PALAYCHECK® for Irrigated Lowland Rice
“Learning, checking, and sharing for best farmer’s practice”
Philippine Rice Research Institute 2007
Foreword Technology promotion has typically focused on one component at a time; integrated pest management or integrated nutrient management per se . Although each component gives positive contributions to rice production, research has shown that the interrelationship of these components from seed to seed must be given more emphasis. That is why we have the PalayCheck System .
PalayCheck is a holistic, integrated, and objective approach to rice production. It is not just a technology or a technology package: PalayCheck System is a rice integrated crop management and more. It combines the technology and the learning process to ensure understanding and sustained adoption. With PalayCheck , it is important that a target yield is set, weaknesses of current production practices are identified, and the best practices for a specific area are applied.
PalayCheck takes off from Australiaâ€™s Ricecheck system that helped increase rice yield from about 6 tons/ha in 1986 to 9.5 tons/ha in 2000. Australiaâ€™s Ricecheck system has been successfully adopted in other countries such as Thailand and Indonesia. We would
also like to implement and reap its benefits through the project â€œStrengthening the Development and Use of Rice Integrated Crop Management for Food Security and Poverty Alleviationâ€? funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
We ackowledge the help of farmers, provincial and municipal agricultural officers, agricultural technicians, PhilRice site coordinators and branch managers in testing the PalayCheck System in various municipalities and provinces.
This publication is a good reference material for farmers and agricultural extension workers who want to try the PalayCheck System . We hope that this booklet will help them realize the importance of integrated crop management in improving rice production and the essence of group learning in identifying strengths and weaknesses in current practices. We hope that by using PalayCheck we will be able to sustain improvements in productivity, profitability, and environment safety.
LEOCADIO S. SEBASTIAN
PhilRice Executive Director (2000-2008)
The PalayCheck System
PalayCheck is a dynamic rice crop mana-gement system that presents the best key technology and management practices as Key Checks; compares farmer practices with the best practices; and learns through farmersâ€™ discussion group to sustain improvement in productivity, profitability, and environment safety. PalayCheck is simply â€œlearning, checking, and sharing for best farming practiceâ€? .
PalayCheck is a Rice Integrated Crop Management (RICM) System. RICM recognizes that rice growing is a production system consisting of a range of factors that are interdependent and interrelated in their impact on the growth, yield, and rice grain quality and on the sustainability of the environment. It dictates that technology recommendations for yield improvement be developed and transferred to farmers as a holistic and integrated package and not by components such as integrated nutrient management (INM) or integrated pest management (IPM).
PalayCheck covers the principal areas of crop management such as seed quality, land preparation, crop establishment, nutrient management, water management, pest management, and harvest management. PalayCheck encourages farmers to manage their rice crop according to targets by measuring crop performance and analy -zing results. It provides standards in the form of Key Checks that guide farmers on what to achieve; guide on how to assess the Key Checks; and recommendations on how to achieve the Key Checks. In such way, PalayCheck will help farmers learn from their experiences while improving their crop management practices.
PalayCheck Strategy Group and experiential learning through farmersâ€™ meeting and participative interactions are necessary to help farmers learn PalayCheck by comparing farming practices, management, and yield/quality in the technology demonstration plot with those of other farmersâ€™ fields (see Box 1).
Box 1: The PalayCheck System
PalayCheck uses the following strategies:
Packaging key technologies as Key Checks Working with groups of farmers to identify ricefarming problems, demonstrate the Key Checks, and help farmers learn PalayCheck by comparing the practices, management, and yield/quality as well as profit with those of other farmersâ€™ fields
Teaching farmers how to evaluate their current practices, and improve the management of their fields using the developed Key Checks
Monitoring and recording management inputs and achievement of Key Checks per growth stage
Helping farmers assess the Key Checks and identify the reasons for achieving or not achieving the Key Check(s)
Implementing PalayCheck Each site will consist of a PalayCheck demonstration field to showcase the recommended practices; a group of rice farmers; and a facilitator or resource person. The demonstration field is a selected farmerâ€™s field (farmer-partner). Preferably, the field should be at least 0.5 ha located along the roadside, beside a nontechnology-intervened field, and near the farmersâ€™ meeting area.
