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Tips On Growing Hybrid Rice

Harvest as much as 12 tons per hectare (t/ha) this dry season with hybrid rice.

It’s the best time to grow hybrid rice due to longer sunshine hours. Drier condition also reduces the occurrence of bacterial leaf blight (BLB) disease, and this is favorable to some hybrid varieties with relatively weaker resistance to BLB. So this period, farmers can realize a much higher yield with hybrid rice than with inbred rice varieties, which yield 4t/ha only.

Hybrid rice is grown like the way inbred varieties are grown, but hybrid rice requires greater attention in seed and seedling management. This is because a lower amount of hybrid seeds is recommended per hectare. A lower number of hybrid seedlings is also recommended due to the high production cost of hybrid rice.
Here are pointers on how to grow hybrid rice.

Seed and seedbed preparation. For every 2 kg of seeds, prepare a seedbed measuring 40 square meters. Each bed must be about 1 m wide, of any length, and raised to a height of 4 cm to 5 cm.

Soak the seeds for about 12 to 24 hours in clean water until these swell. Some seeds will float. Do not remove them. Change the water every 5 to 6 hours. Drain the water, wash the seeds, and incubate them for 24 to 36 hours until a white dot this is part of the root comes out from the seeds. During cooler months, incubation may take longer. Sow the incubated seeds on the seedbed at 50 g/m2.

After preparing the seedbed, apply 1 to 1.5 bags of organic materials like compost, carbonized rice hull, and dried chicken manure for every 40 m2 seedbed. This will loosen the soil, and make pulling of seeds easier. This will also prevent root damage, thus reducing transplanting shock.

Once the seedbed is prepared, sow 20 kg of pregerminated hybrid seeds at a rate of 50 g this is about a handful-for every square meter. This will prevent seeds from clumping together, which will result in small and weak seedlings due to the competition for nutrients and other growth factors.

Transplanting. This method only requires 20 kg of hybrid rice seeds per hectare, while direct seeding needs roughly 40 kg to 80 kg of seeds per hectare.

Transplant 21- to 25-day-old seedlings at 1 to 2 seedlings per hill. Plant at a distance of 20 cm x 15 cm during dry season and 20 cm x 20 cm during wet season. Replant missing hills within 7 days after transplanting.

These recommended planting distances will prevent the seedlings from overcrowding, and result in the production of healthy seedlings with uniform growth and strong roots. Maintain the plant population and achieve higher yields by practicing timely replanting of missing hills.

The modified dapog, on the other hand, is an alternative way to raise hybrid seedlings. There’s no need to pull seedlings in this method. Hence, the seedlings will not be subjected to much stress. The seed requirement for this is 15 kg/ha.

Irrigation. Maintain soil saturation within one week after transplanting. Gradually raise the water level to about 2 cm to 3 cm at tillering stage. This technique will help the plants produce sufficient tillers and ensure good anchorage.

Achieve 3 cm to 5 cm water depth every irrigation time until one to two weeks before harvest. Drain standing water, if there’s any, one week before the expected harvest for easy harvesting. and preservation of grain quality.

Fertilizer application. For basal, apply four to six bags of 14-14-14 depending on the results of soil analysis or minus one element technique. Additional nitrogen requirements will be determined using the leaf color chart. If potassium (K) is deficient in a sandy loam soil, apply half bag of muriate of potash (00-60) at particle initiation. If both nitrogen (N) and K are needed at panicle initiation, apply two bags of 17-0-17 per hectare. Otherwise, apply N and K fertilizer separately.

Spray 0-0-60 for three times starting at 50% heading then every other day at a rate of 2 kg/ha per tank load of knapsack sprayer per spraying. Twelve tank loads of knapsack sprayer will be used in a hectare of ricefield. A total of 6 kg 0-0-60 will be used for the entire spraying .time.

Harvesting. Harvest the crop when 80%-85% of the grains is clear, firm, and straw-colored even if the rest are still in hard dough stage.

“Farmers may opt to plant our public bred Mestizo varieties such as Mestizo 7, the newest public hybrid variety that recorded a maximum yield of 10.6t/ha with 107 days maturity,” says Thelma Padolina of the Plant Breeding Division of the Philippine Rice Research Institute.

The government encourages farmers to plant hybrid rice, which is identified as one of the interventions to significantly increase rice production and to eventually attain rice self sufficiency by 2013. Hence, the government provides seed subsidy from 2008 to 2013. It gives a subsidy of P1,500 for hybrid seeds that cost P3,500 per 18 kg/bag.