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Tapping the Potential of Tricho for Organic Fertilizer Production

By Aurora M. Manalang – February 20, 2012

Agricultural wastes are common to farmers. But through the efforts of soil scientists and experts, they are able to define the procedure in managing agricultural wastes by converting them into more valuable by-products like the production of organic fertilizers.

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For almost two decades, the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) has been promoting the use of Trichoderma harzianum or (Tricho), a Compost Fungus Activator (CFA) for composting of wastes. Tricho hastens the rapid decomposition of cellulosic wastes in four (4) weeks unlike the traditional composting process which takes about 5 to 6 months. Composting involves the biological decomposition of organic wastes or cellulosic materials such as rice straws, cogon, grasses, weeds, corn stalks, vines, corn cobs, bagasse, and animal manures be introduced to the soil as an organic fertilizer. One good thing about Tricho is that it improves soil quality by acting as soil conditioner and provides lasting benefits. It has no pathogenic effect on plants and as not harmful to human beings.

With the increasing costs of chemical fertilizers, the farmers can produce their own organic fertilizers to minimize cost. To simplify the process, the BSWM launched the Organic Fertilizer Production Project (OFPP) and distributed nationwide to qualified recepients heavy duty shredder, three (3) vermi beds, 15 kilos of worms and two (2) units of tea brewers to produce liquid foliar fertilizers.

After the agricultural wastes are collected and shredded, they are subjected to quick pre-decomposition process with the aid of Tricho. After 10-15 days, worms are introduced into the vermi beds which converts the composted materials into “vermicasts.”

Numerous beneficiaries of the project have been producing high quality vermicasts and liquid fertilizers; some are even into commercial production. The BSWM has been receiving good feedback regarding the wonders of vermicasts and foliar fertilizers on rice, vegetable, fruit, trees and in many other crops. The compost or organic fertilizer is widely used as soil amendment to provide the following benefits: (1) improves soil fertility, soil tilt and soil structure; (2) supplies nutrients for crops; (3) supports living organisms; (4) improves buffer capacity of the soil; and (5) provides biological control to certain pests and diseases.

Aside from advantages in composting organic fertilizers provide the following benefits:

  1. Composts contain active microorganisms which help in the decomposition of waste materials, thereby converting nutrients into readily available forms for plant use.
  2. It improves the physical condition of soil by promoting soil aggregation and preventing surface crusting, thus improving water infiltration, plant root penetration and soil aeration.
  3. It conserves the nutrients contained in animal manures, sewage sludge and similar materials. This also supplies plant growth hormones not found in inorganic fertilizers.
  4. It increases the buffering capacity of soils and minimizes the adverse effects of soil acidity and alkalinity.
  5. It is practical to produce and lessens chemical-based farm inputs.
  6. It continuously promotes sustained productivity.
  7. Farmers find it more economical to supply organic matter to the soil in the form of compost.
  8. Farmers are freed from the burden of soil tillage as compost improves the physical condition of the soil and increases its porosity and water holding capacity.
  9. Farmers do not require expensive growth promoting enzymes and hormones because such can be delivered by composts materials.

Many farmers cooperatives that shifted to organic fertilizer production have testified on its effectivity. The demand has tremendously increased because practical to produce organic fertilizer. The quality of organic fertilizer produced is made even better with the help of worms (African Night Crawlers) that convert the product into vermicasts. Vermicasts are sold at P300.00/bag.

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