Seed and fertilizer inputs may be provided to ensure that the recommended practices are followed. The demo field will be the basis for evaluating the strength and weaknesses of the farmersâ€™ management and discussing as well as learning the necessary adjustments to improve yield and profit. The neighboring members of the group (farmer-cooperators) have the option to adopt or not to adopt PalayCheck recommendations.
The participants for PalayCheck are a group of 15-25 farmers belonging to a community or
neighborhood. The group will meet before, during, and after the cropping season to review the management practices, pest incidence, growth and yield results, and weather condi-tions ; compare the PalayCheck demo field with the farmer-cooperatorsâ€™ fields; discuss reasons for achieving or not achieving the Key Checks based on their knowledge and experience, plan for the next meetingâ€™s activities; and record the activities and results of the demo field and the farmer-cooperatorsâ€™ fields.
The management practices, achievement or nonachievement of Key Checks, and yield results will be evaluated per site. The evaluation will be presented during the last meeting (after harvest) wherein there is an ultimate analysis and interpretation of the achievement of Key Checks and the yield results of each farmer-cooperator and PalayCheck farmer-partner.
Though the PalayCheck System helps farmers achieve high yield through proper crop management, it is essential that the learning process be highlighted. The learning process takes place before, during, and after each planting season. Farmers can compare their actual performance and management with the expected
outputs (yield, quality, and environmental outcomes) as indicated by the achieved Key Checks. Due to limited resources, there are instances when farmer-cooperators do not embrace all the PalayCheck recommendations. Successes, problems, and failures can be identified and therefore, improvements in the next season can be made.
Steps in using the PalayCheck System
1. Manage the rice crop using the Key Checks.
PalayCheck develops a package of techno-logy recommendations. Emphasize to the farmers that the Key Checks are the most important recommendations to achieve high yield and these require particular attention. Each principal area of crop management can have one or more Key Checks. Each Key Check is expressed in a structured way. Therefore, each Key Check has the following:
Crop Management Area. For example, in Seed Quality , the Key Check is â€œ Used certified seeds of a recommended variety â€?.
Assessment of Key Check. This is the indicator or method to determine if the Key Check has been achieved. For example, the seed of an improved rice variety is certified by the NSQCS as evidenced by a tag
on the sack. If achieved, it is given a check ( ). If not achieved, it is given an ( x ).
Importance. This indicates why the Key Check is so important in achieving the field output or growth and yield output of the crop. For example, certified seed is pure, clean, full and uniform in size, and has a minimum germination rate of 85%.
Recommendation to achieve Key Check. The practices that are required to achieve the Key Check as well as other associated practices needed to manage the crop are described. For example, choose a variety with high yield potential and market demand, and tested in technology demonstrations or adaptability trials. The recommended practices are the inputs , the Key Checks are the outputs .
2. Observe, measure, and record crop growth and management performance.
Encourage and guide farmers in observing the rice crop regularly and taking a close look at it by walking through the plots, and not observing from afar.
When walking through the plots, show them how to measure crop growth and management performance. Use a ruler, count, or weigh. Do not guess.
Record the measurements. Recording is an important part of using PalayCheck to ensure that the information is available for later use. Use the forms provided to you or a field notebook. Do not rely on your memory; write down notes.
3. Compare and interpret results to identify problem areas.
Guide farmers in interpreting and analyzing the relationships among management practices, measurements, and yield results to identify those areas that may have limited yield and can be improved upon. Ask them how they achieved their yield.
4. Take action to correct management problems next season. Help farmers improve their crop management to overcome poor results, or repeat management that resulted in good yields. Learn from your experiences.
Box 2: Points to Remember The PalayCheck System is not simply putting a check ( ) or a cross ( x ) on the Key Checks. It is important for farmers to understand why a Key Check has been achieved or not achieved (output) given a crop ma- nagement (input). It is not the same as the â€œ12 Steps in Rice Productionâ€? or similar schemes. It is not a prescription for successful rice production. Farmers and technicians should recognize that the PalayCheck System integrates and balances crop management technologies in order to improve and sustain gains in rice production. It is an advantage if farmer groups implement PalayCheck . After close monitoring of the rice crop, farmers share experiences, discuss possible reasons for achieving or not achieving the Key Checks. Hence, farmers themselves
recognize a weakness in their crop management and a way to improve in the next crop.
