By Freddie G. Lazaro

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – The Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office 1 (DA-RFO1) through its, Rice Banner Program has readied hybrid rice seeds to replace the matured rice seedlings of the farmers, who have delayed transplanting due to limited water supply in the fields.

This is to address the reported cases of damaged rice seedlings due to over-aged brought by the delayed transplanting as a result of the scarcity of water supply.

Rodolfo Estrada, Jr., one of the staff of the Rice Banner Program of DA Region 1, said that their office had initially reported cases of damaged rice seedlings in the towns of Manaoag and Asingan, both from the province of Pangasinan.

“The DA-RFO I is ready to replace the damaged seeds with the available seed stocks in the DA-RFO I’s seed warehouse,” Estrada said.

Estrada clarified that seedlings for transplanting with more than the recommended days of transplanting of 18-25 days after seed sowing is no longer advisable since it may lower the expected tiller of the plant and its productivity maybe affected especially during its vegetative stage.

“Hence, there is a need to sow again their seed requirements,” Estrada said.

To avail of the seed replacement, farmers are advised to drop-by at their Municipal Agriculture Office to report their damaged seedlings for verification by the agricultural extension workers assigned in the area, before seed replacement.

He said that a total of 243,883 packs of hybrid seeds are available at the warehouses of the DA-RFO I located in its stations with Pangasinan having 154,173 packs, La Union with 25,524 packs. The provinces of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte specifically located at the Ilocos Norte Research and Experiment Center (INREC) in Batac City, Ilocos Norte has 18,110 and 43,076 packs of hybrid seeds, respectively.

He added that a total of 8,626 bags of inbred seeds are stored at the Pangasinan Research & Experiment Center in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan (5,525 bags) and in INREC-Dingras, Ilocos Norte (3,101 bags) ready for availing of farmers needing replacement of their matured seeds ready for planting this wet cropping season.