Written by the Web Team
PhilRice breeders encourage farmers to plant early maturing and drought-tolerant rice varieties in preparation for the likely coming of El Niño this cropping season.
El Niño is expected to hit the country the last quarter of 2014 and will last until the first quarter of 2015, based on the recent advisory by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
PAGASA predicted changes in the normal rainfall pattern generally resulting in varying dryness in most parts of the country.
To maximize use of rainfall, PhilRice recommends the use of early-maturing varieties this 2014 wet season.
“Early maturing varieties can be harvested before the drought comes so farmers can avoid it during the production period,” said Dr. Nenita V. Desamero, PhilRice breeder.
For irrigated lowland PSB Rc10 (Pagsanjan) is highly recommended. Farmers may also plant NSIC Rc134 (Tubigan 4) and PSB Rc160 (Tubigan 14).
For rainfed lowland however, farmers may choose from NSIC Rc192 (Sahod Ulan 1), PSB Rc14 (Rio Grande), and PSB Rc68 (Sacobia). These varieties are also known for their drought-tolerant properties, preferable in areas where El Niño is expected to hit worst.
Based on PAGASA’s El Niño vulnerability map for rice, highly vulnerable areas include Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Camarines Sur, Ilo-ilo, Negros Occidental, Bohol, Leyte, and some areas in Mindanao.
“With drought-tolerant varieties, rice could still thrive even with limitations in water supply,” Desamero affirmed.
There are a number of newly released drought-tolerant varieties for rainfed lowland being promoted through participatory varietal selection (PVS).
These varieties are NSIC Rc272 (Sahod Ulan 2), Rc274 (Sahod Ulan 3), Rc276 (Sahod Ulan 4), Rc278 (Sahod Ulan 5), Rc280 (Sahod Ulan 6), Rc282 (Sahod Ulan 7), Rc284 (Sahod Ulan 8), Rc286 (Sahod Ulan 9), Rc288 (Sahod Ulan 10), Rc346 (Sahod Ulan 11), and Rc348 (Sahod Ulan 12). Some of these varieties are early-maturing and has a maximum yield potential of up to 6.7t/ha.
For upland environment, recommended varieties are PSB Rc80 (Pasig), PSB Rc9 (Apo), and NSIC Rc23 (Katihan 1).
“Drought-tolerant varieties are recommended in areas that are regularly stressed and lack water supply. But for rainfed areas with enough and fully distributed water from planting to harvesting, irrigated varieties can be used to exploit their high yield potential,” Desamero noted.
With all these choices, Desamero reminded the farmers to wisely decide on which varieties to plant.
“They may plant a 10-tonner (high yielding variety) which may yield only 2 tons when affected by drought, or a 5-tonner (drought tolerant variety) that may produce 3 tons even after water stress. It’s up to the farmers if they will take chances,” Desamero explained.
PhilRice, however, is always open and willing to extend support to the farmers in terms of seed availability and distribution, technical support, and proper information dissemination.
“PhilRice is ready and united to provide the needed support to mitigate the negative impacts of this extreme climate event on the livelihood of our farmers,” Executive Director Dr. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr. said.
Some of the seeds mentioned are available at the PhilRice Business Development Division. For more information please contact the PhilRice Text Center at 09209111398.