Good farming practices reward Filipino farmer with high rice yields

 Rice Today   |  

Alex Audencial, a farmer in Nueva Ecija in the Philippines, credits good farming practices for having high palay yields since 2020. He recently harvested about 9 tons of paddy from his 0.7-hectare farm and made a profit of USD1,500.

Mr. Audencial plants NSIC Rc 222 rice variety, which has an average yield of 6.1 tons per hectare and is moderately resistant to the brown planthopper and green leafhopper pests.

Mr. Audencial also uses smart nutrient management tools such as the Leaf Color Chart, Minus-One-Element Technique, Nutrient-Omission-Plot Technique, and Rice Crop Manager in determining his fertilizer application.

He sprays pesticide only when needed, noting that the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) has advised against excessive chemical application based on agroecosystem analysis.

Read the full story at Philippine News Agency 

More on good farming practices:

Crop nutrient management using Nutrient Expert improves yield, increases farmers’ income, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions
Nutrient Expert (NE) tool-based site-specific nutrient management (SSNM) in rice and wheat crops can lower global warming potential by about 2.5% in rice and between 12% and 20% in wheat over farmers’ fertilization practice. More than 80% of the participating farmers increased their crop yield and farm income by applying the NE-based fertilizer recommendation.

Adoption of NE-based fertilizer recommendation practice in all rice and wheat acreage in India would translate into 13.92 million tons more rice and wheat production with 1.44 metric tons (Mt) less N fertilizer use, and a reduction in GHG of 5.34 Mt CO2 per year over farmers’ current practice.

IPM (No, not integrated pesticide management!)
In the Philippines, the use of pesticides in rice production expanded rapidly during the 1970s and into the 1980s partly due to concerns that crop losses from pests would negate the gains from planting modern rice varieties. However, by the mid-1980s, it was clear that the indiscriminate use of pesticides could cause ecological imbalances that could exacerbate, rather than alleviate, a pest problem. Moreover, research was providing evidence of negative environmental and human health effects from the excessive use of pesticides.

The primary policy recommendation resulting from IRRI policy-oriented research was to restrict the use of hazardous pesticides by banning those that pose acute or chronic health effects, or adversely affect the environment; or, if banning was not feasible, to apply a selective pricing policy, taxing the more hazardous pesticides at higher rates than the less toxic alternatives.

Diagnosis by deduction
There are several diagnostic techniques to assess the essential nutrient level status in the soil. But these are done in soil testing facilities that are limited in number and most farmers do not have access to these facilities. Furthermore, the cost of soil analysis is beyond the capacity of many small farmers and the waiting time for the results is relatively long.

Due to the limitations of the traditional diagnostic tools, I and my co-workers developed the minus-one element technique (MOET), a farmer-friendly, affordable, and quick soil analysis kit, while working as a consultant at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice). The technique was conceptualized when I was a scientist at the International Rice Research Institute based in Indonesia. There where there were no adequate laboratory facilities at the site to carry out soil chemical analysis. Only the status of N, P, K, and S in soils could be determined.

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