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Vol. I

No. 1

February 2004

This is the maiden issue of the educational series titled All About Rice.

We hope this publication will enlighten our leaders in agriculture, education, extension and media, our policymakers and the general public about timely and “hot” issues on rice. We believe that information and knowledge empower people to reason, decide, act and innovate, which make for a dynamic and progressive rice industry.

We welcome comments and views on issues tackled in the articles, suggestions on improving the publication, and ideas for topics to be covered in succeeding issues.

Technical Reviewer:

Writer: Editors:

Emil Q. Javier Anne-Marie Jennifer E. Eligio

Ma. Theresa H. Velasco Katherine S. Lopez

Layout:

Hermilea Marie P. Cabral

Editorial Consultant:

Rogelio V. Cuyno

Organic Fertilizer In Rice: Myths And Facts

Cezar P. Mamaril, Ph.D.

Summary

Much has been written about the benefits of fertilizers and the detrimental effects of chemical fertilizers in agriculture. However, research has shown that organic fertilizers may not altogether be the best option for rice farming.

  • Organic materials, after undergoing decomposition especially when applied in large quantities, could cause groundwater pollution.

  • Plants do not directly use the nutrients found in organic material.

  • The amounts of essential plant nutrients in organic materials, including the commercial organic fertilizers, are very low.

  • Organic materials can improve the physical properties of soils only under aerobic soil conditions where upland or dryland crops are grown.

  • Soil organic matter will not increase significantly in just one or two years of applying organic materials.

  • Organic fertilizer is not the sole factor in improving the quality of the food product.

A strategy that can be used to successfully improve and sustain the productivity of soils is to apply farm wastes (crop residues and farm manure) – which are organic – in combination with proper amounts of chemical fertilizers, taking as added consideration the alleviation of limiting micronutrients.

rganic fertilizers can be a source of essential nutrients for plants as well as for the improvement of soil productivity. On the other hand, use of chemical fertilizers has been blamed relentlessly for the deterioration of soil and water resources and the environment as a whole.

Chemical fertilizers have been generally considered a bane in farming. Pollution of groundwater and of bodies of waters like rivers and lakes has been caused by irresponsible application of fertilizers. Besides the deleterious effect on our waters, fertilizer use has caused the decline in of soil productivity.

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