This cropping, the RCF experimented more on native rice variety, date of transplanting and direct planting by dropping seeds instead of broadcasting. So far, the highest number of tillers we have is 35 of the hybrid M3 variety. But the fact that the native Texas variety can reach up to 60 tillers, the number is not that much. With this, we can adjust/ experiment on the following variables next cropping:
SRI in seedbed
Spacing needs to start in the seedbed. The common practice now is, crowd the seedbed with seeds so that only few blocks are used. Unfortunately, most of our seed beds are densely planted but we noticed in a seedbed where seeds are loosely broadcasted, the seedlings are taller, thicker, uniform in size and greener. In tight spaced seedlings, only the ones in the edges are tall because the edge has bigger space. This shows that seedlings grow healthier with spacing.
Also, if the seedlings are very close to each other, it gives convenience for the uprooters to “pull and pull no matter what” because the plants are closer but if it’s not, they need to take time to pull one by one.
Even though we used dapog system or mat nursery using sacks for the purpose of easily uprooting seedlings, the roots are still cut upon uprooting because the laborers are hasty. Also, the dapog is crowded with too much seeds. The result is, the roots underneath intertwined making it hard for laborers to uproot without forcing. When they force,the roots are cut. Thus, the root are still stressed. It did not serve it’s purpose.
An SRI farmer in Visayas who harvests 7 tons per hectare has a practice of fertilizing the seed bed with chicken manure from his farm. He mixes the manure with soil which he puts in a plastic sheet lining up to 2 cm height. This is his dapog system. The dapog system we used is not yet effective in minimizing root stress because the roots are still cut upon uprooting Next cropping, we can try our very own vermi manure which is rich in nitrogen. The challenge now is to produce a ton of this manure per hectare to be used not only for seedbed but through the growing season. Thus, we need a bigger space for vermicast. We can also outsource manures from poultry and cow farms.
30-40 cm spacing
In a single plot, we experimented direct planting by dropping the seeds instead of broadcasting with a space of 17x 25 cm and 25×25 cm distance. The latter produced 9-19 tillers while the former 9-10 tillers only on the same growth day( 53 days). Clearly, the bigger spacing has more tillers. I’m thinking, maybe if we increase the spacing up to 30cm or more, we can have more tillers.
8-10 DAT (Day after Transplanting )
So far, the earliest date of transplanting we have is 11 days. Still we have many seedlings eaten by snail but it is more because of improper leveling and farmer neglect. If only farmer beneficiaries take good care of their land, it is easy to plant 8 day old seedlings even when it constantly rains.