Monday, June 07, 2010

Make organic fertilizer out of farm wastes, farmers urged

By Vishia Mae Dominic J. Tolcidas
Regional Applied Communications
FITS OPA Negros Occidental

At the start of the planting season (for first cropping) this month, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) Negros Occidental is urging farmers not to burn farm wastes but rather convert them into organic fertilizer.¬

Provincial Agriculturist Igmedio Tabianan said that for plants to grow healthy, wastes like rice straw can be used in them because they are rich in nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

A faster way to decompose rice straw and other farm wastes in irrigated farmlands is through the use of Trichoderma harzianum, a compost fungus activator, which could decompose it in only 3 to 4 weeks compared to the normal decomposition which takes several months. Trichoderma is pure culture grown in agar-oatmeal or coco-gel media.

Hays Do Not Make Waste

Rice straw found in farms like this in Valladolid, Negros Occidental could be used as organic fertilizer.

To make better compost, rice straws are evenly spread in the field and mixed with dried animal manure like chicken dung, and leaves of ipil-ipil, madre de cacao and hagonoy. Trichoderma is then mixed with water and sprayed to the wastes. In less than a month, the field is ready for planting. This Modified Rapid Composting (MRC) technology using Trichoderma is started right after harvest every cropping season.

“It addresses problems on soil nutrition and fertility, saves on production cost, and assures better income,” said Dr. Virginia Cuevas of the University of the Philippines Institute of Biological Sciences.

With MRC, production in a one-hectare farm could reach as high as 80 to 100 cavans of rice, according to the OPA Research Development and Soils Laboratory Services. Without MRC, it could only yield 69 cavans. OPA added that with MRC, net income is 3 to 4 times greater and return of investment is more than 300%.

Pilot organic villages are in barangays Inayawan in Cauayan, Daan Banwa in Kabankalan City, Asia in Hinobaan, and Mailum in Bago City. Other farmers groups and non-government organizations have been producing and using Trichoderma.

For technical assistance and more information on Trichoderma, interested farmers and researchers can visit the OPA Soils Laboratory along Gatuslao Street, Bacolod City.

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