The farm tour organized by the Philippine Sugar Technologists Association (PHILSUTECH) at La Carlota City and E.B. Magalona last March 9-10 featured bio fertilizers as viable alternative or as supplement to expensive chemical fertilizers, as well as the performance of different high-yielding varieties (HYVs) of sugarcane.
Almost 150 participants, including sponsors and presentors, joined the Annual Educational Farm Tour, which was spearheaded by Philsutech’s Agriculture an and Farm Engineering Division Vice-President and Director Elsie A. Monteclaro and Director Helen B. Lobaton, a press release from the association said Thursday, March 16.
On the first day (March 9) of the farm tour, Engr. Sheila Lou A. Amor, manager of URC SURE – La Carlota Distillery’s Environment, Health and Safety Department, presented updates on the production of canes treated with spent wash, the waste stream from the URC distillery which is transported and provided for free to cooperating farms.
In a video presentation, several farmers who have used spent wash testified that their cane production and the sugar yield of their canes registered significant increases in varying degrees.
One farmer emphasized that, aside from an increase in cane tonnage per hectare and sugar yield per ton of cane, they posted savings from lesser chemical fertilizer needs and free delivery of the material, and they also enjoyed free irrigation during the dry season from the spent wash.
Amor pointed out that the volume of spent wash from the distillery is insufficient compared to the volume of requests for the material from farmers. And although the spent wash is registered with the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority and approved by DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau, URC makes sure that the spent wash is applied only in areas far from water sources, she explained.
Ng Kee Son and Miguel Lasam, Jr, the General Manager and Corporate Secretary, respectively, of biofertilizer dealer BIO-IBG Philippines, also presented the benefits of their products, which have been used by numerous big planters for more than 20 years.
At the Sugar Regulatory Administration’s La Granja Agricultural Research Center (SRA LCGREC) in La Granja, Miss Theresa Alejandrino, SRA’s Research Science Specialist II, shared the results of the application of beneficial microorganisms (BMO) on sugarcane and the mechanics of BMO propagation.
The BMOs are sugarcane-specific organisms which boost the cane’s capacity to absorb nitrogen from the atmosphere, making the nitrogen available to canes. Moreover, BMOs suppress the growth of soil-borne pathogens, enhances the decomposition of organic wastes and residues, improves soil aggregation, and increases soil fertility by hastening the degradation of toxicants, including pesticides and herbicides.
Studies conducted by SRA showed that farms using BMOs also recorded an increase in cane production and sugar yield in varying degrees.
Sugarcane farmer Ferdinand Gayoles, a Department of Agriculture Gawad Saka Awardee for Sugarcane and a BMO user for several years, shared his experiences. He narrated that it is possible to exclusively use BMO in the farm, but one can expect only approximately 62 tons cane per hectare and only 1.79 LKg/ton cane.
To produce a higher number of tons of canes per hectare, Gayoles recommended that farmers should use BMO as a complement to commercial fertilizers, but they should not do away with chemical fertilizers if they want a higher production tonnage per hectare.
SRA LGAREC Chief Science Research Specialist Teresita Baňas present the Growth and Yield Performance of high-yielding sugarcane varieties PF PHIL 2008 1009, PHIL 2009-1567andPHIL 2010-0149 under different seasons of planting, while Rimmon T. Armones, SRA’s principal sugarcane breeder and in-charge of the Biotech Section, presented SRA Climate Resilient Varieties and Variety Programming.
Before the group departed for Bacolod City, they learned from Tractorco Corporate Secretary and General Manager Jeanet F. Santiago about farm machineries which can help overcome high fertilizer prices.
On the second day (March 10) of the farm tour, the participants toured the cane farms in Hda. Chiquita, E.B. Magalona and witnessed for themselves the growth performance of different sugarcane HYVs propagated by the Philippine Sugar Research Institute (Philsurin).
Philsurin Senior Agronomist Haydee P. Villariez also discussed ways on how the farmers can level up their productivity by switching to new suitable (HYVs).
Major sponsors of the farm tour were the URC-Sure La Carlota. Alliance of SONEDCO Planters Kabankalan, Inc., Tractorco Corporation and BIO-IBG Philippines Corp. Others sponsors were Ford Tractor Corporation, 3T Tire Supplies, KABILOG Planters Association and Abomar Equipment Sales Corporation and Ag-mech Systems Corp. Donors are Kabankalan United Sugar Planters Assn., Inc., Solid Planters Diversified Assn., Inc. and Sonedco Planters Assn. Inc.*