Farmers urged to plant flood-tolerant rice

Experts at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) on Monday asked farmers to prepare for the rainy season by using appropriate varieties and technologies in rice farming.

Dr. Norvie Manigbas, head of PhilRice’s Plant Breeding and Biotechnology Division, advised farmers to plant varieties which stand at most 100 centimeters and with strong stems that can withstand 40 to 60 kilometers per hour wind speed.

Examples of these varieties are PSB Rc14, Rc68, NSIC Rc9 and Rc222.

“Rain-fed areas are also prone to flooding. The varieties suited for this condition are PSB Rc18 [Ala], which can withstand five to seven days of complete submergence, NSIC Rc194 [Submarino 1], which can survive, grow and develop even after 10 to 14 days of complete submergence; and PSB Rc68 [Sacobia], a submergence-tolerant and a drought-resistant variety,” Manigbas said.

These varieties have the following maximum yield: 8.1 tonnes per hectares (t/ha) (Rc18); 3.5 t/ha (Rc194); 4.4 t/ha (Rc68); 6.1 t/ha (Rc14); and 10 t/ha (Rc222). They can also recover when submerged during vegetative stage.

“These are the maximum yields that the farmers could get under stressed conditions,” he said.

Additionally, PhilRice also asked farmers to reduce fertilizer application rates. Manigbas said that, while fertilizers are beneficial to plants, in high amounts, they may cause lodging.

“Fertilizers cannot be maximized, as there is a limited amount of sunlight during the rainy season. Depending on soil analysis results and recommended nutrient requirement rates, it is better to reduce fertilizer application rates by 20 percen to 30 percent in wet season,” Manigbas said.

Under rain-fed conditions, Manigbas encouraged farmers to practice synchronous planting in their communities. It reduces incidence of pests and diseases in a specific area, thus, minimizing yield loss.

Dryland preparation is also desired, so farmers can do direct-seeding when the rain comes. With this technique, the seeds will start to germinate within five days.

Under irrigated lowland conditions, Manigbas said land preparation should be done at the onset of heavy rains so that fields are well-soaked in water. Levees and dikes should be repaired to avoid water loss.

Farmers can use the wet bed or dapog method for seed establishment depending on field conditions. PhilRice also suggested proper drainage to avoid flooding, use of machines during land preparation, harvesting, threshing and drying to save time and labor.

“Time is vital during the wet season, especially during harvest. As the rain usually comes in the afternoon, we suggest the use of combine harvester to hasten harvesting operations. If it is unavailable, farmers can use reaper and collect the straws for threshing,” Manigbas said.

He emphasized the importance of finishing field operations in the shortest possible time to prevent yield loss.

PhilRice also recommended the drying of palay in flatbed dryers and on nylon nets or canvas for easier turnover when the rain comes. “The general rule is to harvest and thresh the crop within a short period of time and dry the seeds to a desired moisture content [usually 14 percent],” Manigbas said.

–Written by Mary Grace Padin, BusinessMirror.  See article link here.

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