By Zac B. Sarian
DENNIS MIGUEL AND HIS TEAM – At extreme right is Dennis Miguel with his of OJT students from the Isabela State University. They helped in implementing the rigorous requirements of the SRI technology which include reduced and controlled water application. They are shown here with their weeders which are used not only to eliminate the weeds but at the same time cultivate the soil for greater aeration. The picture was taken on February 28, 2017.
DENNIS MIGUEL AND HIS BUMPER CROP – It took a lot of precise activities to produce a bumper crop of rice like this one shown that Dennis Miguel is posing with. He believes he will be able to harvest 350 to 450 cavans (of 50 kg) fresh palay which could be more than 20 tons per hectare. Harvesting is scheduled today, April 20, 2017.
BEE CULTURE TRAINING MODULE – Photo shows Prof. Paquito Untalan of the Benguet State University’s College of Forestry where one of his main duties is to promote honeybee culture. He is showing here a module for training future apiarists. He is the director of the Cordillera Regional Apiculture Center. The Cordillera Administrative Region has the biggest concentration of beekeepers that include hobbyists and commercial producers, according to Prof. Untalan.
MASSIVE ROOT DEVELOPMENT – Photo shows a student OJT from the Isabela State University who is a member of the team of Dennis Miguel in culturing the rice crop grown the SRI way. He is showing a balled rice plant with extensive roots as a result of the favorable soil condition and enhanced by Supravim, a plant growth booster. Two weeks before panicle initiation, each hill had an average of 40 tillers.
DR. VIOLETA SALDA AND HER FOOD PRODUCTS – Photo shows Dr. Violeta with her food products at the Food Science Research and Innovation Center of the Benguet State University in La Trinidad. Dr. Salda has developed and patented vegetable noodles and other food products that are now being disseminated to entrepreneurs, particularly to members of the MSMEs or micro, small and medium entrepreneurs. The vegetable noodles include pancit canton with either malunggay, carrot, squash, pakchoi or ubi as ingredients.
On this very day, today, April 20, 2017, we will know if Dennis Miguel will succeed in breaking the world record rice harvest of 22.4 metric tons fresh weight or 448 cavans achieved by Sumant Kumar from India in November 2011.
To surpass the record yield has been the obsession of Dennis who has planted a 1.5 hectare area in Purok 6, Brgy. Luna, Santiago, Isabela in his effort to achieve his big dream. He has used the so-called SRI or System of Rice Intensification technology. To help him take special care of the rice plants, he got the assistance of a team of OJT (on the job training) students from the Isabela State University.
The students worked in the field from land preparation, planting, weeding and many other chores to make sure the plants will grow beautifully.
He has invited us to witness the harvesting of his palay crop today and we are attending together with Anthony Cortes who also helped by providing the Supravim that was applied to the crop. Supravim is a plant growth booster that is sprayed on the leaves. It is claimed to induce development of more numerous roots that are longer, enabling the plants to absorb more nutrients from the soil and to withstand water stress better. It is also responsible for inducing heavy tillering resulting in more grains produced.
We will be reporting what we will witness today in our articles in the Bulletin, Agriculture Magazine and the vernacular magazines published by Manila Bulletin.
Earlier, Dennis sent us beautiful pictures of his rice plants during the vegetative stage. He reported that two weeks before panicle initiation, his plants had already achieved an average of 40 tillers per hill. If they will all bear good panicles, the yield could really be high. According to an experienced rice farmer, his own rice plants usually have 15 tillers or even less and he can already harvest more than a hundred cavans per hectare.
On April 13, Dennis sent us the beautiful picture of the ripening panicles that are scheduled for harvesting today, April 20. We have posted the same in our blog and it has elicited “wows” from our pageviewers. They are asking what the variety is and if it could be planted in both the wet and dry seasons. The variety is Bigante of Bayer.
To us, whether Dennis is able to surpass the world record or not, it does not matter much anymore. What matters more is the fact that he has produced such a beautiful rice crop through SRI or System of Rice Intensification. By the looks of the panicles in the picture that he sent us, we are almost certain that he could get at least 300 cavans per hectare and could be much more. And his experience could spur other farmers to adopt the technology he is using. That could help In a big way toward higher productivity in our rice farms.
By the way, here is what we got about SRI developed by experts of Cornell University in the US. The main principles are:
(1) Early and quick and healthy plant establishment. The seedlings are transplanted at 2-leaf stage, 8-12 days old, seeing to it that the roots are carefully and quickly protected to minimize transplanting shock.
(2) Reduced plant density – Plant one seedling per hill 25×25 cm apart on a square grid or wider in good quality soil. The wider spacing will encourage greater root and canopy growth.
(3) Improved soil conditions through enrichment with organic matter.
(4) Reduced and controlled water application.
Most farmers, we believe, will find it difficult to adopt some of the requirements of the System of Rice Intensification. In an ordinary paddy where the water is not controlled, most farmers will find it difficult to imagine planting an 8-day-old seedling with only two leaves. The young seedlings could be easily carried away by the excess water during a heavy rain.
But then some people can do it in a farm that is not exactly very small, just like the 1.5-hectare farm that Dennis Miguel planted. We imagine, the system is not for lazy farmers. But it is an opportunity for hard-working people to make their small farms truly productive.
And by the way, here is more about the record yield of Sumant Kumar. The dried weight of the 22.4 mt fresh weight totaled 20.16 mt or 403.2 cavans palay. This was computed via crop cut from 50 sqm on the actual SRI plot.