Soil conservation technology study presented
by SC Aro
La Trinidad, Benguet (16 January) -- A group of scientists from various universities and institutions presented last week a study on soil conservation technology and prevention of soil erosion essential in the growth of plants.
The fourth year result of the five-year study entitled Sagip-Lupa (SL): Soil Conservation and Weed Management showed positive indications of the use of herbicide demo sites in Batangas, Benguet, Isabela, and Quezon according to Professor Gil Magsino, Program Coordinator and University Researcher of the University of the Philippines in his briefing at the Gladiola Center of the Benguet State University.
The technology is a measure in sustaining the vegetables industry especially in areas prone to soil erosion. Soil erosion depletes soil nutrients present in top soil essential in plant growth.
As gleaned from the results, it was found out that application of a non-selective herbicide has reduced soil erosion, reduced input costs based on tillage practices, increased yield, and showed improvement in soil health.
The study was a comparison between SL utilizing herbicide paraquat of three liters per hectare and the conventional farmer's practice (FP) in the demo sites.
According to Magsino, a non-selective herbicide can be used on all plant types. Its function is limited to destroying the parts of the weeds only above ground keeping the root systems intact. The weeds that rot serve as mulch, a protective cover placed over the soil which helps in crop production.
He said the important feature of the herbicide is that it allows re-growth of weeds important to soil fertility and crop health. They need to be removed from growing alongside with the crop especially during the reproductive stage as weeds compete with nutrient intake of the crop.
Based on the results there was a significant reduction of soil erosion adapting the SL practice compared to FP within the four year period at 64.47 percent in Isabela, 62.59 percent in Quezon, 61.42 percent in Batangas, 49.08 percent in Benguet.
The registered soil erosion is below the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) threshold of 10 tons/hectare/year or a total of 40 tons/hectare for the four-year period.
Utilizing the technology, there was savings of input costs attributed to the accumulated organic matter that set in for the first 45 days after planting. This account for a reduced cost of 65.3 percent in cabbage and 67.3 percent in potatoes in Benguet, 38.6 percent in corn in Quezon, 20 percent in upland rice and 28.0 percent in corn in Batangas, and 33.6 percent in corn in Isabela and 44.5 percent in lowland rice in Nueva Ecija.
Magsino said, "there will always be misuse of the herbicide but we have to see the benefits over the risk."
The group of scientist who undertook the study were from the UPLB, Benguet State University, Isabela State University, PHILRICE, Munoz, Nueva Ecija. (PIA-Benguet) [top]