Fertilizer From Seaweed Addresses Zinc Deficiency In Rice, Other Crops
A seaweed-based organic fertilizer which is said to address micronutrient deficiencies particularly zinc (Zn) deficiency in rice and other crops is one of the products that farmers should not have missed at the recent Agrilink Trade Show held at the 1Vorld Trade Center: Metro Manila in Pasay City.
Called MegaZinc Plus, it reportedly increases rice yield by a minimum of 20 cavans per hectare. It is said to increase resistance of rice plant to pest and diseases, increase tillering, induce uniform maturity of grains, and increase milling recovery. It has 1.62 percent zinc seaweed extracts plus auxins, gibberellins, and cytokinins as active ingredients.
Florentino Pangilinan, owner and general manager of Central Luzon Farmers Agro Center in Cabanatuan City, the producer of MegaZinc Plus, agreed that zinc is the most critical micronutrient to rice growth, with Zn deficiency now considered as the third most widespread nutrient disorder in lowland rice areas of Asia next to nitrogen and phosphorus.
Symptoms of Zn deficiency in rice manifest at two to three weeks after transplanting. Slight deficiency leads to slight stunting in plant growth and decreased tillering of the rice plant with browning or yellowing of leaves, while very severe deficiency results in the death of the plant. Those that recover will show substantial delay in maturity and reduction in yield by as much as 50 percent.
Agriculture experts said that Zn deficiency can be corrected by adding Zn compounds to the soil or by dipping seedlings in Zn solution before transplanting. But the high cost associated with applying Zn fertilizers in sufficient quantities to address Zn deficiency adds on financial burden to poor farmers.
Pangilinan said that using MegaZinc Plus entails only minimal cost to the fanners. One liter of MegaZinc Plus which costs p350 is enough to use for one hectare of ricefield.
MegaZinc Plus is applied at 20 to 45 days after transplanting (DAT) for transplanted rice and at 20 to 50 DAT for direct-seeded rice both at a dosage of 10 tablespoons per 16 liter of water.
Pangilinan said that farmers all over the country who have tried MegaZinc Plus on their rice plants have got very goods results from their production. One of them is Silverio Almayda of Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija who obtained a yield of 10.96 tons per hectare with the application of MegaZinc Plus at 45 DAT. Farmer cooperator Christopher Luna of Ormoc City also observed increased tillers of rice applied with MegaZinc Plus over that of rice without MegaZinc Plus.
Aside from rice, MegaZinc Plus is recommended for use on corn, mango, onion, sugarcane, citrus, melon, cucumber, garlic, bush beans, cabbage, and pechay.
By Melpha M. Abello