By Zac B. Sarian
A farmer in Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat is amazed at the resistance to drought of a hybrid rice that he planted through dry seeding. He was pleasantly surprised because the plants had survived the intermittent dry spell that followed several days after the seeds were broadcasted on the thoroughly prepared field.
On June 1, 2019, Baltazar Funa broadcasted seeds of TH 82, a hybrid rice, on 0.8 hectare and an inbred variety on 2.2 hectares. Two months later, he took pictures of the beautifully growing TH 82 which he expects to harvest in the third week of September. He was down-hearted, however, because the inbred variety that he has been planting in previous years did not survive the dry spell that followed several days after dry seeding.
Dry seeding, as well as direct seeding, are being recommended today wherever they are suitable because these are less expensive means of establishing a rice plantation. In dry seeding which is usually done where there is no irrigation, the ungerminated seeds are broadcasted on the thoroughly prepared field. On the other hand, in direct seeding (wet), pre-germinated seeds are broadcasted on well puddled field. The traditional way of planting manually is very costly. In Sultan Kudarat, it costs about P12,000 per hectare to plant rice by manual transplanting. The high cost includes seedling production, pulling and hauling the seedlings to the field, and manual transplanting. On the other hand, dry seeding costs only P1,500 per hectare and it can be done in just one day.
Jimmy Tulang, rice technician, explained that TH 82 is highly resistant to intermittent drought because it develops an extensive root system that penetrates deeper in the soil, enabling the plant to take up more water and nutrients. It is also said to be resistant to pests and diseases. Tulang heads the Seedworks Philippines team that is helping farmers in Mindanao produce higher yields of rice. Seedworks is the distributor of TH 82 and other hybrids that include US 88 and Quadro Alas. The company is headed by Carlos Saplala, president and CEO.
Funa’s field planted to TH 82 is beside his sugarcane field that is totally dependent on available rain. To sustain the growth and development of TH 82, he applied one bag of urea combined with two bags of complete (14-14-14) on June 19. A month after, Funa applied 3 bags of 14-14-14 and one bag of 16-20-0.
Funa is very confident that his dry-seeded TH 82 will give him a high yield come the third week of September 2019.
This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s September 2019 issue.