ATTAINING an abundant rice harvest will depend on the on the right choice of seeds.
But farmers should not be dazed by the more than 300 varieties of rice which have been approved by the National Seed Industry Council since 1977.
To have the right choice, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) says it would be practical to consider the suggestions of experts and even from farmers who have succeeded by choosing the recommended varieties.
- Resistance to pest and diseases:
The Rice Knowledge Bank of the International Rice Research Institute published that on the average, pests and diseases can reduce yield by 37 percent annually. To avoid this, the first line of defense is choosing resistant rice varieties.
For instance, the Mestizo 1 (PSB Rc 72H) and NSIC Rc 222 have intermediate reaction to the tungro virus. Mestiso 20 (Rc 204H), Rc 216, Rc 434, and Rc 472 are susceptible to the disease but are moderately resistant to the green leaf hopper (GLH), the virus vector.
- Tolerance to water submergence/drought
Tolerance to water submergence is crucial particularly in areas where flooding occurs, and the water does not subside immediately. In these areas, farmers may opt to plant NSIC Rc 194 (Submarino 1), a variety that can survive water submergence up to 14 days at vegetative phase. PSB Rc 68 also tolerates water submergence.
In areas where water is scarce or irrigation is delayed, farmers may choose drought-tolerant varieties: PSB Rc 10, Rc 14, NSIC Rc 192, and Rc 222.
- Consider the soil characteristics
Some rice varieties can grow even in adverse soil conditions such as acidic and saline soils. PSB Rc 1 is suited for acidic soils while PSB Rc 48, Rc 50, NSIC Rc 106, Rc 190, Rc 392, and Rc 462 show some tolerance to salinity.
- Right environment
Farmers also need to consider the rice ecosystem: irrigated, rainfed, upland, saline-prone, or cool-elevated.
For irrigated environments, farmers may plant the Tubigan varieties, such as NSIC Rc 160, Rc 222, Rc 216, Rc 300, Rc 402, Rc 204H (M20) and PSB Rc 72H (M1); Sahod Ulan varieties, such as NSIC Rc 272, Rc 276, Rc 280, Rc 416, Rc 472 for rainfed areas; and NSIC Rc 9, Rc 11, and Rc 23 for upland environments.
Based on the Pinoy Rice Knowledge Bank of PhilRice, early maturing varieties are less prone to pests and diseases. These varieties mature in less than 110 days making them less exposed to typhoon that causes lodging. Varieties include PSB Rc 10, NSIC Rc 152, and Rc 130. Meanwhile, late-maturing varieties, which mature in more than 126 days, have higher yield potential owing to better vegetative growth.
- Resistance to lodging.
Studies show that lodging lowers grain quality and makes the crop difficult to harvest. Factors such as plant height, light intensity, method of crop establishment, wind velocity and rain, stem thickness, and root structure affect lodging. Resistant varieties include PSB Rc 2, Rc 30, Rc 34, and Rc 74. ([email protected]/PN)