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Thursday, December 14, 2017 26° Mostly cloudy

From 50 cavans to 200 cavans per hectare

Published

By Zac B. Sarian

  • RIPENING GRAINS AT SIMON’S FARM – Simon Pungan, the nine-year-old boy after whom the rice farm is named, is an elementary school student, the son of Eric and Mary Ann Pungan. The farm is rainfed land which used to produce only about 50 cavans of palay per hectare. With the adoption of the System for Rice Intensification (SRI), Dennis Miguel, together with seven students from the Isabela State University, were able to harvest last April 20, 200 cavans of newly harvested palay per hectare.

  • FRESH PANICLES – Eric Pungan, owner of the farm used by Dennis Miguel to grow his SRI rice, holds panicles of the rice harvested by representatives of PhilRica and the Department of Agriculture in Region 2. The variety used is Bigante from Bayer CropScience. It is a hybrid that is now among the favorites of local rice farmers.

  • A VERY HAPPY DENNIS MIGUEL – He was not able to break the world record rice production but Dennis Miguel is very happy because he has shown that even a poor rainfed farm can be made to produce 200 cavans of newly harvested palay per hectare. When dried and sold at the prevailing market price of P19 per kilo, the profit is a good P121,950 per hectare.

  • HARVESTED PANICLES – The panicles for checking the average yield per hectare were harvested in three locations on the farm. Each location consisted of 10 square meters. The grains were threshed and weighed and the moisture content of the grains from each sample area was taken. Photo shows a worker carrying a sack of the grains to the threshing and weighing area witnessed by visitors.

  • HARVESTING THE GRAINS – Representatives from the Philippine Rice Research Institute and the Department of Agriculture in Region 2 did the harvesting of plants from three locations in the 1.5-hectare farm. Each area that they harvested consisted of 10 square meters. They themselves supervised the threshing and weighing of the grains. They also took the moisture content of the newly harvested grains.

  • HARVESTING THE GRAINS – Representatives from the Philippine Rice Research Institute and the Department of Agriculture in Region 2 did the harvesting of plants from three locations in the 1.5-hectare farm. Each area that they harvested consisted of 10 square meters. They themselves supervised the threshing and weighing of the grains. They also took the moisture content of the newly harvested grains.

    Dennis Miguel, the fellow who wanted to break the world record of 20.2 tons of palay per hectare achieved in India, did not quite make it but what he has proven is that a rainfed rice farm that used to produce only about 50 cavans per hectare can yield four times, or 200 cavans.

    At the Simon’s Farm in Brgy. Luna in Santiago, Isabela where Dennis implemented the System for Rice Intensification (SRI) technique developed by Cornell University experts, he was able to produce 10.8 tons of palay (fresh weight) per hectare. That’s equivalent to 216 cavans per hectare.

    On April 20, the harvesting, threshing and weighing of the palay was done by representatives of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the Departmet of Agriculture in Region 2. Three 10-square meter areas in different parts of the farm were selected for harvesting. Many farmers as well as some government officials were present to witness the harvesting.

    The farm is not ideal for planting rice because it is rainfed and the soil nutrients must have been depleted during the past many rice planting seasons. But Dennis chose to do his demo planting of SRI to see how the SRI technique will come out despite the challenging situation.

    According to Eric Pungan, the owner of the farm, in the last three years, they were only able to harvest the equivalent of less than 50 cavans per hectare. It’s 70 to 77 cavans from 1.5 hectares.

    The result is an eye-opener. It means that the rainfed areas in many parts of the Philippines can be made to produce high yields by following the System of Rice Intensification. The system can be adopted by smallhold farmers because it might be quite difficult to adopt in large areas where water management may be a big challenge. Under SRI, taking care of the rice plants is like gardening where the requirements of the plants are precise. Like, for instance, the use of very young seedlings with only two leaves and planting only one seedling per hill. In large farms, the young seedlings that are newly planted can be carried away by flash floods or heavy rains.

    While adopting the SRI can be demanding, it is one way of ensuring viable income and food security among smallhold farmers. Imagine, Dennis has proven that a one-hectare rainfed farm can produce the usual yield of four hectares.

    While Dennis has not achieved his big dream of breaking the world rice record harvest, he is not giving up. In fact he will continue to keep on innovating until he achieves his goal. The owner of the farm, Eric Pungan, is a 33-year-old businessman who is very much interested in agriculture. Together Dennis and Eric will collaborate in undertaking improvement not only of rice production but of other crops like corn, herbs and vegetables.

    For undertaking the SRI project and new projects in the offing, Dennis has been depending on the help of seven students from the Isabela State University who are pursuing agriculture studies. They are given cash allowance and food. What is really important for the students is that they acquire hands-on experience in farming. If they decide to be on their own later on, their experience can be a very important asset.

    Aside from the students, Drnnis also relied on the assistance of friends like Anthony Cortes who is the distributor of Supravim, an organic plant growth accelerator from the United States. Supravim was sprayed on the leaves of the rice plants four times—every 15  days starting on the 15th day after transplanting and every 15  days thereafter. Supravim is claimed to enhance root development and tiller production. It helps more efficient uptake of nutrients from the soil.

    In the particular SRI project, Dennis said that they spent a total of about P50,000 to produce the 10.8 tons of fresh palay. When dried, the recovery has been computed by the PhilRice representative to be 9.05 tons or about 180.01 cavans. If the 9.05 tons were sold at P19 per kilo, the gross would be P171,950. Deduct the P50,000 spent in producing the rice and you will get a profit of P121,950 per hectare.

    If the farmer chooses to mill his own harvest and sell milled rice, he could make even more.

    Of course, the farmer will not spend all his time, day in and day out, taking care of his SRI plants. He can do other things like producing high-value vegetables for added income.

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    • Chris

      This is great first time. The most important that I learn is the Fertilization on plowing time. We need to apply Organic Fertilizer which will be scattered on the field plus IMO 5 or anything and the foliar part is only for boosting.