Thursday 5 February 2015


Usual Wednesday (Feb 04, 2015). Wake up early. Eat breakfast. Go to Rice Survivor 4. BUT we are not going to tend our plots. We are scheduled to visit Dr. Mamaril's farm in Bay, Laguna. Maji emailed that his farm was frequently visited and known because of the practices he is doing in terms of farming and rice production. I do not expect anything. Actually, I am thinking that his talk will be all scientific practices (after all, he is a scientist) that can help us in managing our plot and talking about his experiences on experimenting on his farm.

Yes, indeed. Questions raised are about the rice varieties, transplanting, weed control, pest control, chemistry of the soil, mechanization, post harvest stuff. He answered the questions in a concise manner and from expert's point of view. But what struck me is when he talked about the economics of farming. Yes, a soil scientist talking about costs of labor, rental of machinery, investments and the market! 

He grows pigmented (red, black, and the famous brown rice), glutinous, and aromatic rice. These are low yielding varieties but can command a higher price. He mills his own palay. He sells brown rice in a lower price compared to brown rice found in supermarkets. He caters brown rice to two local restaurants and some customers would ask the restaurant where can they buy the brown rice. It has a niche market, people who wants healthy rice. He told us that there is an increasing demand for brown rice. 

"Farmers should know their market. Farmers should also know how to add value to their product. They should think farming as an enterprise" He said.

Consumer preference, value chain, investment games popped out on my mind. The realization of the market a farmer can cater, the customers preferences, the process and value that adds up to rice from harvesting to market. As part of the Market Research Team, I am so proud of hearing this.
(Photos courtesy of TC)

Jhoanne Ynion is a team member of RICE4TITANS Team along with Dr. Hung (Postharvest), Anthony (CESD), Grace (Comm), and Tita Marie (TC). She is a statistician and part of the Market Research Team in SSD. She just recently joined IRRI - learning and experiencing rice knowledge at a new level.

Friday 30 January 2015

Bloopers of RICE4TITANS

Blooper #1: First time to use OCS

After the RS4 class discussion on OCS, we requested fertilizer for our 1st application thru OCS. We followed what was instructed and successfully requested the product. The thing is, we indicated 1KG of fertilizer. 1KG! haha! and just  noticed it the following day, the day of application. Well, so we requested again the complete fertilizer (14-0-0) and this time we know how to indicate the right amount. ;)

Blooper #2: Second time to use OCS

One of our teammate who knows fertilizer specify that we need UREA (46-0-0). He is indisposed so I volunteered to request. With much confidence in using the OCS, I use it to request fertilizer for our 2nd application. I just told him, "OK, I'll just follow what you did last time." I didn't forget to indicate the amount of fertilizer. I follow what was requested the last time and successfully requested it. The ES person replied that we can get the fertilizer at 8:30 am even though they open at 10am. To much of my delight, it was successful! But then, I re-read the email....

"We need 20kg of UREA (46-0-0)"

So I stopped writing my email for updates to the team and think... Is Complete fertilizer different from UREA? I asked everyone I know who is helping us in RS4 and IT IS! OMG! 

But Thank God, we can just request another and cancelled our previous fertilizer request. :)

Blooper #3: Face-off with a field rat!

It says it all. I saw a rat that might be the one eating our rice plant :(

Thursday 23 October 2014

Application for Rice Survivor 4

Have you ever wondered what it was like to grow your own plot of rice? Here is a unique opportunity.  The next Rice Survivor training course will start this November and run until mid May 2015.  
Rice Survivor is a  hands-on, seed to seed, rice production training where participants get their feet muddy and increase their knowledge, skills, and experience while tackling the challenges of rice production.  Participants will be grouped into diverse teams of 5-6 individuals from across the Institute. Each group will develop and implement their own production plan.  Participants can expect to spend 2-3 hours per week attending a training session and/or doing field activities.  Several resource persons will provide their insights on topics including land preparation, crop establishment, pest management issues, harvesting, milling, and grain quality.
The window for submitting applications is now open until 5 November.  Click on the following link to access the application form or send any questions/inquiries to Achu Arboleda or Maji Marikit ( or

Link for Rice Survivor application form:

Sunday 29 June 2014

Mabango in Berlin

Dear fellow RICEsilient members Berta, Sara, Lorie, Rexie, Nikos and Samir,

it's been a while since we've said goodbye and my lovely time at IRRI is already far away. It's been such a pleasure growing rice with all of you - thanks so much for making me part of the team! We may have come out a close second in the challenge, but I know (and you know it, too) that we were the best team of all.

