CITY OF SAN FERNANDO-- The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) encourages rice farmers to use available diagnostic tools to ensure rice crops get enough nutrients for good harvests and more income.
The PhilRice said that it is important for farmers to know the nutrients that rice crops need, such as nitrogen which helps the rice grow quickly and potassium which improves root development.
Providing nutrients in the field also depends on the weather, the agency added.
During the dry cropping season, the rice plant needs more nutrients because of the sunlight it gets.
Indications of insufficient nutrients is slow growth, fewer tillers and panicles, fewer seeds, and low grain weight while excess nutrients in plants often cause easy attacks by pests and soil pollution, the agency said.
PhilRice added that there should be no symptoms of nutrient deficiency or excess from tillering to early panicle initiation and flowering.
The institute said farmers should familiarize with the nutrients needed by rice plants based on the physical appearance and results of diagnostic tools such as Minus-One Element Technique (MOET), Leaf Color Chart (LCC), Nutrient-Omission-Plot Technique (NOPT), and Rice Crop Manager (RCM).
MOET is a soil nutrient diagnostic technology that uses a pot experiment complemented by a mobile app to determine nutrients lacking in the soil and the amount of fertilizer needed in the field.
LCC can be used to check the nitrogen status of rice plants using a four-color ruler for leaf color comparison or a mobile app that takes digital photos of leaves while NOPT can be utilized to assess nutrient supply and serve as a basis for fertilizer recommendations.
RCM is a management commonly used by extension workers and rice specialists who assist farmers in determining recommendations for the use of nutrients and technology in rice farming management.
“By ensuring adequate plant nutrition, high yields and profits can be ensured, as well as damage or pollution to the environment can be reduced. It is important to ensure the element, amount, and timing of providing nutrients to the crop to properly implement the intervention in the farm and avoid duplication of costs," the PhilRice said.
Farmers who need assistance on rice crop nutrition may contact the PhilRice text center hotline at 0917-111-7423, follow PhilRice TV or visit their official website: www.philrice.gov.ph