Rice farmer Mang Lando gets the surprise of his life when a talking rice plant pops out of his rice field and tells him what rice plants need. Ryza, the talking rice plant, gives Mang Lando first-hand information on rice and nutrients. Going through the various growth stages, Mang Lando finds out how to manage nutrients to get high yields. Ryza also convinces Mang Lando to try out the Nutrient Manager for Rice, an easy-to-use computer program .
For more on site-specific nutrient management see: http://irri.org/index.php?option=com_...
Mang Lando: Hmm. My rice plants are looking a bit pale. I may need to apply fertilizer again.
Mang Lando: Oh, how I wish these rice plants could talk; surely they will tell me what they need.
Ryza: Mang Lando, Mang Lando, please stop! Before you add that extra bag of fertilizer, do you know what makes a healthy rice plant?
Mang Lando: What?! Um, no....
Ryza: Mang Lando, proper nutrition makes healthy rice plants.
Mang Lando: Say that again.
Ryza: I said, proper nutrition makes healthy rice plants.
Mang Lando: What? I dont understand what you mean.
Ryza: Then you must hear this.Mang Lando, rice plants are living organisms. Aside from water and sunshine, we need nutrients to be healthy so we can grow and produce grain. The main nutrients that we need are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and sulfur.
Mang Lando: But where do you get all these nutrients?
Ryza: Im glad you asked.
Ryza: We get most of our needed nutrients from the soil, leftover plant materials, and irrigation water. Crop residues such as straw; organic materials such as composts; and organic fertilizer can supply us with nutrients.
Ryza: But, these sources normally cant give us all the nutrients we need to produce a profitable harvest. Thats why we need additional nutrients, which usually come by adding fertilizers.
Mang Lando: Isnt that what I was doing before you stopped me?
Ryza: Yes, thats true, but a rice plant has very specific needs for added nutrients from fertilizer. In order for a rice plant to be healthy, you should feed it with the right amount of nutrients at the right time.
Ryza: Do you know that farmers now have a way to decide how much and when to apply essential nutrients to their crop to get high yields? Thanks to new developments from research, farmers can make more money by using fertilizers wisely.
Mang Lando: How? Can you please tell me more about this new method?
Ryza: Well, thats what Im here for! But before that, here are a few important things. Rice plants are a lot like people. Like people, we also go through several stages of growth—from a seed to a young plant, then all the way to a mature rice crop. Our need for nutrients is different for each growth stage. And, the amount of additional nutrients from fertilizers should match our needs at every stage.
Mang Lando: Really? Thats very interesting! But can you be a little more specific?
Ryza: Alright! Let me walk you through the different growth stages of rice and our nutritional requirements. When rice plants are still very young— thats from the time of transplanting or direct sowing up to about two weeks in the field— we grow at a slow rate, so we take up minimal nutrients. At this stage, phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur are important. But you need to apply only a small amount of nitrogen during this early stage.
Mang Lando: You mean I dont need to add tons of fertilizer at an early stage? Oh my!
Ryza: Thats right! We need a balanced amount of food while were young. All of the required phosphorus should be applied to young rice to ensure strong roots and plant health. But, as we grow faster and begin to produce tillers, we need more nutrients. At this stage, we dont need additional phosphorus, but we do need more nitrogen. However, when you expect yields to be low, such as in the lower yielding season, the need for nitrogen is less.
Mang Lando: I see. You need more nitrogen as you grow faster and when expected yields are high....I think Im going crazy! Was I really talking to a rice plant?
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI; http://irri.org )
through the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC; http://www.irri.org/irrc )
with support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC; http://www.sdc.admin.ch )
With the assistance and participation of:
Chona Lofranco as the voice of Ryza
Larry Fabro as Mang Lando
Johnny Goloyugo as the voice of Mang Lando
IRRI staff members:
Video Editor and Animator