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Magarao farmer shares secret for huge harvest

The 58-year old Genaro Tamon is currently the president of the Sta. Lucia Farmers Association with over 70 rice farmer members tilling approximately 160 hectares of rice farms in Magarao, Camarines Sur. (Lovella P. Guarin DA RAFIS 5/ photo by Eduardo Collantes, Jr)

MAGARAO, Camarines Sur --- Farmer Genaro A. Tamon made waves in the social media recently when he harvested 286 cavans of hybrid rice from his one hectare irrigated farm in Barangay Sta. Lucia here.

His bountiful harvest is equivalent to 15.73 metric tons, three times more than the national average yield per hectare in the Philippines, which is 4.07 metric tons, and 3.49 metric tons average yield in Bicol based on the 2019 data of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Tamon is a long-time local farmer technician of the Department of Agriculture Bicol and he was also the 2018 regional Gawad Saka outstanding rice farmer.

When asked about the secret to his success,Tamon openly shared his good agricultural practices and farm management.

For the 2020 dry season crop, he said he has been persuaded by SeedWorks Philippines, Inc., a private seed company, to be one its cooperators. Mariano Julius Galvan III, a SeedWorks agronomist provided him with 15 kilos of US-88 hybrid rice seeds. Galvan also assisted Tamon in crop management as well as data gathering.

He said he first prepared a 400 square meter seedbed, which he conditioned with 10 bags of rice hull. After 10 days, he applied 10 kilos complete fertilizer (14-14-14) to the growing rice seedlings. Meanwhile, he also prepared the one hectare farm to be planted with hybrid rice by applying one kilo of trichoderma and organic matter.

On Feb. 12, he transplanted the 20-day old palay seedlings at a distance of 15 cm by 20 cm to permit root and canopy growth and to keep all leaves active in photosynthesis. “One square meter area should have 30 single rice seedlings,” Tamon said.

On the fifth day after transplanting, he performed basal application of six bags of complete fertilizer (14-14-14), which he bought at P1,110/bag. On the same day, he also applied 15 kilos of zinc sulfate (P60.00/kilo), fuve liters of organic matter (P850.00/liter), and one bottle of soil conditioner (P250.00/bottle).

Tamon advised that application of sufficient fertilizer is the key to good yields in hybrid rice. “Kung dati ay 14 to 15 bags lang ang ginagamit ko sa hybrid, ngayon ay ginawa kong 18 bags. Limang beses ako nag-apply ng fertilizer sa hybrid ko, hindi kagaya kapag inbred rice and gamit ko during dry season, 3x lang ang application ko ng fertilizer,” he said.

He applied fertilizer in granular and foliar forms every 15 days.

At 15 days after transplanting, he applied the first side dressing fertilizer composed of three bags of 16-20-0 fertilizer (P1,050/bag). He also repeated the application of three liters of organic matter (P850/liter) and one kilo trichoderma (P1,500/kilo) as soil conditioner.

The second side dressing fertilizer applied after another 15 days, consisted of three bags of 17-0-17 (P1,200/bag).

For top dressing fertilizer, he used one bag of 17-0-17 (P1,200/bag) and muriate of potash (0-0-60 at P1,200/bag). After another 15 days, he conducted the split top dressing application of fertilizer composed of two bags (0-0-60).

Tamon observed that hybrid rice is susceptible to Bacterial Leaf Blight, that was why he maximized the use of Integrated Pest Management.

A week after top dressing application of fertilizer, he applied four packs of foliar. After 10 days, he repeated the application of two liters foliar (P850/liter), and two liters organic foliar (P550/liter).

He also hired laborers on “pakyawan” basis, wherein he paid for the farm work completed (not in per head basis). For land preparation, he paid P8,000 for the 1 hectare. For transplanting, he spent P7,200. The total labor cost amounted to P20,800.00.

During the harvesting on May 12, 2020, he rented a harvester, which he paid with one cavan for every 12 cavans rice harvested, thus he spent P20,893 for the rental.

He obtained a record breaking 286 cavans of NSIC RC 236H or US 88 at 55 kilos per cavan, which totaled to 15,730 kilograms, less 60 kilos “resico” or reduction at 20 kilos for every 100 sacks. He sold the net 15,670 kilos fresh palay at P16.00 per kilo. Thus he earned a gross income of staggering P250,720. His expenses amounted to P99,863. So he obtained a net income of P145,857.

“Compared to inbred rice, sa hybrid talagang napakataas ng ani kung susundin mo ang tamang farm management na akma sa hybrid rice. Nakita ko na iba talaga ang grains at panicles ng hybrid na umaabot sa maximum of 500 grains per panicle, at average of 400 grains per panicle. Samantalang sa inbred ay maximum of 200 grains per panicle lang. Subalit ito ay mahirap ma achieve kung hindi ka maglalagay ng sapat na fertilizer,” He said.

His statement was supported by the SeedWork’s demo documentation form attested by Magarao municipal agriculturist Anicia P. Mancita, who recorded Tamon’s high yield and panicle characteristics reaching 28-30 centimeters in length - longer than other varieties. Record also showed that 96 percent of the grains were filled.

Tamon also stressed the need for irrigation when planting hybrid rice. “May two sources din ako ng irrigation kaya gumanda talaga ang tubo ng hybrid ko ngayon. Sa National Irrigation Administration (NIA) at sa Carangcang (Magarao) Communal Irrigation.”

He saved on irrigation water as he only applied minimum quantity of water, just enough to keep the soil moist, rather than continuously saturate the farm.

This technique promotes root growth and supports the growth of beneficial organisms in the soil that thrives in aerobic soil, Tamon said.

Galvan of SeedWorks, on the other hand, said that fertilizer requirement would have been lesser had it been planted during the wet season, as urea requirement would be lesser.

The DA advocates balanced fertilization strategy, a combination of inorganic and organic fertilizer to increase the level of productivity and income of farmers.

The three main macronutrients needed by rice plant are Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium. Nitrogen is essential for leaf growth. Phosphorus helps in the development of roots, flowers and fruits. Potassium promotes strong stem growth, enhance movement of water in plants.

According to Anacleto Esplana, DA Bicol Rice Seed coordinator, a rice farmer needs 108 Kgs. (pure element) of Nitrogen (N), 36 Kgs. Phosphorous (P) and 36 Kgs. Potassium (K) to achieve a yield of six metric tons in a hectare following the balanced fertilization strategy.

To achieve seven metric tons yield, the fertilizer requirement is 126N, 42P, and 42K. A yield of eight metric tons can be achieved with 144N, 48P and 48K. A yield of nine metric tons is achievable with 162N, 54P, and 54K.

The late Manong Josue, a study leader on MOET and Nutrient Studies in PhilRice, once said that P150N, 60K and 60K is the peak of inorganic fertilizer benefit and efficiency for hybrid rice. A deeper analysis of Tamon’s practice showed that he applied the amount of fertilizer based on the fertility level of his farm.

“He applied a total of 117N, 72P and 123 K. The amount of Potassium applied in Mr. Tamon’s farm is way beyond the recommended rate in the balanced fertilization strategy. Nevertheless, according to Mr. Josue, excessive potassium can make the crop more tolerant to diseases. It is excessive Nitrogen which could lead to disease susceptibility and what we call in local dialect (Tamok). It is worthy to note that the amount of Nitrogen Mr. Tamon has used in his farm which is 117N is within the maximum tolerable limit of Nitrogen,” Esplana said.

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