MAGARAO, CAMARINES SUR – Mr. Genaro A. Tamon  made waves in the social media recently when he harvested 286 cavans hybrid rice from his one hectare irrigated farm in Bgy. Sta. Lucia. This translates to 15.73 metric tons which is more than triple of the national average yield per hectare in the Philippines which is 4.07 metric tons, and 3.49 metric tons average yield in Bicol based on  Phil. Statistics Authority (PSA) 2019 data.

Asked about the secret to his success Mr. Tamon, openly shared his good agricultural practices and farm management to this writer.

Mr. Tamon is a long-time Local Farmer Technician of DA Bicol and also the 2018 regional Gawad Saka outstanding rice farmer.

For 2020 dry season cropping, he has been persuaded by SeedWorks Philippines, Inc., a private seed company, to be one its cooperators. Thus, Mariano Julius Galvan III, an Agronomist of the SeedWorks, provided Mr. Tamon with 15 kilos of US-88 hybrid rice seeds. Galvan also assisted Mr. Tamon in crop management as well as data gathering.

Mr. Tamon first prepared a 400 square meter seedbed which he conditioned with 10 bags rice hull. After 10 days, he applied 10 kilos complete fertilizer (14-14-14) to the growing rice seedlings. Meanwhile, Mr. Tamon conditioned the 1 hectare area to be planted with hybrid rice by applying 1 kilo trichoderma and organic matter.

On February 12, he transplanted the 20 day old palay seedlings at a distance of 15 cm by 20 cm to permit root and canopy growth and to keep all leaves active in photosynthesis. “One square meter area should have 30 single rice seedlings,” Mr. Tamon said.

On the fifth day after transplanting, he performed basal application of 6 bags complete fertilizer (14-14-14) which he bought at P1,110.00/bag. On the same date, he also applied 15 kilos zinc sulfate (P60.00/kilo), 5 liters organic matter (P850.00/liter), and 1 bottle soil conditioner (P250.00/bottle)

Mr. Tamon advised that application of sufficient fertilizer is the key to good yields in hybrid rice. “Kung dati ay 14 to 15 bags lang ang ginagamit ko sa hybrid, ngayon ay ginawa kong 18 bags. Limang beses ako nag-apply ng fertilizer sa hybrid ko, hindi kagaya kapag inbred rice and gamit ko during dry season, 3x lang ang application ko ng fertilizer,” he added.

 He applied fertilizer in granular and foliar forms every 15 days.

At 15 days after transplanting, he applied the first side dressing fertilizer composed of three bags of 16-20-0 fertilizer (P1,050.00/bag). He also repeated the application of 3 liters of organic matter (P850.00/liter) and 1 kilo trichoderma (P1,500.00/kilo)  as soil conditioner.

The second side dressing fertilizer applied after another 15 days, consisted of three bags of 17-0-17 (P1,200.00 per bag).

For top dressing fertilizer, he used one bag of 17-0-17 (P1,200.00/bag) and muriate of potash (0-0-60 at P1,200.00/bag).  After another 15 days, he conducted the split top dressing application of fertilizer composed 2 bags (0-0-60).

Mr. Tamon observed that hybrid rice is susceptible to Bacterial Leaf Blight, that was why he maximized the use of Integrated Pest Management.

A week after top dressing application of fertilizer, he applied 4 packs of foliar. After 10 days, he repeated the application of 2 liters foliar (P850.00/liter), and 2 liters organic foliar (P550.00/liter).

He hired laborers on “pakyawan” basis, wherein he paid for the farm work completed (not in per head basis). For land preparation, he paid P8,000 for the 1 hectare. For transplanting, he spent P7,200.  The total labor cost amounted to P20,800.00.

During the harvesting on May 12, 2020, he rented a harvester which he paid with one cavan  for every 12 cavans rice harvested, thus he spent P20,893 for the rental.

He obtained a record breaking 286 cavans of NSIC RC 236H or US 88 at 55 kilos per cavan which totaled to 15,730 kilograms, less 60 kilos “resico” or reduction at 20 kilos for every 100 sacks. He sold the net 15,670 kilos fresh palay at P16.00 per kilo. Thus he earned a gross income of staggering P250,720. His expenses amounted to P99,863. So he obtained a net income of P145,857.

