The pandemic caused by the spread of novel coronavirus led the whole nation to the implementation of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) which started in mid-March of 2020.  Many were disoriented juggling among priorities and necessities.  However, despite the changes and confusion brought by this condition, the importance of agriculture was hailed.  In support to the Department of Agriculture’s vision of food security to the Filipinos, our research studies called for the intensification of efforts to manage the situation and deliver outputs amidst this situation.

The on-going project on “Improving Nutrient Use Efficiency Towards Precision Agriculture through Enhanced Soil and Water Resources Research” is headed by Dr. Edna D. Samar, the Chief of the Soil and Water Resources Research Division (SWRRD).  This project has three study components to which the first is the “Multi-location Ttrials for Improving the Nutrient Use Efficiency of Yellow Corn in Different Landscapes”, handled by the Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management Section (SFNMS) of the Division and headed by its Senior Science Research Specialist, Ms. Amy O. Yambot.  This particular study started on 2017 and suppose to end its extension period this year.

The study generally aims to provide site-specific fertilizer recommendation for yellow corn from different soil fertility levels.  To achieve this, validations of fertilizer recommendation for yellow corn from the experimental set ups on different soil fertility levels available are being conducted in different sites.  Likewise, the fertilizer-use efficiency is determined wherein the Nitrogen uptake of the plant is traced and quantified through isotopic technique.

There are a total of six study sites planted with yellow corn in the Provinces of Ifugao, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Bukidnon.  All of these locations has experimental set ups for three elements – Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K).  In each element set up, there is a total of five treatments with three replicates.  For all the N sites, in addition to the regular set up of treatments, a micro plot is superimposed in some treatments for the application of the 15N stable isotope.

As part of the 2020 work plan, Ifugao and Tarlac are due to conduct harvest activities in second quarter. Apparently, the implementation was challenged by the protocols set by the ECQ.  However, the contribution of efforts from our field-based research assistants Ms. Rodlyn Valdez for Tarlac and Mr. Roidan Nahig for Ifugao in close coordination with their respective site coordinators and through the assistance provided by the farmer cooperators, the activities were carried out successfully.

The study is in progress of data preparation, analyses and report writing.  The updates were presented in the recently conducted R & D Review and Evaluation of On-going Studies in May 22, 2020.

Truly, the spirit of determination and passion for duty defy any challenges at stake.  In the service to our fellow countrymen during these hard times requires beating the odds of our condition to achieve optimum benefits.  As much as we are all hoping for better days, let’s all continue to be true to our service.