Site-specific fertilizer recommendations observed | Manila weather

The Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) said it was developing location-specific fertilizer recommendations to help local farmers maximize their resources in a cost context. fertilizer through seed and extension programs of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).

Flordeliza Bordey, head of the DA-PhilRice RCEF program management office, said farmers’ resources have become more limited due to high fertilizer costs.

Bordey added that current practices show that if farmers continue to apply fertilizers that are not matched to crop needs, their resources are wasted and yields can be sacrificed.

“We want to help them solve this problem. Studies show that mineral nutrients are essential to stimulate the growth and development of rice. However, some mineral nutrients have limited availability in the soil and must be supplemented by the application of ‘fertilizer,’ she said.

Bordey added that experts have said too little application will lead to suboptimal yield, while excessive application is costly and can lead to soil and water pollution.

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“Thus, we highlighted the need to determine the amount of available and missing mineral nutrients in the soil,” Bordey noted.

She said that PhilRice had started carrying out massive soil analysis of farmers’ fields representing major soil types in the RCEF target areas through the use of the Minus-One Element Technique (MOET) kit.

The project started during the 2021 rainy season and is expected to complete generating specific recommendations for 512 municipalities by the end of 2023.

“We have processed the recommendations from the first batch of MOET setups and are preparing to cascade them to target areas.

“We are working with our partner Local Government Units (LGUs) to ensure that recommendations reach farmers, which they will hopefully adopt,” Bordey noted.

MOET is a diagnostic tool used to identify deficient macronutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, and micronutrients like sulfur, zinc, and copper under field conditions. Part of his results show the right element, amount and timing of fertilizer application needed by the crop for better yields.

“We would also like to encourage our partner LGUs to help us not only disseminate fertilizer recommendations to farmers, but also implement programs that complement our advocacy on proper nutrient management, such as the provision of necessary fertilizers” , Bordey said.

“Crops need both macro and micronutrients for better growth and development. Some of them can come from the environment. The rest are deficiencies that can be supplemented with fertilizers,” says his part said Ailon Oliver Capistrano, nutrient management expert of DA-PhilRice. .

Capistrano said the common method of assessing the needs of the rice crop is to observe its physical appearance.

“When crops turn yellowish, some farmers typically apply urea to resolve it. However, the practice may not always meet specific soil or crop needs,” Capistrano explained.

He said the availability of these six nutrients can be determined by MOET.

For his part, AGRI Party List Representative Wilbert Lee welcomed the DA-PhilRice initiative to develop location-specific fertilizer recommendations to help rice farmers maximize their yield at the lowest cost.

“I look forward to the success of this study for the benefit of our farmers as soon as possible. Apart from this, it is also important that our farmers have access to affordable fertilizers. That is why we support the plan of the administration for a government-to-government agreement to reduce the cost of fertilizer,” Lee said.

About Jean R. Manzer

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