Written by the Web Team
It was not a perfect early morning for Noli Estoy, a 43-year-old farmer from Victoria, Tarlac. He skipped breakfast and was stranded for two hours due to heavy rains before reaching Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).
“My morning was all rush. After monitoring my field, I hurriedly changed clothes and missed breakfast because I have to be at our assembly place at 6 am. Then it rained so hard that we traveled to Nueva Ecija by 8 am. But the discomforts faded with the new knowledge I learned from the field day,” the first-time PhilRice visitor narrated in Filipino.
Together with more than 1,500 Luzon farmers, Estoy learned the latest on rice science and technology such as new varieties, right time of applying fertilizer, PalayCheck, and new farm machines during the PhilRice’s Lakbay-Palay or Farmers` Field Day and Forum conducted in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, Oct. 3
“I didn’t know that rice could be cross-pollinated, meaning two varieties could be sown and grown side by side,” Estoy, referring to the seed production fields where hybrid rice varieties such as Mestiso 19 and Mestiso 20 are cultivated, said.
Estoy also learned how varieties performed in the wet season.
“I tried some of the varieties planted here during the dry season. Seeing the crop stand, I could tell that they also do well in the wet season. The highest yield I gained was 10 t from 1.6 ha that is planted with NSIC Rc224,” the farmer for two decades said.
Estoy, who plants different varieties every season, said he will try the PhilRice-recommended varieties such as Tubigan 22 (NSIC Rc240), Mestiso 29 (NSIC Rc244H), and Mestiso 38 (NSIC Rc262H) as they could yield as high as 10-11 t/ha.
Meanwhile, Estoy’s companions learned that using Leaf Color Chart (LCC) or the four-stripped plastic “ruler” could help them assess when to apply nitrogen, and that adopting PalayCheck, an integrated system featuring eight good farming practices, could lead to better yield.
The PhilRice-developed rice hull gasifier engine-pump system also impressed farmers as it could reduce irrigation costs up to 37 percent when using gasoline and 44 percent on diesel use.
“I could be a better farmer through the new information I got here. Visiting PhilRice in a rainy weather with an empty stomach is one of the most fruitful days of my life,” Estoy added.