Seed Quality Key Check 1. Used certified seeds of a recommended variety. Assessment of Key Check. The seed of an improved rice variety is certified by the NSQCS as evidenced by a tag attached to the sack. Foundation and registered seeds coming from a reliable source (e.g., PhilRice , accredited seed growers) are also acceptable.
Importance. Certified seed is pure, clean, full and uniform in size, and has a minimum germination rate of 85%. The use of certified seeds leads to healthy seedlings that grow fast and uniformly. All these can contribute to a 5-10% increase in grain yield.
Recommendations to achieve Key Check
Choose a variety with high yield potential, market demand, and tested in technology demonstrations or adaptability trials.
Farmers often prefer new varieties, believing that they yield better. But a variety may be released based on reasons other than yield (e.g., better grain quality and resistance to pests).
If the farmer decides to plant a new variety, the agricultural technologist should recommend a variety that has been tested in the farmersâ€™ municipality for more than a year.
Land Preparation Key Check 2. No high and low soil spots after final leveling. Assessment of Key Check. During land leveling, the field should have 2-5 cm water depth. The field should have no visible mound of soil above the water surface after the final leveling.
Importance. A properly leveled field allows for more uniform water distribution, requires less water to fill up, reduces weed incidence, and better management of golden apple snails. It helps achieve a uniform crop maturity.
Recommendations to achieve Key Check Clean and repair dikes and ditches. Dikes must be cleaned to remove pest; compacted to prevent
seepage, and properly maintained 15 cm high x 20 cm wide to prevent rat burrowing. Ditches will ensure even water distribution and drainage. Draining removes toxic substances, allows organic matter to decompose, and helps the plant produce deeper and stronger roots.
Plowing and harrowing. Plow under weeds and stubbles 10 to 15 cm deep 3 to 4 weeks before transplanting or direct wet seeding to allow decomposition and recycle plant nutrients. Decomposition is faster in moist soil. If organic materials are not fully decomposed, soil tends to become acidic and some nutrients become less available.
Harrow the field at least twice at one week interval. The first harrowing is done a week after plowing to break the clods and incorporate the stubbles. This allows drop seeds and weed seeds to germinate. The
second harrowing, across the direction of the first plow, also the initial leveling, further incorporates the volunteer plants and allows the germination of the remaining drop seeds and weed seeds. These practices help reduce the initial pest host population and maintain the hardpan.
Level the field. Use a wooden plank or power tiller-attached leveler. Direct wet-seeded rice (DWSR). Construct small canals near the levee surrounding the field and in the middle of the field as paths for excess water, collecting golden apple snails, and paths to facilitate field operations such as planting missing
Crop Establishment Key Check 3. Practiced synchronous planting after a fallow period. Assessment of Key Check. The field should have a fallow period of at least 30 days after harvest. It should be planted within 14 days before and after the majority of the irrigation service area has been planted.
Importance. Synchronous planting within one month avoids the overlapping incidence of insect and disease populations. A fallow period of at least one month breaks the insect pest cycle and destroys disease hosts. This scheme is largely affected by the availability of irrigation water in the locality.
Allow a fallow period of at least a month from harvest to establishment of the next crop.
This can break the pest cycle and facilitate the success of crop management practices.
Follow the local planting calendar. This maximizes the use of irrigation within the community.
Crop Establishment Key Check 4. Sufficient number of healthy seedlings. Assessment of Key Check. Transplanted rice (TPR). Seed rate is 20 to 40 kg/ha for inbred and 15 to 20 kg/ha for hybrid. After replanting missing hills within 7 days after transplanting (DAT), assess the health status of seedlings at 10 DAT. There should be at least 25 hills/m 2 .
Randomly select 3 sampling sites in a diagonal line across the field. The sampling sites should be at least 1 m from the edge of the field.
Count the number of hills/m 2 using a 1 m x 1 m quadrat. Add the number of hills and divide the total by 3 to get the average number of hills/m 2 .
Direct wet-seeded rice (DWSR). Fifteen days after seeding (DAS) pre-germinated seeds, plant density should be at least 150 plants/m 2 for a rate of 40 kg seeds/ha . For a seed rate of 80 kg/ha , plant density should be at least 300 plants/m 2 .
