Practice of using Rice Straw as Organic Fertilizer in San Miguel, Iloilo

Rice is a traditional and essential food in the Philippines.

National Food Authority declares that Iloilo is cited to have abundant of production of rice each year making Iloilo as 2nd top producer of rice in 959,270 metric tons in the whole country.

As we all knew that Rice farming is crucial in ensuring that the country is always food sufficient. The government is looking for ways to increase the rice productivity and in order to supply healthy rice for the coming decades as the gap between the supply and demand of rice becomes wider. They are encouraging farmers to develop a sustainable rice production technique such as using organic farming. Organic rice farming is a tool to alleviate the problems of most of the farmers and also to decline the soil condition of lowland farms. This is an intervention in promoting the balanced in using of organic and inorganic combination of fertilizers to meet the target yield of a crops.

Most farmers are more dependent in using inorganic fertilizer for their crops cultivation in order to get a high quality of rice products. But without our knowing this inorganic fertilizers may affect the health of soil and may damage the soils which will results to high soil acidity. Moreover, it will results in a decline in soil organic matter and even the majority of agricultural land containing organic materials. That is why most of the farmers are in debt burden from traders who finance their production inputs because they cannot sustain the fertilizers needs for their cropping.

The Department of Agriculture advocates of Iloilo City recommended the farmers to produce or neither use organic inputs of materials that are only available in their community. They were encouraged to produce fertilizers by utilizing the waste materials in their community. As we all knew that commercial fertilizers nowadays are very expensive. And the best way is to shift into organic farming to reduce expenses.

Mrs. Nancy C. Superal, Planning Officer of Provincial Agriculture Office of Iloilo says “If we can only produce a quality and quantity of rice products by using organic farming, then why not. By that we can also lessen our expenses and at the same time can also help our soil healthy”.

What is Organic Fertilizer?

Organic fertilizers are fertilizers which are largely or entirely composed of organic materials derived from plants and or animals that have been through the engineering process, can be solid or liquid that is used to supply organic matter and improve physical properties, chemical and biological soil. Rice straw is one of the agricultural wastes that can be used as organic fertilizer sources.

Using of Rice straw in San Miguel, Iloilo

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According to Mr. Dexter Biylon, Agricultural Technologist of San Miguel iloilo, using rice straw as organic fertilizers becomes evident in their place since most of the residents in this place are practicing organic farming in their rice production. He also added that San Miguel Iloilo is generally a plain territorial area and a farming community. Most of its residents derive their income and revenues from agriculture principally through rice, vegetable and livestock production. The total land area of this place is 3,197 hectares, 1,710 are utilized for agriculture, 893 of which are serviced by the said irrigation system. Most of the people here are progressive in organic farming because of the big help of public and private organization especially the agricultural practitioners. They trained, educated and gave information to the farmers on how to cultivate crops. Organic farming such as rice straw and other organic materials was also introduced to the farmers. As an agricultural technologist he had also find out that crop productivity was decreased slightly in organic farming compared to that of conventional farming. He believed that the organic farming was more beneficial for the improvement of soil properties and the use manure and some organic materials were more effective in maintaining of crop yield and enhancement of soil properties.

Did you know that a simple rice straw waste can help increase the quality of rice production as well as can increase farmers’ income?

What is Rice Straw?

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One of the cheapest and most available organic substances is rice straw.  Rice straw is part of rice which was left over in the field. It is a long grass that dries out and turns into straw. This straw is decomposed and used as organic fertilizer. It is known as a good source of macro-nutrients. It is reach in nutrients such as potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous that helps the plants grow healthy. Rice straw can also be used alone as an alternative fertilizer for crop production but is really recommended to combined it with different organic materials to reach the amount of nutrients necessary for the yield target. This organic material such as rice straw helps improve the soil fertility and soil organic matter content and also enhances the nutrients of the soil. It also increases the shelf life and water absorption and it is safe for humans.

