Wednesday, March 21, 2012

PhilRice researchers upgrade skills on precision farming tools

Development of location-specific technologies could now be made easier and more accurate with the application of a software program consisting of crop simulation models on rice science and technology. The software was presented to about 40 researchers of Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in a three-day training held at the Institute’s Central Experiment Station, Feb27-29.

To be proposed as component of PhilRice projects, Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT) “integrates the effects of soil, crop phenotype or traits, weather, and management options on crop yield and allows software users to ask ‘what if’ questions by conducting virtual simulation experiments on a computer in minutes.”

 “With this agri-tool, we can simulate how specific varieties will perform under different environmental conditions. We can accurately identify technologies that need to be developed and can provide recommendations for farmers to achieve the maximum potential of their land,” said Dr. Nenita V. Desamero, training organizer and program leader of PhilRice’s Developing Technologies to Break the Low Rice Yield Barriers in Rainfed, Upland, and other Adverse Environments (BYB) program.

Dr. Orlando Balderama, training facilitator and an expert on crop simulation modeling from Isabela State University said that by simply calibrating the parameters like soil, climate, and farm inputs, appropriate crop management strategies and expected yield performance can be easily projected.

Balderama said DSSAT’s simulation features make it a perfect tool for the realization of smart and precision farming in Philippine agriculture. Other than the researchers, he said that when trained, farmers could also use DSSAT in improving their farming practices.

Meanwhile, PhilRice researchers Elmer Alosnos and Glenn de Peralta added that the software program is useful and relevant for rice specialists working on the development of recommended practices on climate change adaptation and nutrient management.

The three-day training was an initiative of PhilRice station in Batac, Ilocos Norte through Dr. Reynaldo Castro and Juanito Maloom and the Office of the executive Director for Development as support to BYB and Developing Technologies to Surpass the Dry Season Irrigated Lowland Rice Yield Plateau programs.

DA-PhilRice is a government-owned and –controlled corporation that aims at developing high-yielding, cost-reducing, and environment-friendly technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

For more information, please visit or contact DA-PhilRice at Maligaya, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija with telephone number (044) 456-0285 loc 511/512 or any PhilRice station near you. You may also text your questions to 0920-911-1398.

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