To assess plant density, use 1 m x 1 m quadrat (1 m 2 ). Randomly select 3 sampling sites in a diagonal line across the field. Each sampling site or 1 m 2 quadrat should be at least 1 m from the edge of the field.
Count the number of plants/m 2 using a 1 m x 1 m quadrat. Add the number of plants and divide the total by 3 to get the average number of plants/m 2 .
In every parcel for TPR and DWSR, randomly select 10 hills. Each hill should have at least one healthy seedling. A healthy seedling is green, with good growth, and free from pest and disease.
Importance. Healthy seedlings can produce a good canopy and compete better against weeds.
F ollow the recommendations below: Inbred Varieties Seeding Rate (kg/ha): 20-40 Minimum Seedbed Area (m 2 ): 400 Age of Seedlings (days): 20-25 No. of Seedlings (per hill): 1-3 Planting Distance (cm x cm): 20 x 20 Hybrid Varieties Seeding Rate (kg/ha): 15-20 Minimum Seedbed Area (m 2 ): 400 Age of Seedlings (days): 20-25 No. of Seedlings (per hill): 1-2 Planting Distance (cm x cm): 20 x 20 Note: Lower number of seedlings per hill is recommended for hybrid due to its high cost.
Sowing the right amount of seeds results in strong and healthy seedlings.
Resulting seedlings have higher survival rate and easily recover from transplanting shock. Sowing a higher amount of seeds results in thin and weak seedlings. Proper spacing enables the crop to develop a good ground cover and helps control weeds.
For transplanted rice , establish seedbed near a water source and protect it from pests, particularly birds and rats. It should have a good drainage.
Proper water and pest management are important at this stage. If the germinated seeds are covered too deeply with water, this will result in weak
seedlings with poor root growth because of lack of air in the soil. Birds and rats feed on seeds directly and pull up germinating seeds and so it is important to guard the seedbed against these pests.
Apply the organic materials before leveling the seedbed. For fine-textured soil , incorporate 10-15 bags organic material or 3-4 bags commercial organic fertilizer in a 400 m 2 se edbed before sowing the seeds.
Or ganic materials help loosen the soil. Thus, it makes pulling of seedlings easier and minimizes root damage. Use compost or any fully decomposed organic materials such as dried animal manure, carbonized rice hull, or rice straw.
For medium-textured soil , you may not apply organic materials.
For direct wet-seeded rice , the field is ready for seeding after land preparation and leveling as
described in the recommendation for Key Check 2. Pre-germinated seeds/seedlings should be protected from birds, rats, snails and weeds following the standad practices described in the pest management section. Broadcast pre-germinated seeds evenly onto the leveled field.
Sow extra pre-germinated seeds (1 kg) on the side of the field for replanting. Replant bare patches .
Key Check 5. Sufficient nutrients from tillering to early panicle initiation and flowering .
Assessment of Key Check. From tillering to early panicle initiation (EPI) and flowering, apply N fertilizer (1.5 bags urea per hectare in dry season or 1.0 bag urea per hectare in wet season) if LCC reading is below 4 for transplanted and below 3 for direct wet-seeded rice .
Transplanted rice . At flowering, achieve at least 300 panicles/ m 2 . To assess panicle density, randomly select 3 sampling sites in a diagonal line across the field. The sampling sites should be at least 1 m from the edge of the field. Count the number of panicles using a 1 m x 1 m quadrat (1 m 2 ). Add the number of panicles and divide the total by 3 to get the average number of panicles/m 2 .
Direct wet-seeded rice . At flowering, achieve at least 350 panicles/m 2 .
To assess panicle density, randomly select 3 sampling sites in a diagonal line across the field. The sampling sites should be at least 1 m from the edge of the field. Count the number of panicles using a 1 m x 1 m quadrat ( 1 m 2 ). Add the number of panicles and divide the total by 3 to get the average number of panicles/m 2 .
Importance. Sufficient nutrients from tillering to EPI, and flowering will ensure good crop growth, panicle development, and attainment of yield potential. The optimum panicle density could be associated with the attainment of yield potential.
