Environmental performance of farmer-level corn production systems in the Philippines
Keywords:corn, carbon, energy, global warming potential, greenhouse gases
Four corn production systems at farmer-level of operation were evaluated. Environmental performance such as energy use, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emission (GHG) and carbon efficiency were determined. Data were collected from 60 corn producing farmers using survey questionnaires and face to face interview. The input energy to produce an output energy of 69,714.06 and 73,029.60 MJ/ha for sun drying and mechanical drying, respectively, were 22,346.27, 31, 469.75, 22, 399.05 and 31,522.53 MJ/ha for systems 1 (manual harvesting and sun drying), 2 (manual harvesting and mechanical drying), 3 (mechanical harvesting and sun drying) and 4 (mechanical harvesting and mechanical drying), respectively. The highest energy input was observed for system 4 followed by system 2 because of the additional energy input of kerosene fuel during mechanical drying. Non-renewable and indirect forms of energy had contributed most to the total input energy in all corn production systems. In all systems evaluated, chemical fertilizer had the highest share in energy input followed by diesel fuel. Lower GHG emissions were measured for system 1 and 3 at 1276.5 and 1309.60 kg CO2eq per ha, respectively than system 2 and 4 at 2101.9 and 2135.0 kg CO2eq per ha due to additional non-renewable energy input like kerosene during mechanical drying. A kilogram of dried corn grain emitted 0.27 to 28 kg CO2eq for system 1 and 3 and increased further to 0.42 to 0.43 kg CO2eq for systems 2 and 4. The net carbon sequestered for systems 1, 2, 3 and 4 was 1785.98, 1662.36, 1776.94 and 1653.33 kg C/ha, respectively. The highest carbon efficiency ratio was observed for system 1 at 6.13 followed by system 3 at 5.98 due to non-utilization of fossil fuel during drying. Generally, all corn production systems evaluated did not emit carbon beyond the carbon produced and sequestered in corn itself as indicated by their positive net carbon ratio.