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Rice Farmers Urged to Use Certified Seeds Despite Reduced Subsidy

The government will stop granting each farmer P1,500 hybrid rice seed subsidy and reduce the certified seed subsidy from P1,200 to P600 starting this wet season. The fund for the subsidies will be used instead for construction of farm-to-market roads, dryers and other farm infrastructures.

Thelma F. Padolina, head of PhilRice Plant Breeding, said that farmers should not be discouraged by the reduction of subsidies from using hybrid seeds and certified seeds, and that they should consider their yield advantage over other seeds.

Studies show that the use of hybrid seeds and certified seeds results in 15 percent yield increase and contributes 10 percent to rice production growth, respectively. In addition, according to the study Sources of Decade Rice yield Growth in the Philippines presented during the 23rd National Rice R&D conference last March, adoption of high quality seeds was one of the major factors that contributed to yield increase from 1996 to 2007. About 15 percent and 12 percent of which are attributed to the use of certified seeds and hybrid seeds, respectively.

A sack of certified seeds carry a blue tag which, Padolina said, is an assurance that the seeds underwent through strict laboratory procedures for certification. Pure, full and uniform in size, these seeds have minimum germination rate of 85 percent. There are over 100 varieties in the market that farmers, can choose from. Padolina advises that farmers must choose a variety with high yield potential, market demand, and tested in technology demonstrations or adaptability trials.

For irrigated areas, some of the recommended varieties are the following: PSB Rc4, PSB Rc10, PSB Rc54, NSIC 124H, and NSIC Rc132H. These are resistant to blast, while NSIC Rc122, NSIC Rc128, NSIC Rc144, NSIC Rc156, NSIC Rc158, NSIC Rc160, and NSIC Rc168H are resistant to stem borers and are recommended varieties for irrigated areas as well.

The average yield of the said varieties range from 4.6 t/ha-6t/ha for inbreds, while 5.7 t/ha-7.1 t/ha for hybrids. These mature at 104-122 days, and most of these have good eating quality.

NSIC Rc118 and NSIC Rc120, meanwhile, were bred for tungro hot spot areas. Their yields range from 4.4 t/ha-4.8 t/ha. For areas with low solar radiation and high precipitation, farmers can try NSIC Rc122 and RC146.

For rainfed areas, some of the recommended varieties are the following: NSIC Rc98, NSIC Rc102, PSB Rc14, and PSB Rc100. Transplanted rice varieties with maturity ranging from 110-118 days, these have average yields ranging from 2.3 t/ha-4.1 t/ha. However, these are susceptible to tungro infestation, and only PSB Rc14 and PSB Rc100 have good eating quality.

PSB Rc24, PSB Rc42, PSB RC60, PSB Rc62, and PSB Rc68, on the other hand, are direct-seeded rice with average yields and maturity ranging from 2.7 t/ha-3.7 t/ha and 113-117 days, respectively. However, these varieties are also susceptible to tungro and brown plant hopper, but resistant to intermediate to blast and bacterial leaf blight (BLB).

For cool and elevated areas, PSB Rc44, Rc46, Rc92, Rc94, Rc96, and NSIC Rc104 are apt. These have average yields ranging from 3.3 . t/ha-4.3 t/ha with 131-154 days maturity. Most of these varieties have good eating quality, but are susceptible to tungro, blast, and BLB.

Meanwhile, some of the recommended varieties for saline-prone areas are PSB Rc50, PSB Rc84, PSB Rc88, PSB Rc90, NSIC Rc106, and NSIC 8c108. These have good eating quality compared to PSB Rc48 and PSB Rc86. However, all of these are susceptible to tungro; PSB Rc48, PSB Rc50, PSB Rc84, and PSB Rc86 to blast; and PSB Rc88, PSB Rc90, NSIC Rc106, and NSIC Rc108 to BLB. Their average yields and maturity range from 2 t/ha- 3.4 t/ha and 11-128 days, respectively.

For upland areas, PSB Rc1, PSB Rc3, PSB Rc5, PSB Rc7, NSIC Rc9, and NSIC Rc11 are good, and these have average yields that range from 2.4 t/ ha-2.9 t/ha with maturity ranging from 119-125 days. Only PSB Rc1, NSIC Rc9, and NSIC Rc11 have good eating quality, but all of these are resistant and have intermediate reaction to blast and BLB, which are among the major diseases in upland areas.

By Hana Hmm Biag