Recommendations to achieve Key Check Know and manage the nitrogen needs of your plants based on LCC and assess other nutrients based on MOET or Nutrient Omission Plot . Nutrient Omission Plot, Yield-Fertilizer Management Relationship
If resources are available, farmers and the AT can establish 5 m x 5 m Nutrient Omission Plots (NOPs) during regular croping to assess the following: (1) indigenous nitrogen supply or INS, i.e., no N fertilizer but with P and K (-N, +P, +K), (2) indigenous phosphorus supply or IPS (-P, +N, +K), and (3) indigenous potassium supply or IKS (-K, +N, +P). These can serve as basis of fertilizer recommendation.
NOPs are effective in helping farmers observe plant nutrient deficiencies especially during farmers’ field day. Since soil N is usually inadequate, the “real time” crop need for N is effectively
assessed by LCC. Hence, only IPS and IKS plots may be established. Another reliable basis of P and K fertilizer rate recommendation is the actual yield-fertilizer rate/amount relationship obtained from trials in farmersâ€™ fields.
Proper management of nutrients improves crop growth and yield. It means giving the right kind and amount of nutrients at the right time. Rice plants grow and respond better to fertilizer when there is more sunlight.
Conduct the Minus One Element Technique (MOET) test 30 days before transplanting or direct wet seeding and assess nutrient status based on visible plant nutrient deficiency symptoms and growth response (i.e., plant height and tiller number) but not plant biomass.
Use the leaf color chart (LCC) every 7 days from early tillering to early flowering to assess the crop need for nitrogen (N) fertilizer. LCC and MOET are simple tools that can assess nutrient deficiency, guide fertilizer application, and generate savings in fertilizer use.
Aside from nutrient deficiency, consider mineral toxicity in deciding on the nutrients to apply. In the
lowlands, iron toxicity is most common, especially where there is permanent flooding during crop growth. Iron toxicity-affected rice plants have tiny brown spots on the lower leaves starting from the tip or have orange-yellow to brown leaves.
To manage iron toxicity, use intermittent irrigation and avoid continuous flooding on poorly drained soils, balanced fertilizers, and perform dry tillage after harvest to increase iron oxidation during the fallow period.
Nitrogen. Use the LCC every 7 days from 14 days after trans-planting (DAT) or 21 days after seeding (DAS) until early flowering. But if 14-14-14-12S is applied at 14 DAT or 21 DAS, LCC reading starts at 21 DAT or 28 DAS.
Nitrogen affects many processes contributing to yield. It increases plant height, tiller number, leaf size, spikelet number per panicle, percentage filled spikelets , and grain protein content. Thus, if N is deficient, plants become stunted and yellowish.
If there is too much N, particularly between panicle initiation and flowering, the rice plant becomes prone to lodging and pests. Excess N is also costly.
The LCC helps farmers determine the right time of N application by measuring the leaf color intensity. If more than 5 out of 10 leaves have readings below the critical value of 4, apply 1.5 bags of 46-0-0 (urea) or 3.5 bags of 21-0-0-24S (ammonium sulfate) during the DS and 1 bag of 46-0-0 or 2 bags of 21-0-0-24S during the WS.
Ammonium sulfate is used instead of urea when plant shows sulfur deficiency, or if sulfur-containing fertilizer like 14-14-14-12S is not used.
Phosphorus and potassium. Compound fertilizers, (i.e., 14-14-14-12S, 16-20-0) or single carrier fertilizer (i.e., 0-18-0 or 0-0-60) can be used and dependent on cropping season, soil type, yield target, and market availability.
Phosphorus fertilizer is important for root development, tillering , early flowering, and ripening. Phosphorus-deficient plants are stunted with greatly reduced tillering .
Leaves are narrow, short, very erect, and dark green. Stems are thin and plant deve-lopment is retarded. The number of leaves, panicles, and grains per panicle are also reduced.
Potassium improves root growth and plant vigor and helps prevent lodging. It also enhances crop resistance to pests and diseases. Potassium deficiency is often not detected because its symptoms are not as easy to recognize as those of N deficiency, and appear during the later growth stages.
Potassium-deficient plants are dark green with yellowish brown leaf margins, i.e., similar to those of tungro disease but affecting whole field, not patches. Dark brown spots can also be seen on the leaf surface.
Sulfur. The amount of sulfur in 14-14-14 -12S (with 12% sulfur) is adequate to correct usual sulfur deficiency.
