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Increasing Corn Yield at Lower Cost Through Biofertilizer Inoculation

By Marcelina J. Palis – June 05, 2012
Field trial in Malaybalay, Bukidnon

For corn farmers who do not have enough money to buy the needed fertilizers for their crop, the results of this project may be good news for them

Entitled “Biofertilizer Efficacy Trials and Enterprise Development for Students and Faculty Members of State Universities,” the study is being undertaken to help farmers improve their yield and reduce their cost of production by using biofertilizers.

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Researchers pose in front of the field trial in Isabela

This is a two-year collaborative project undertaken by the BSWM and UPLB-Biotech, with PCAARRD as the funding agency. The objective of the project is to evaluate the performance of selected biofertilizers, eg. BIO-N, Biogroe, Mykovam, in combination with inorganic fertilizers, for their efficiency to increase the yield of corn. The project leaders are Ms. Sonia M. Salguero (BSWM) and Dr. Jocelyn T. Zarate (UPLB-Biotech). Ms. Marcelina J. Palis is the study leader for Proj. 2.1. The team of researchers include the staff from the Soil Biology Section and UPLB-Biotech.

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Photos taken during the field day in Bukidnon. (Top) Ms. Sonia Salguero answering questions from students about results of the study; (Bottom) Marcy Palis explaining to the students from CMU and MOSCAT about the importance of the project on Biofertilizers.

The biofertilizer technology is one of the cheapest strategy developed to help farmers address the high cost of inorganic fertilizers. The utilization of biofertilizers such as Mycorrhiza, Azospirillum and other plant-growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) can contribute in reducing production costs, and at the same time achieve high yield and optimum returns. Furthermore, biofertilizers are environment-friendly, and may contribute to minimize the negative impacts of the excessive application of agro-chemicals to the environment.

Results of the study in Isabela and Bukidnon showed that inoculation of Mykovam + ½ RR and the combined inoculation of Mykovam and BIO-N + ½ RR gave high yield which are comparable with the yield obtained from corn plants applied with the full inorganic fertilizer treatment. The high investment cost of 100% recommended inorganic fertilizer application of about 7 bags of complete fertilizer (14-14-14) and 4 bags of urea per hectare (in the case of Isabela) amounting to around PhP15,000/ha maybe too costly for ordinary corn farmers. The expense for inorganic fertilizers and biofertilizers for ½ RR + biofertilizer inoculation treatment may only amount to PhP 7,800 to PhP 8,500/ha. This could be an alternative lower input technology that could significantly reduce the production costs of corn farmers.

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(Top) DA Secretary Proceso Alcala, together with UPLB Professor Emeritus Dr. Reynaldo dela Cruz and BSWM Director Dr. Silvino Q. Tejada entertain questions from students and other participants during the training held at BSWM; (Bottom) The Project Leader, Ms. Sonia M. Salguero, facilitating the discussion during the seminar on Biofertilizers held at NOMIARC, DA-RFU X.

One important component of the project is to popularize biofertilizers through print and mass media. Science-based information on biofertilizers were prepared to increase awareness of farmers, students and other stakeholders on biofertilizers.

Field days were conducted in the project sites to showcase the results of the field trials. During the said event, students and farmer leaders in the area were invited to encourage farmers to go into a more sustaining agro-ecosystem.

Two (2) trainings/seminars on biofertilizers were also conducted. The 1st training was conducted at BSWM and no less than the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, the Honorable Secretary Proceso Alcala was the Guest of Honor. The 2nd training was conducted at NOMIARC, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. A total of 70 students from Cental Mindanao University (CMU) and Misamis Oriental State College of Agriculture and Technology (MOSCAT) attended the training. Other biofertilizer products were displayed during the training as part of the advocacy and promotion campaign on biofertilizers.

During the 2011 PSSST Annual Meeting and Symposium held at Visayas State University (VSU), Baybay, Leyte, a poster paper on the results of the study was prepared which won the 2nd Best Poster among 27 entrees. Likewise, the research paper for this study placed second in the Best Paper Category during the recently concluded BSWM’s Review and Evaluation of completed and on-going researches held last April 24, 2012.

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