By Freddie G. Lazaro, PIA 1, Ilocos Norte
LAOAG CITY – Ilocos Norte farmers were asked to consider traditional practices in keeping their crops from drying up during the summer season.
Provincial Agriculturist Norma Lagmay said the farmers should apply age-old farm practices such as mulching technology to maintain soil wetness and watering crops early morning or late in the afternoon.
“(In mulching), we use organic matters like dried leaves, rice straw or peat that place around the growing plants as protective covering to prevent the evaporation of moisture, the freezing of roots and the growth of weeds,” she explained.
She said water early in the morning or late in afternoon lessens the evaporation of soil moisture in the fields.
“Early morning or late afternoon is the best period to water or irrigate our crops because the sunlight is very low while the crops have greater moisture absorption and lesser evaporation,” she added.
Lagmay issued the advisory to the farmers as the province had been experiencing hot weather in the first week of April.
Meanwhile, the Region 1 office of the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported an estimated P15 million in damaged rice crop in the Ilocos provinces due to the dry spell starting January.
Among the reported hardly hit areas by the dry spell in Ilocos Norte were the towns of Piddig and Banna.
In the first quarter of the year, the DA reported at least 89 hectares of rice plantations were totally destroyed by dry spell in the provinces of Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte.
In addition, the DA also posted in the region at least 4,171 hac of rice plantations that were partially damaged by drought namely Pangasinan – 3,389 hac.; Ilocos Norte – 513 hac.; La Union – 176 hac.; and Ilocos Sur – 94 hac.
To save the partially damaged rice plantation in the Ilocos, the DA mulled to distribute more water pumps for immediate irrigation.#