Ratooning Rice Is Advantageous
Following a large-scale rice ratooning projcet in Ormoc City where some 500 hectares of irrigated rice farms were ratooned last March to May, the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) program is bent on pushing the adoption of the technology up to the year 2013.
Dr. Frisco Malabanan, GMA rice program director, said that the ratooning project pushed by Mayor Eric Codilla involving 274 fanners in 17 adjoining barangays was very successful. The fanners were able to produce 20 to 30 cavans per hectare in addition to the more than 100 cavans per hectare of the original harvest.
Ratooning is a technique where the rice stubbles after harvest are allowed to produce new growth that will bear new panicles that are harvestable in just 45 to 60 days later. This is an inexpensive way of producing a second harvest of rice from the same plants because there’s no need to plow the land, no need to plant new seedlings and only one sack of fertilizer is applied per hectare. There’s less likelihood that the crop will be damaged by pests and diseases or by inclement weather because the growing period is very short.
The hybrid rice varieties are particularly suited for ratooning as revealed by the experience in Ormoc. One farmer who ratooned his hybrid rice got 32 cavans per hectare in addition to the 160 cavans he earlier got from the main harvest.
The target of the next ratooning program is for the farmers to get about 40 cavans more from their ratoon crops. At the going price of P725 per cavan, the farmer will be able to gross P29,000 from one hectare. With a production cost of P7,170 per hectare, the farmer can earn an extra income of P21,830 per hectare in addition to what he can get from the main harvest.
Ratooning is possible only in irrigated fields. While there are big areas of irrigated rice elsewhere, it is only in Ormoc City where the biggest ratooning project has been implemented so far. Dr. Malabanan says there is a need to showcase the technology in other rice growing areas. In Ormoc City, the local government unit, the regional field unit of the Department of Agriculture and the National Irrigation Administration have agreed to intensify the promotion of hybrid rice ratooning technology through the provision of location specific interventions and advocacy programs to farmer beneficiar-s who will participate in the program.