Sulfur deficiency is often mistaken for nitrogen deficiency. Unlike N deficiency where older leaves are affected first, sulfur deficiency results in yellowing ( chlorosis ) of young leaves. Other symptoms include yellowish seedlings in seedbed, high seedling mortality after transplanting, stunted growth (but plants are not dark colored as in P or K deficiency), reduced tiller number, fewer and shorter panicles, reduced number of spikelets per panicle, and delayed maturity.
Zinc. Apply 25 kg zinc sulfate/ha at 14 DAT once a year during the DS.
Zinc deficiency is the most widespread micronutrient-related problem in rice. Its symptoms a ppear between 2-4 weeks after transplanting.
These include dusty brown spots on old leaves, yellowish young leaves at the base and midrib, stunted plants, uneven plant growth, and patches of poorly established hills in the field.
Rice plants, however, can recover from symptoms soon after the field is drained. Severe deficiency, on the other hand, results in reduced tiller number and delayed maturity.
Water Management Key Check 6. Avoided excessive water or drought stress that could affect the growth and yield of the crop.
Assessment of Key Check. No symptoms of stress due to excessive water observed at vegetative stage i.e., reduced tillering and leaf area. Excessive water means water depth greater than 5 cm for 7 days or more. No symptoms of stress due to drought observed at vegetative stage, i.e., leaf rolling, leaf tip drying, reduced leaf area, height, and tiller number. No symptoms of stress due to drought observed from panicle initiation to grain filling, i.e., leaf rolling, leaf tip drying, reduced panicle exertion , and many unfilled grains.
For a 120-day variety, early panicle initiation is usually at 40-45 DAT or 61-65 DAS and ripening phase is usuall y from 70-100 DAT or 91-120 DAS. One to two weeks before crop maturity or harvest is the hard dough stage. Importance. Water transports nutrients from the soil to the plant. An adequate water supply ensures good crop establishment, seedling vigor, and normal crop growth, development, and yield.
Recommendations to achieve Key Check Achieve 3-5 cm water depth every irrigation time from early tillering until 1-2 weeks before crop maturity or harvest.
A 3-5 cm water depth maintained from 10 DAT or 10-15 DAS to near crop maturity will ensure water status for optimum crop growth and yield. However, under field conditions, irrigation water supply may be insufficient to maintain a flooded soil condition or a certain surface water depth. While a certain flood water depth can control weeds, saturated soil condition
at an early crop growth stage can reduce snail mobility and damage.
Controlled irrigation that does not induce plant water stress or reduce plant growth can be followed to use water efficiently. Under this system, water is allowed to decrease from 5 cm floodwater depth to 15 cm below the soil surface (perched water table) in dry season and 20 cm below the soil surface in wet season, before re-irrigating the field. This can be done from transplanting to maximum tillering. At heading or flowering stage, a floodwater depth of 3 to 5 cm is maintained.
To monitor the perched water table, a 30 cm perforated cylinder or bamboo can be installed in the soil up to 20 cm below the soil surface.
Drain water or stop irrigation 1-2 weeks before harvest. For medium-textured soil , drain water a week before harvest. For fine-textured soil , drain water 2 weeks before harvest.
This ensures sufficient moisture to complete grain filling and facilitates harvest operations. This also helps ensure better grain apperance, i.e., grains will not be splashed with mud and water.
Pest Management Key Check 7. No significant yield loss due to pests.
Assessment of Key Check. No significant yield loss due to insect pests, diseases, weeds, rats, snails, and birds. Significant pest damage occurs when one or more pests cause damage.
Importance. Pest management is an integral component of rice production. Knowledge of the interactions of the rice crop with the biotic factors, agroecosystem, and the crop management system provides an accurate understanding of the destructive potential of pests. Correct pest identification and application of integrated crop management technologies (resistant
variety, land preparation, date and method of crop establishment, biological control, varietal rotation, fertilizer and water management, and pesticides) during crop development are needed in its su c cess.
Recommendations to achieve Key Check Use varieties resistant to pests and diseases prevalent in the locality. The use of resistant varieties is the first line of defense in pest management and is compatible with biological control.
Change or rotate varieties every 2 to 4 cropping to delay insect pest and disease adaptation, thereby preventing buildup of virulent pathogens and insect pests.
Adopt a synchronous planting scheme after a fallow period in the locality (see Key Check 3 ).
Conserve beneficial organisms.
