Thanks to hybrid rice seeds, the rice harvest in Iloilo soared in this year’s wet season, with some farmers yielding over 10 metric tons per hectare, provincial agricultural officials said.
With 10,000 hectares now “organically grown” on hybrid rice, the yield average of 12 farmers using SL-8H seeds rose to 10.71 metric tons per hectare, they added.
Despite the severe El Niño drought, Iloilo remains a rice surplus province, especially as farmers ventured into SL-8H hybrid rice that sent their yield average to 4.09 MT per hectare.
This is an overall increase of nearly one MT (0.86) per hectare compared to the 2015 average of 3.23 per hectare, based on Philippine Statistics Authority data, for the entire Iloilo, according to Assistant Provincial Agriculturist Elias V. Sandig Jr.
The trend to plant hybrid rice in Iloilo rose as a farmer registered a high yield last year.
“In 2015, Marilyn Duco of Patlad, Dumangas obtained an average yield equivalent to 14.51 MT per hectare from SL-8H hybrid seeds at 14 percent moisture content,” said Sandig.
Iloilo farmers have also adopted what is realized now as a superior fertilization technique—Crop Stand Fertilizer Management.
“An honest to goodness campaign was made to accept SL-8H with instruction to adopt Crop Stand Fertilizer Management. A total of 10,000 hectares (of hybrid area) was realized,” said Sandig.
Applying fertilizer based on crop stand means that fertilizer is applied in reduced amounts. It is applied only when the color of rice plant is light yellow, signifying a need for fertilizer.
“To date, the 12 top SL-8H farmers had an average production of 10.71 MT per hectare equivalent to 9.713 MT per hectare at 14 percent moisture content,“ said Sandig.
Iloilo farmer Teresita S. Setiar of Leganes reaped the highest yield equivalent 17.921 MT per hectare at 14 percent moisture content. She used organic fertilizers with reduced artificial fertilizer, Sandig added.
“Suffice to say that it is only in Iloilo where hybrid rice is grown organically,” he said.
With the hybrid rice, those who were able to plant only once a year are now able to harvest twice as much. “Some areas are just rainfed, so farmers don’t plant during the dry season. But with their high yield—double from hybrid rice—it’s as good as they would have planted two times a year,” said Rich Recoter, SLAC hybrid rice specialist.
From his rain-fed 6,000-square meter farm, Andres Corras Jr. got this last wet season an equivalent of an average of 9.68 MT per hectare.
Allan Tabefranca got a yield of 8.5 tons per hectare from 8,000 square meters. He is in an irrigated area and even used direct seeding, which means he had lesser cost than if he transplanted seeds.
“Our campaign is that using the same technology of rice planting, you just change the seed, but your expense is the same. The seed is for free, so they get a higher income. Because of this, they have been convinced to go into hybrid,” said Iloilo Provincial Agriculturist Ildefonso T. Toledo.
With proper fertilization management, hybrid rice in irrigated areas in Iloilo as of October 2016 produced 4.77 MT per hectare. This is higher by 1.28 MT compared to the July to September 2016 inbred average yield of 3.491 MT per hectare.
Farmers have traditionally avoided the use of hybrid rice in the wet season due to bacterial leaf blight infestation or BLB. But fertilization based on crop stand has apparently eliminated this problem.
“It’s the first time for many farmers to plant hybrid in the wet season,” said Geron E. Magbanua, also of the Iloilo provincial agriculture office.
”And (impressively), there are farmers who harvested 10 tons (per hectare) as shown by the contest (Palayabangan introduced by the Philippine Rice Research Institute).”
One Ilonggo farmer, Ramon Dagohoy Jr. got 13.95 MT per hectare from his irrigated, transplanted SL-8H.
“From his 2.2-hectare area, he got a total of 615 cavans at 47 kilos per bag summing up to 279 bags (13.95MT) per hectare,” said Magbanua.
Despite these increased yields, Iloilo’s rice production is expected to reach only 700,000 MT for 2016 owing to the impact of El Niño during the first semester of the year.
Without hybrid rice, production would have been even lower for Iloilo. Hybrid rice area in Iloilo in 2015 was just at 4,500 hectares.
Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority, Iloilo produced 877,076 MT of rice in 2015 with an average of 3.23 MT per hectare. It ranks fifth in rice production, after Nueva Ecija (1.580,620 MT), Isabela (1,256,390 MT), Pangasinan (1,081,157 MT) and Cagayan (884,334 MT).
The province has a total of 135,964 hectares of ricelands consisting of 48,860 hectares of irrigated ricelands, 85,779 hectares of rainfed ricelands and 1,325 uplands devoted to rice, tilled by 110,000 farmers.