Hybrid rice, fertilizer mix yields 16.63 MT from 1.3-hectare farm
A Nueva Ecija farmer has achieved a rice productivity record for the country, harvesting 16.63 metric tons (MT) of rice from his 1.3-hectare farm by using the hybrid rice variety SL-8H and a combination of organic and inorganic fertilizer.
The 51-year old rice farmer Edgardo “Jose” Marcelo, from Triala, Guimba in Nueva Ecija attributed his yield to his combination of organic and inorganic fertilizer applied to the hybrid seed SL-8H.
“My usual practice is to fertilize my farm with 10 bags of organic fertilizer, mainly chicken dung,” he said.
Marcelo said he was tipped off to the effectiveness of the organic fertilizer, which he boosts with small amounts of conventional 46-0-0, 14-14-14, and 0-0-60 inorganic fertilizer, when he applied it to inbred rice during the wet season planting.
“I first applied 10 bags during the wet season, but I used inbred. I harvested 216 cavans. So I also applied it on my hybrid rice. My program now is to demonstrate the use of SL-12 (hybrid seeds) this wet season,” Marcelo explained.
From his record hybrid harvest, Marcelo reported he earned a net income of about P182,000, from a gross of P225,000.
SL Agritech Corp. (SLAC) Chairman Henry Lim Bon Liong, whose company developed the hybrid variety used by Marcelo, said that his success should encourage more farmers to venture into hybrid rice, applying their traditional but superior farming practices to achieve greater yields.
“As an entrepreneur, farmers should take risks. You should take your chance in hybrid seed even in the wet season because harvest is still high even if it’s not as high as compared to the dry season,” said Lim.
The importance of using high yielding varieties is also highlighted by calamities brought about by climate change, Lim said, such as the severe El Niño-induced drought last season that caused hardship for many farmers, particularly in Mindanao.
Marcelo explained that part of his good income with the latest harvest was made possible through some assistance from the Department of Agriculture, specifically subsidized seed, which reduced his cost to P2,300 per bag, a 50 percent discount from the market price.
He said the inexpensive organic fertilizer only cost P2,200 for his entire supply, while the smaller amount of inorganic fertilizers he purchased was nearly P15,000. Other costs for preparing his land, planting, pest management, and harvesting amounted to a little more than P15,000, Marcelo said.
Marcelo, who has been farming for 25 years, said he started using SLAC’s SL-8H in 2010, and has enjoyed good harvests as a result, but it was the addition of the organic fertilizer mix that made the biggest difference in achieving his recent bumper crop.
With the earnings from the hybrid rice and fertilizer combination, Marcelo said his family was able to buy new appliances and pay for some improvements to their house in Nueva Ecija, as well as comfortably meet other household expenses, such as the tuition for his three children.
Marcelo also thanked the government for its subsidy assistance, and urged the Department of Agriculture to continue offering seed subsidies to farmers. Through the government’s assistance, he said, more farmers would be able to acquire sacks of high-yielding hybrid seeds at a lower price.