There are rich communities of beneficial organisms in the rice ecosystem in the absence of naturalenemy killing pesticides. The indiscriminate use of pesticides reduces biodiversity and disrupts the natural balance of insect pests and beneficial organisms. Conservation of these beneficial organisms is safe, economical, and permanent. For example, longhorned grasshopper feeds on the egg mass of stemborers while spiders feed on the nymphs and adults of leafhoppers and planthoppers .
Management options for major pests. Conduct field monitoring. Regular field monitoring especially at the early stage of crop growth helps identify the potential pests at its initial stage of development . Preventive management options can be
applied, as in the case of diseases before they spread and reach intolerable levels. In the case of insect pests, corrective management options are recommended.
Insect pests. Do not spray against defoliators during the first 30 DAT or 40 DAS. Plants compensate to early season damage by producing new leaves and tillers. Spraying prevents the early season movement and colonization of beneficial organisms in the field.
Diseases. Correct diagnosis and field sanitation help prevent the spread of diseases. To diagnose the disease, compare the appearance of the infected plant with other plants of the same variety and age. Consider disease distribution, spread, and condition of the field. It also helps to examine closely the infected plant and see if there are other organisms on it.
To minimize pest and disease occurrence (i.e., tungro ), observe one-month fallow period or avoid three cropping in a year or quick turnaround period. Do not use too much fertilizer and unnecessary pesticide.
To minimize disease severity, avoid too much application of nitrogen fertilizer. Bacterial blight, sheath blight, and blast can be reduced indirectly with LCCbased N fertilizer application.
Rats. The presence of rats can be indicated by active rat burrows, footprints, cut tillers, and runways. The trap barrier system (TBS) is one of the ways to monitor rat population. If installed a month before the regular cropping season, it can a be guide to start rat control operations.
Proper timing, active and sustained communitywide control, and integrated management practices like use of flamethrower, hunting, baiting, trapping, and cleaning must be done to effectively manage field rats.
Golden apple snails. Snails feed on young rice seedlings. To manage them, keep the field saturated during the early vegetative stage (within 2 weeks after transplanting or 3 weeks after direct wet-seeding).
Construct small canals and place attractants such as newsprint and broadleaves (e.g. banana and gabi leaves) to facilitate snail collection, or place wire or woven bamboo screen at the water inlets and outlets to prevent entry to the fields.
Birds. Birds are most abundant in rice fields during seeding and ripening stages. They eat the pre-germinated seeds sown, damage the panicles and eat the grains. Birds are usually found during the early morning or late afternoon. Scaring away is a practical solution. PEST IDENTIFICATION
If an insect pest or disease and its management cannot be i dentified, call the attention of the pest specialist (entomologist/plant pathologist) or a team of pest specialists to properly identify the organism and decide on the appropriate course of action such as the use of pesticide, biological agent or cultural management.
Weeds. To reduce weed population, a wide range of practices should be followed: proper land preparation, land leveling, water management, use of healthy and clean seeds, varieties with good early vigor, and
sound and appropriate use of agrochemicals. Weed control is critical during the first 30 to 40 days after transplanting or direct wet-seeding.
Harvest Management Key Check 8. Cut and threshed the crop at the right time.
Assessment of Key Check. Harvest/reap the crop when 1/5 or 20% of the grains at the base of the panicle are in hard dough stage. Press a grain from the base of the panicle between the thumb and forefinger to assess hard dough stage. Most of the grains in the panicle will be golden yellow.
Importance. Timely reaping and threshing ensure good grain quality, high market value, and consumer acceptance.
Reaping too early results in a larger percentage of immature grains and in lower milling recovery. Reaping too late leads to increased grain shattering and excessive losses in terms of breakage during milling.
Thresh the palay not later than one day after reaping for WS and not later than two days for DS. Use a clean thresher with the correct machine settings.
Harvest/reap at 20-25% grain moisture content in wet season and 18-21% moisture content in dry season. It is advisable to use a grain moisture meter.
Avoid piling the reaped crop in the field for more than a day as this results in heat buildup in the grain. This leads to grain discoloration and lowers the quality of milled rice.
Adjust blower to the correct speed (approx. 800 rpm) to provide good initial cleaning of the harvest. A high -speed setting of threshing drum results in higher grain damage while a low speed setting increases the amount of non-threshed grain and results in grain loss.
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