The Department of Agriculture (DA) affirms the significant increase in rice granary Nueva Ecija’s average yield owing good quality seeds specifically hybrid, urging farmers to abide by regular rice planting calendar to maximize harvest.
DA’s Region 3 Regional Field Unit (RFU) confirmed Nueva Ecija alone registered as of 2014 a higher average yield of 6.07 metric tons (MT) per hectare. This rose up from 5.30 MT per hectare average yield in 2013.
“We’re really counting on hybrid rice to be one of the reasons for high incremental yield and production,” said Crispulo G. Bautista Jr., Region 3 assistant regional director.
Farmers are advised to start planting for the dry season during the recommended planting in Nueva Ecija—third week of December to the month of January, Bautista said. This way, farmers will be shielded from a cold spell (from December to early February) during rice pollination. Cold spell blocks pollination, causing low yield that has reportedly hit some Nueva Ecija farmers.
Several farmers planting SL Agritech Corp.’s (SLAC) SL-8H have been recognized by DA and Nueva Ecija’s local government in a harvest festival due to high yield in the current dry season.
Angel Morales, achieved a very high yield equivalent to 380 cavans per hectare, although his area is just small, 0.5 hectare. It is believed smaller-sized areas give higher yield and are easier to manage. For another 0.5 hectare, Antonio Martin had an equivalent yield of 224 cavans per hectare.
The equivalent yield per hectare, though, was based on varying weight per cavan from 50 kilos of palay (paddy rice) per hectare to 65 kilos per hectares. This means equivalent yield per hectare is even higher for some farmers.
Other Ecija farmers with high yield this season are Raymundo Quaderno, 215 cavans per hectare, two hectares; Crisanto Gutierrez, 200 cavans per hectare, 2.2 hectares; and Felipe Dayao, 200 per hectare, 20 hectares.
Other high yielders are Ursula Vivero, 191.33 cavans per hectare; Efren Dampil, 183.75 cavans per hectare; Mario Bagang, 182.85 cavans per hectare; Judith Baluyot, 182 cavans per hectare; Efren Leban and Robinson Datu, 172.5 cavans per hectare; Jay Medina, 172 cavans per hectare; and Joven Dayao, 170 cavans per hectare.
Even if palay price fell to the P14 per kilo level from the previous high of P19-P21 per kilo, these farmers planting SL-8H remained to earn around P80,000 per hectare. That is still significantly higher than the P40,000-P60,000 they earn from inbred rice from a yield of 60-80 cavans per hectare.
Bautista counters report that cold spell that hit a major part of the country including Nueva Ecija contributes to the alleged low harvest of our farmers this cropping season.
“Cold weather is really part of our weather. The farmer has to make sure that the cold weather in December-January does not coincide with the booting and flowering stage of the rice plants,” he said.
Too cold night temperature may cause rice’s flower not to open up for pollination because of the very cold weather that fall between December to January and may even extend to the month of February .
“If afarmer starts planting from the third week of December to the month of January, during the cold weather, his plants wouldn’t yet be at the flowering stage by February,” Bautista said. “The low night temperature should not happen during the flowering stage.”
The flowering stage is the time where the rice’s flower (pistil with the ovary and stigma) opens for pollination.
“Farmers that are harvesting just now are reaping really high harvests,” he said.
Farmers are advised to continue use of urea fertilizer on their rice, but they should actually apply fertilizer earlier, according to SLAC Rice Specialist Frisco M. Malabanan.
“Instead of applying nitrogen 35 to 40 days after transplanting or sowing (for direct seeded farms), they should apply the fertilizer earlier within the first month from transplanting or sowing,” said Malabanan.
The case of reported severe loss of farmers from cold spell is not at all representative of Nueva Ecija. The province is expected to bring in as much as 1.93 million MT of rice production to Philippines’ National output 20 million MT target for 2015.
“I go all around the rice fields of Nueva Ecija. The reported cold spell’s adverse effect is not true of many farms. Our incremental area in Region 3 for hybrid rice even increased this dry season,” Bautista said.
Region 3’s hybrid rice planting expanded to nearly 84,000 hectares this current dry season, around 33,000 hectares higher from 51,000 hectares in last year’s dry season.
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