“Compared to inbred rice, sa hybrid talagang napakataas ng ani kung susundin mo ang tamang farm management na akma sa hybrid rice. Nakita ko na iba talaga ang grains at panicles ng hybrid na umaabot sa maximum of 500 grains per panicle, at average of 400 grains per panicle. Samantalang sa inbred ay maximum of 200 grains per panicle lang. Subalit ito ay mahirap ma achieve kung hindi ka maglalagay ng sapat na fertilizer,” said Mr. Tamon.

His statement was supported by the SeedWork’s  demo documentation form attested by Magarao municipal agriculturist Anicia P. Mancita, who recorded his high yield and panicle characteristics reaching 28-30 centimeters in length – longer than other varieties. Record also showed that 96% of the grains were filled.

Mr. Tamon also emphasized the need for irrigation when planting hybrid rice. “May two sources din ako ng irrigation kaya gumanda talaga ang tubo ng hybrid ko ngayon. Sa National Irrigation Administration (NIA) at sa Carangcang (Magarao) Communal Irrigation,” Mr. Tamon added.

He saved on irrigation water as he only applied minimum quantity of water, just enough to keep the soil moist, rather than continuously saturate the farm. This technique, Mr. Tamon said, promotes root growth and supports the growth of beneficial organisms in the soil that thrives in aerobic soil.

Mr. Galvan of SeedWorks, on the other hand, said that fertilizer requirement would have been lesser had it been planted during the wet season, as urea requirement would be lesser.

The Department of Agriculture advocates  Balanced Fertilization strategy, a combination of inorganic and organic fertilizer to increase the level of productivity and income of farmers.

The three main macronutrients needed by rice plant are Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium. Nitrogen is essential for leaf growth. Phosphorus helps in the development of roots, flowers and fruits. Potassium promotes strong stem growth, enhance movement of water in plants.

According to Mr. Anacleto Esplana, DA Bicol Rice Seed coordinator, a rice farmer needs 108 Kgs. (pure element) of Nitrogen (N), 36 Kgs. Phosphorous (P)  and 36 Kgs. Potassium (K) to achieve a yield of 6 metric tons in a hectare following the balanced fertilization strategy. To achieve 7 metric tons yield, the fertilizer requirement is  126N, 42P,  and 42K. A yield of 8 metric tons can be achieved with 144N, 48P and 48K. A yield of 9 metric tons is achievable with 162N, 54P, and 54K. The late Manong Josue, a study leader on MOET and Nutrient Studies in PhilRice, once said that P150N, 60K and 60K is the peak of inorganic fertilizer benefit and efficiency for hybrid rice.

A deeper analysis of Mr. Tamon’s practice showed that he applied the amount of fertilizer based on the fertility level of his farm. “He applied a total of 117N, 72P and 123 K. The amount of Potassium applied in Mr. Tamon’s farm is way beyond the recommended rate in the balanced fertilization strategy. Nevertheless,  according to Mr. Josue, excessive potassium can make the crop more tolerant to diseases. It is excessive Nitrogen which could lead to disease susceptibility and what we call in local dialect (Tamok),” added Mr. Esplana. It is worthy to note that the amount of Nitrogen Mr. Tamon has used in his farm which is 117N is within the maximum tolerable limit of Nitrogen.

The DA Bicol therefore congratulates Mr. Tamon on his exceptionally high yield as he succeeded to translate the applied nutrients into yield which clearly shows the great potential of hybrid rice when applied with the right amount of fertilizer.

The 58 year old  Mr. Genaro Tamon is currently the president of the Sta. Lucia Farmers Association with over 70 rice farmer members  tilling approximately 160 hectares of rice areas in Magarao, Camarines Sur. (Lovella P. Guarin DA RAFIS 5/ photo by Eduardo Collantes, Jr) Some photos courtesy of Mr. Genaro Tamon and Mariano Julius Galvan III)