Three weeks ago I got a visit in my new home in Berlin from a very special someone (also a former intern at SSD) who brought me a big pack of the most fragrant Mabango rice. Today I used it for the first time to make some creamy fennel rice and it tasted absolutely masarap!

I hope all of you are doing well and the wet season will stop bothering you soon. Do you ever get to catch up over a cup of coffee in the Beanhub?

I'm sure we'll have a chance to meet again somewhere in the future. Until then - all the best from your teammate Lisa!

Tuesday 13 May 2014

Get well soon!

Fungal Disease

Leaf Blast is a disease caused by a certain type of fungi. They can affect the rice plants at any growth stage. Lesions occur in the leaf, lesions refer to discolored areas for blast they are usually large spindle shaped with a gray center.

Lesion caused by Rice Blast.

Blast occurs in different parts of the plant, I remember the experts Dr. Sparks and Dr. Castilla mentioned neck blast and collar blast. They also visited our field and it was confirmed that we have leaf blast. They also advised to watch out for neck blast since it may affect the panicle formation of the plant.

Boron Toxicity
We are not sure if the picture below shows boron toxicity. Upon reading some materials symptoms include appearance of yellow discoloration of leaves that spread along the margins. Brown spots also appear on the leaves.  We only saw a few leaves with this condition and we assumed that it might be the effect of the newly applied fertilizer.
Not sure if this leaf exhibits boron toxicity.

Insect Pest- Stem borer

Stem borers are insects that feed on any stage of the rice crop. Drying of the central tiller during the vegetative stage is known as dead heart while stem borer damage druring the  flowering stage result into whiteheads. Whiteheads are either unfilled panicles or empty panicles.

Yes, our field was infested by stem borers. Here's the proof. :)

Oh hello! Mr. Stem borer!

Not sure if these are stem borer eggs. We found a few leaves with tiny eggs inside.

Echinochloa colona a type of weed was present on our field.

Even if all of these are present on our field, we will not fret.  I know we can handle this! We will just go with the flow. Applying more chemicals may aggravate the current situation so better leave it as it is. We know our crops are strong just like the people who planted them. Should  I cue the dramatic tune now? :)

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Harvest time for Palay All Stars!

Harvest time!

At the start of the season

Field on harvest day

What a moment of pride and satisfaction!

We used the Kubota mini combine harvester. We started with SL8, the hopefully high yielding hybrid with a mixture of jasmin and japonica characteristics.

 SL8 panicles

Halfway through the field and the grain storage of the kubota had to be emptied..

Next came the 238 variety. This lot had to suffer submergence in the beginning of the season, but  after transplanting  plants from denser areas to the gaps, the plants recovered amazingly well.

All sacks are weighed at the Experiment Station.

Now we have to wait for it to be dried to 14% moisture content, before we can mill it and start cooking it!


Thanks to the Palay All Stars Team, Experiment Station, Training Center, expert sessions!

Monday 7 April 2014

Snail Picking 101

Golden Apple Snails 

Snails are tiny little creatures that have a massive appetite for rice seedlings. Upon reading some articles they can finish a whole paddy overnight. If this is true then we should do something to prevent them from chomping on our field. We have no more seedlings that can be replanted for missing hills. :(

Preventive Measure # 1

Drain the field. Upon draining our field we saw large number of snails all over the paddy.

Semi- Drained field with Golden Apple Snail

Some Golden Apple Snails hide in burrows to prevent exposure to severe heat.

Preventive Measure # 2

We opted to use papaya leaves to attract them and divert their attention.

Placing papaya leaves at the edges of the field.

Papaya leaves scattered near the edges.
Papaya leaves all lined up.

Preventive Measure # 3

Do manual snail picking. However, only few appeared that day. Maybe they overheard we were coming to hunt them. :)

Snails devouring the papaya leaf.
A snail trapped on a papaya leaf.

Half bucket of picked snails.
Inseparable. Two snails still mating after being picked.

Preventive Measure # 4

We really wanted to stick to the principle of not spraying anything harmful on our field but there was no more choice.We opted for Bayluscide. First spraying was unsuccessful, it washed off because it rained the next day. Second attempt, still  unsuccessful  the solution was applied late in the afternoon, snails were hiding underneath the mud. Third attempt, we were contemplating if we should stop applying but the plants were just 8 days old there is still a week left for the snails to devour our seedlings. 

Ready for Molluscide application.