A new hybrid rice variety gives new hopes of a more stable yield to farmers with its robust panicles and stems that potentially give 250 to 300 cavans per hectare, establishing farmers’ net income of P100,000 to P200,000 per hectare.
The good yield of SL-18H of SL Agritech Corp. (SLAC) is bringing a jackpot income which may turn out to be a first for most Filipino farmers.
Farmers belonging to the Nagkakaisang Magsasaka Agricultural Primary MPC (NMAP-MPC) of Tabacao, Nueva Ecija, said SL-18H will definitely yield between 250 to 300 cavans per hectare at 50 kilos per cavan.
“It’s my first time to plant SL-18, and we’re confident of the yield. It gives many stems that are long. The ears of the grain are long. The grains are filled to the tip. If I don’t get at least 250 cavans here, I don’t like to farm anymore (joking),” said Ricardo Buenaventura, NMAP-MPC president.
He planted it on 10 hectares out of his 23 hectares.
Buenaventura is specifically expecting a net income of at least P155,000 even if he just gets 200 cavans.
“At P1,000 per bag (at P20 per kilo) from 200 bags, you get a net of P155,000 since cost is P45,000 to P50,000 per hectare,” he said.
But with 250 cavans, that is an additional P50,000 or a total net earning of P205,000 per hectare which has never been experienced by average Filipino farmers at all. His 10 hectares will give for him P2.050 million!
SL-18H even has multiple benefits for farmers planting in the swamp area of Cabiao, Nueva Ecija, according to Dr. Santiago R. Obien, DA rice consultant.
“Rice farming in Cabiao is only once a year. But because farmers get a yield from the good hybrid seed that is double compared to other seeds, they still get the income from two seasons of planting,” said Obien.
One Cabiao farmer benefitting from SL-18H is farmer-leader Luisito delos Santos who is immediately expanding his SL-18H planting.
“I was inspired by my brother’s high yield from SL-18 last year. Our target in our area is immediately to expand it to 100 hectares next season,” according to delos Santos.
Delos Santos planted in the current dry season SL-18H on his 28 hectares.
He expects the same high yield from SL-18H of a neighboring farmer, Dr. Robert Lapus, head doctor of Paulino Garcia Hospital in Nueva Ecija. Lapus harvested 280 cavans at 70 kilos per cavan from his planting of SL-18H on 1.8 hectares.
The high yield from this variety, launched for just one year, is further supplemented by the high price of rice brought about by the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) 2012-2013 rice sufficiency program.
The benefit comes from the Aquino Administration’s eposition to protect rice farmers from imports.
This time in so many years, many farmers are experiencing improved livelihood due to the high yield along with the high price of paddy rice that currently ranges at P20 to P24 per kilo.
“We’re taking advantage of it since it’s only now that we’re experiencing a good price,” said Buenaventura.
One buyer from Bohol is offering to buy Delos Santos’s palay at a high of P24.50 per kilo.
“They like SL-18 because of good milling quality, good milling recovery,” he said.
Milling recovery for the ordinary rice may reach just 60 to 65 percent.
But Obien said SL-8H may have as much milling recovery rate of 67 percent.
Delos Santos has been planting hybrid rice since year 2000 using SL-8H, SLAC’s first hybrid rice variety, or other brands.
“But SL-18 may not be matched by other varieties,” he said. “They do not easily shrivel,” he said.
Through his hybrid rice planting, Delos Santos has been able to consistently expand his area. He only started with four hectares in 2000.
By committing to be a hybrid rice winner, he acquired more lands so his area increased to 12 hectares in 2005. By 2010, he had more than 20 hectares.
With his high income now, he just acquired new rice lands so that by himself he will plant SL-
18H on 40 hectares by next cropping.
Santiago dela Cruz, former NMAP-MPC vice chairman, said he expects to harvest more than 200 cavans from SL-18H over the one-hectare land he tills.
“We counted the grains of SL-18, and it’s more than 300 grains per panicle,” said dela Cruz. Other seeds may just give around 200 grains per panicle.
NMAP-MPC itself has grown over the years owing to SLAC’s first hybrid rice variety, SL-8H.
“Before nobody wanted to buy SL-8 even if we’re already assuring farmers we would buy their produce. Now our target is 200,000 bags (of seeds) sold every cropping,” said Buenaventura.
NMAP-MPC is one of the most successful farmers’ group that came about as a result of aggressive hybrid rice program introduced early on during the Arroyo Administration.
It now supplies University of Sto Tomas and its hospital at 2,000 cavans every 15 days.
In order to sustain gains in the hybrid rice sector, farmers are seeking government’s support on a financing or grant program for combine harvester.
A combine harvester boosts farmers’ efficiency. It costs around P1.6 million, and for one that has a flatbed tractor (for transportation), P1.7 million.
With the combine, wastage can only be three percent compared to about 10 percent wastage by combining three processes harvesting, threshing, and winnowing of rice.
Its capacity is to reap rice on one hectare every two hours. With the primitive human labor, harvesting of one hectare may last for a day or two.
“The kabiser (a community leader like a baranggay captain) should have a combine that can be commonly used by farmers. That will help raise our rice production,” said Racquel “Keng” Diamante, SLAC marketing specialist.
When rented, combine fee is 13 cavans per 100 cavans of rice.
Another concern is the high cost of diesel. Delos Santos said he spends a lot for diesel used in pumping water since there is no working national irrigation system.
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