JENNY REMOQUILLO with fruits of Diana

If you want to read the detailed guide in planting the Diana watermelon, better get a copy of the July issue of Agriculture Magazine published by the Bulletin and edited by yours truly, which is off the press by June 27.

The cover features two fruits of the new watermelon held by Jennifer Remoquillo, national coordinator of the High Value Crops Development program of the Department of Agriculture.
Diana watermelon is a hybrid variety developed by Known-You Seed of Taiwan which is distributed in the Philippines by Harbest Agribusiness owned by Toto Barcelona.
The beauty about Diana watermelon is that it is one of the varieties that can be grown even during the rainy season as long as you follow the protocol of growing featured in the July issue of Agriculture Magazine.
Diana is a solo-type watermelon, each fruit weighing about 2.5 kilos. The rind is bright yellow and the flesh is red, juicy and sweet. The plant is productive and can be harvested as early as 60 to 65 days after transplanting.
The planting guide includes the recommended techniques in seed germination, land preparation, transplanting, schedule of fertilizer application like application of organic and chemical fertilizers both as basal, and weekly drenching of different doses of chemical fertilizers.
The guide also tackles irrigation techniques, pruning and fruit setting, control and prevention of pests and diseases, and harvesting.
There are, of course, many other interesting and useful ideas that could be gleaned from the success stories featured in the magazine. These include the story of the Gabuyo couple, Fernando and Erlinda, of Brgy. Tondod, San Jose City in Nueva Ecija. They can usually produce 280 to 300 cavans per hectare in their 20-hectare rice farm because they are very receptive to modern technologies. They are following the rice growing protocol developed by Alfonso G. Puyat.
Dr. Pablito Pamplona also writes a detailed feature on “Promoting High Productivity and Profitability in Rubber Farming”. Rubber farming, he notes, can generate a lot of jobs in the countryside. Rubber can be considered a reforestation crop which can generate employment in land preparation, planting and cutting of trees, and of course labor needed in tapping the latex. One laborer is usually employed for tapping two hectares on a yearly basis.
There is also an extensive report from the Agricultural Research Service of the United States which is about “Alternatives to Antibiotics in Animal Health.”
There is also a story on Isabela’s pioneer commercial sheep raiser and then about Negros Occidental poising to become the country’s Lamb Capital, thanks to Gov. Alfredo Maranon who imported 6,000 Dorper and Damara sheep breeders from Australia early this year.
Agriculture Magazine is the most widely circulated magazine of its kind in the country. It is distributed nationwide through bookstores, convenient stores and through the distribution network of Manila Bulletin.
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