With the  increase in the cost of farm inputs, particularly fertilizer, the  Department of Agriculture Bicol thru the Integrated Laboratories Division-Regional Soils Laboratory (ILD-RSL), headed by Mary Elizabeth S. Banda, Chemist IV, initiated a massive campaign on the importance of Soil Testing in various municipalities in Bicol.

According to Ailene C. Babelonia, Agriculturist II assigned at the Regional Soils Laboratory (RSL), they have been conducting series of trainings and orientations region-wide on the techniques of conducting soil samples for testing.  The goal of soil testing is to measure nutrients present in the soil and the information gathered from soil laboratory tests is then translated into fertilizer recommendation rates that will be used by farmers in their fertilizer application for the next season in order to optimize their farm yields.  So far, as of June this year, the RSL conducted four (4) trainings in LGUs of Pilar, Donsol, Sorsogon, Sto. Domingo Albay and Legaspi City.

Recently, a team from the RSL handed over to Arvin John Bailey, farmer/beneficiary of Lupi, Camarines Sur, the results of the soil testing which he requested. He appreciated the indicated fertilizer recommendations for the commodities he plans to propagate in his area . “Ako ay nagagalak na mayroon palang ganitong paraan para  malaman kung anong kulang na nutrients sa aking lupa gaya ng nitrogen at halos wala na ring  potassium ayon sa natangap kong resulta ng soil test. Ngayon, alam ko na kung anong  klaseng abono and dapat  ilagay.” he said. The turning over of  laboratory results took place at the office of Mayor  Lilian  S. A, Matamorosa who herself is a farming advocate. She pledges her full support to whatever farming endeavour her constituents will undertake.

Also present was Lupi  Municipal Agriculturist Edna Alberto who affirmed that the DA RFO5- Regional Soils Laboratory has been extending full assistance to the LGU like provision of soil testing kits  and collection of soil samples in various barangays for laboratory analysis with corresponding fertilizer recommendations in reports of analysis released.  Furthermore,  trainings are also set to be scheduled in the municipality. The RSL team proceeded to Mr. Bailey’s 12-hectare diversified  farm located at Barangay  Bellcruz, Lupi, Camarines Sur. The Team demonstrated the proper techniques of applying fertilizer. The soil sampling method on how to get the samples onsite was already demonstrated earlier.  (B. Nunez)