It is still believed that planting more seeds results in higher yield. However, a recent study showed that in Caraga region, 20kg of seeds sown in a hectare is comparable with 40 or 60kg. It seems the old adage “the more, the merrier” is not so reliable after all.
PhilRice Agusan’s Caryl Agting, Genevieve Nemeño, Jehru Magahud, and Gerardo Estoy Jr. countered that seeding rates do not significantly influence the growth and yield performance of rice established through drumseeding method.
In the study, Optimum drumseeding rates for lowland rice production in Caraga,the researchers stated that NSIC Rc 286 at a seeding rate of 20kg/ha can surpass the performance of 40 and 60kg/ha.
During the very wet season (VWS) of January to May, plots sown with the said rate yielded higher at 3.55t/ha compared with the 3.51t/ha and 3.24t/ha records of 40 and 60kg experimental areas, respectively. Similar results were achieved during the wet season (WS) months from July to November where a 21% higher-yield was recorded than the previous season.
“The 20kg/ha rate resulted in higher total number of tillers, panicles and percent filled grains. If we increase it by 60kg/ha during the drier season, chances are rodent infestation will also increase from 3 to 25% owing to the crop’s denser population per square meter,” Agting explained.
The research team also noted that using the drumseeder to sow 20kg/ha of rice seeds can double farmers’ net income and reduce production cost. At present, Caraga rice farmers spend at least P40,000/ha for transplanted rice.
Production cost decreased by 48-50% during the VWS while the return of investment (ROI) increased by 260%. Better results were attained during the WS when production expenses were reduced by 55-59%, and the ROI increased by 410%.
“These results suggest that 20kg/ha would be the economical and optimum seeding rate under areas with Type II climatic condition like Caraga where there is no distinct dry season, and with pronounced rainfall from November to February,” Agting said.