Written by the Web Team
A study on providing timely and accurate information on rice production bested eight finalists under the Downstream Research category during the Crop Science Society of the Philippines Scientific Convention in Cebu City on May 12-16, 2014.
Titled Rice Area Mapping and Yield Estimation for Crop Insurance in Leyte Province, the study had produced remote sensing-based information on rice area, production, yield estimates, and production losses.
Using remote sensing imagery to generate reliable rice area maps, the study aims to address food security and minimize losses during calamities.
“A rice extent map is also generated to provide a national level baseline of the physical rice area,” Mary Rose Mabalay, PhilRice researcher, said.
Mabalay explained that the actual rice area is then generated using high resolution (3m) COSMO-SkyMed images acquired approximately every 16 days from June to October 2012 over the province of Leyte. This provides a detailed rice area map for the season, start of season, and the crop status on a bi-monthly basis.
The European, Italian Space Agency/e-GEOS, Infoterra GmbH and the US Geological Survey provided the ENVISAT ASAR and Cosmo-SkyMed data.
Together with co-researchers under the Remote sensing-based information and insurance for crops in emerging economies (RIICE project), Mabalay estimated rice yield per barangay and municipality using crop growth simulation model with input data from Synthetic Aperture Radar imagery, weather stations, soil maps, and field works. The yield estimates are then assessed by RIICE partners to develop a yield index.
The project is a joint effort of PhilRice, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and sarmap, and is financially supported by the Swiss Development Cooperation.
Meanwhile, another PhilRice research won as Best Paper under the Technology Extension and Education category during the conference.
The paper on increasing productivity and climate change resiliency discussed the result of disseminating information on climate change adaptation measures to farmers in Aurora province.
PhilRice, National Irrigation Administration, and the local government of Aurora tied-up to help Aurora farmers combat the effect of Climate Change.
“Other than problems on pests and diseases, adverse effects of climate change like more intense and frequent rains, are challenges in the area. Aurora has the lowest average rice yield in Region 3. It harvested 3.64 t/ha palay in 2011,” Aurora Corales, one of the researchers, said.
Adaptation practices such as pest and water management and diversified rice farming, were disseminated to help farmers lessen the damage caused by pests and diseases.
Three consecutive seasons (2012 WS, 2013 DS and WS) of guiding the farmers lead them to adopt synchronous planting. Aurora farms are continuous habitat for pests and diseases owing to the tillers’ practice of asynchronous planting.
From the average yield of 3.64 t/ha in 2011, it increases to 3.92 and 4.94 t/ha in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
“Enhancing farmers’ capacity to adapt to climate variability is a new challenge development workers have to take,” Corales said.