast

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The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) has lowered its palay and corn output projection for the first quarter of the year, citing contraction in harvest areas and lower yield due adverse effects of typhoons, intense heat and insufficient water supply.

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In its February 2015 Round forecast, BAS said that palay production for January-March 2015 may reach 4.46 million MT, 2.8 percent lower than its January forecast of 4.59 million MT for the year earlier but still 3.6 percent higher than last year’s output of 4.31 million MT.

“Harvest area may contract from 1.17 million hectares to 1.16 million hectares. Yield may drop from 3.93 MT per hectare to 3.84 MT per hectare,” the agency said.

Contraction in harvest area and drop in yield could be the result of damages brought about by Typhoon Seniang in Capiz and Negros Occidental last December 2014 and Typhoon Amang in Camarines Sur last January 2015.

In Iloilo, Tarlac, Mindoro Oriental and Cagayan, the insufficient water supply and intense heat during the vegetative and reproductive stages of palay may reduce the yield.

The incidence of stemborer and rice black bug in Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, Maguindanao, Cavite, and Laguna may contribute to lower production in those areas. Other factors such as lodging due to strong winds during the reproductive stage of the crop may bring about reductions in yield in Quezon, Laguna, Antique and Zambales.

As of February 1 this year, around 241,000 hectares of the updated standing crop have been harvested, while about 683,000 hectares or 73.5 percent of the planting intentions for the April-June 2015 crop have been realized.

Of the 1.60 million hectares standing palay crop, 44.6 percent were at vegetative stage; 32.8 percent at reproductive stage, and 22.6 percent at maturing stage.

For corn, production for the first quarter of 2015 may reach 2.43 million MT. This was 0.6 percent below the earlier forecast of 2.44 million MT but 6.6 percent above last year’s level of 2.28 million MT.

Harvest area may decline from 719.78 thousand hectares to 719.17 thousand hectares; while yield may drop to 3.38 MT per hectare from 3.39 MT per hectare.

The probable decrease in corn output could be attributed to insufficient water supply, late onset of rainfall and intense heat in Tarlac, Batangas, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, and Cavite.

Contraction in harvest area and lower yield could be due to the adverse effects of typhoons Seniang and Amang in Camarines Sur, Capiz, Cebu and Misamis Oriental.

In South Cotabato and Batangas, the expected decrease in output could be due to lodging caused by strong winds. In North Cotabato, the decrease in output could be due to flashfloods.

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