The Department of Agriculture through the help of Bureau of Soils and Water Management introduced a program which could help the farmers in reducing their expenses in production and at the same time can increase their income in production as well as can help in preserving the natural biodiversity of area. This is the Modified Rapid Composting Technology, another term they use in referring to the decomposition of Rice Straw using compost fungus activator or Trichoderma harzium.

Farm wastes are improperly managed and nutrient management strategies are not widely applied. Burning of rice straw is the usual practice in most farmers of San Miguel before. But they have discovered the usage of rice straw. And since nowadays, it was already regulated not to burn because it can cause severe air pollution and may also destroy most of the nitrogen, sulfur, some of the potassium and makes silicon less available. Instead of burning this waste they make use of the rice straw for fertilizer purposes.

The abundance of rice straw as an organic waste can be converted to fertilizer throughout the process of composting. Rapid rice composting is the production of on-farm composting using rice straw. The process of using rice straw as fertilizer is done by spreading 550kgs of rice straw  in the rice field and mixed it  with 350 kgs some organic materials such as animal manures like chicken dung, leaves of madre-de-cacao, ipil-ipil, and hagonoy and some other leguminous weeds and sugar or molasses which is equivalent to about 500kgs of organic fertilizers. Then, allow the water to flow into the field and soak the rice straw within 12 hours and leave the rice straw moist until decomposed. Trichoderma was also use for faster way to decompose the rice straw, biomass and some other organic wastes. It is sprayed 4 bottles for every ton of rice straw or 20 packs per hectare. Trichoderma is a fungus activator sprayed to the waste materials in order to hasten the decomposition of organic materials like rice straw. It is available in powder or granular form which contained in agar-oatmeal medium has been found to be more convenient and practical to use with similar effectiveness in hastening decomposition. It accelerates the decomposition of rice straw in just 3 to 4 weeks of decomposition compared to the normal decomposition that takes several months.

According to Mrs. Nancy C. Superal, Planning Officer of Provincial Agriculture Office of Iloilo, stated that “1 hectare is equivalent to 100 bags of commercial fertilizers while if we use organic fertilizers, it can lessen the amount of fertilizers into 10 to 20 bags as usual recommendation at the same it reduces the farmer’s expenses on buying fertilizers. Farmers can reduced its expenses for if he uses rice straw as organic fertilizer. Also by making use of organic fertilizers such as this rice straw it will return the nutrients the soil”.

The basic principle of organic farming as she stated “What you get from the soil, you will returned it also”

The advantage of using rice straw as organic fertilizer is to reduce the waste products in field and also helps neutralized the soil.

Mr. Carmelo D. Oren, Supervising Agriculturist of Iloilo also stated “We encourage every farmer to use organic farming if necessary. We have this program in every municipality introducing the use of organic farming. We brought people in every municipality to train, educate and orient them. We are trying to promote organic way or system of growing plants to be healthy”. They believed that through trainings it will have a positive and significant influence on farmers’ adoption of the technology. Training provides more knowledge and will presumably change the perception of the farmers towards new technologies and the awareness of positive effects of rice straw compost utilization or organic farming.

 

References:

Dexter Biylo, Agricultural Technologist,San MIguel,Iloilo

Carmelo D. Oren, Supervising Agriculturist of Provincial Agriculture Office,Iloilo

Nancy C. Superal,Planning Officer,Provincial Agriculture Office,Iloilo

(2011)OrganicProductionProject (OFPP),Bureau of Soils and Water Management,Elliptical Road or Visayas Avenue Diliman,Quezon City

Department ofAgriculture,Western Visayas Rice Straw Composting and Farm Waste Recycling,GMA Rice Progra,DA SoilsLaboratoryand DA-RAFID6

de Leo,DR.Organic fertilizer from rice straw made easy through CPAR. BAR chronicle ,Retrieved August 29,013from http://www.bar.gov.ph/chronicle-home/archives-list/44-april-2012-issue/111-m-lang-farmers-profit-from-cpar

(2013).Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Iloilo City Iloilo Rice Production  – Top 3  in whole Philippines.Retrieved August 30,2013 from http://ilongo.weebly.com/agriculture.html

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