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The president of the National Seed Growers Association had emphasized aspects that will improve rice yield in a Farmers’ Field Day and Forum held at the Central Experiment Station of Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, Oct. 3.

Lorenzo C. Duqueza, president of National Seed Growers Association, said that use of good seeds, right fertilizer application, and good irrigation system would help increase farmers’ profit and attain rice self-sufficiency.

Duqueza said farmers must plant varieties suited in specific farm environment because these varieties had shown resistance to pests and diseases prevalent in the area.

Meanwhile, PhilRice recommends the use of certified seeds as they are pure, clean, full and uniform in size, and has a minimum germination rate of 85 percent. PhilRice studies show that use of certified seeds can contribute to a 5-10 percent increase in grain yield.

However, Duqueza said that potential yield may not be achieved merely by using good seeds as fertilizers too have to be applied in the right time and amount.

Studies show that nitrogen-deficient plants are stunted and yellowish while too much nitrogen makes the rice plant prone to lodging, pests, and diseases.

PhilRice recommends the use of Minus-One Element technique (MOET) and Leaf Color Chart (LCC) to ensure that rice plants have sufficient nutrients form tillering to early panicle initiation and flowering stage. MOET is a reliable, low-cost, and easy alternative technique that farmers can do to diagnose soil nutrient status while LCC or the four-stripped plastic “ruler” is used in assessing nitrogen status of rice plant.

Good irrigation system, Duqueza said, is also important as water supply affects the growth and yield of rice plants.

The government, as stated in the Food Staples Sufficiency Program document, is targeting to increase irrigated rice harvest area under the large-scale irrigation project by more than 728,000 ha by 2016 and an additional 96,000 ha under small scale irrigation project.

Meanwhile, Dr. Karen Eloisa T. Barroga, head of PhilRice’s Development Communication Division, encouraged farmers to use hybrid rice as its yield is 27 percent higher than inbred, practice the integrated rice farming system called PalayCheck, and try new farm machines to save on time and labor.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute