FERTILITY STATUS OF SELECTED RICE SOILS IN THE PHILIPPINES

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1 Philippine Journal of Crop Science 2003, 28(2): Copyright 2005, Crop Science Society of the Philippines Released February 2005 FERTILITY STATUS OF SELECTED RICE SOILS IN THE PHILIPPINES JP DESCALSOTA, CP MAMARIL & GO SAN VALENTIN Philippine Rice Research Institute Los Banos, College, Laguna 403 Data from soil samples collected from 44 sites in the country were analyzed. The results showed that soil reaction varied from highly acidic to basic. Soil ph not only determines availability of nutrients but also excess of other substances such as sesquioxides, which are detrimental to plant growth under highly acidic soil conditions. Availability of P, for example, is minimized under both acidic and basic soil reactions. Zn deficiency is likely to occur at ph higher than 6.8. However results show that even at ph 6.0 and below there were already 45 sites where Zn was below critical level. This phenomenon can be also true with other nutrients. Only 2 sites were found to have sufficient N, P, K, Zn and S supplies, based on critical levels cited earlier. Majority of the sites (9%) were deficient in 2 or more nutrients. There were only 3 sites found to be limiting in N alone, site each limiting in P and K, and 6 sites in Zn alone. These roughly constitute 8% of the total number of sites sampled. The multiple deficiencies of the samples were higher, ie, 30% of the sites were NPZn-deficient, 24% NPKZn-deficient, and 7% NPKZnS-deficient, comprising 42% of the total number of sites studied. The data shows that the observation that only N is the most limiting nutrient in lowland rice soils is no longer valid. The showed data that 9% of the sites studied showed 2 or more nutrients being limiting. The total area covered by the soil series planted to rice is about.2 million hectares. The total area which may be potentially deficient in essential nutrients could further be enlarged with the inclusion of Aklan, the Bicol Region, Cotabato and other rice growing regions not sampled in the present study. Among the soil series, San Manuel is the most widely distributed, and this series had shown multi-nutrient deficiency. Keywords fertility status, K, N, minus-one element technique, nutrient deficiency, P, S, soil series, Zn INTRODUCTION Findings showed that until 970, growth rate in rough rice production was due to improved yield potential of rice varieties and expansion of areas cultivated for rice (Serrano et al 995). However, from 980 onward the increase in production was mainly due to increase in yield per unit area caused by the improvement of production technologies and cropping intensity. But technical efficiency rating of lowland rice farmers in the Philippines remained heavily skewed, with the vast majority of the farmers belonging to the low efficiency group (Serrano et al 995). One sad fact presented by the study was that participation in formal training programs on rice production technologies did not have significant impact on improving the managerial competence of lowland rice farmers - a prerequisite to reverse the skewness toward higher technical efficiency. The capacity to produce more with a nonexpanding land resource and the opportunity to improve the technical efficiency of farmers will depend much on a better and prior understanding of the quality and capability of the soil resource. Plant breeders have developed rice cultivars with yield potential far exceeding expectation of the prophets of doom half a century ago. Along with appropriate programs in other spheres, work continues to further increase the rice yield potential that will minimize, if not

2 eliminate, poverty in the coming millennium. Along with the effort to improve yield potential of rice genotypes is the urgent need to maintain or ameliorate the nutritional status of rice soils to ensure adequate nutrient supply for particular yield targets. The study examined available published and unpublished soil information about flooded soils in the Philippines with the purpose of determining the nutritional status of flooded soils grown to rice in some regions of the Philippines and to determine approximate areas covered by single or multi-nutrient deficiencies as well as the soil series where these deficiencies predominantly occur. MATERIALS & METHODS Soil data compiled from the research activities undertaken by the INSURF project of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) under the leadership of one of the principal investigators was examined. The data consisted of results of soil analyses of 44 sampling sites from 9 rice growing provinces in the Philippines, ie, 9 provinces in Luzon, 3 in the Visayas and province in Mindanao. The Luzon provinces were Albay, Batangas, Bulacan, Cagayan, Camarines Sur, Cavite, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Isabela, La Union, Laguna, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Sorsogon, Tarlac, and Zambales. The provinces in the Visayas were Aklan, Cebu, and Iloilo. The single study site in Mindanao was in Cotabato. Soil samples from each site had been taken from 5 depths, namely 0-20 cm; cm; cm; cm and cm. For this report, only the data from 0-20 cm depth were used in the analysis since about 70-80% of rice roots concentrate within this depth. The sample sites were mostly accessible to transport and were in farmers' fields except in some cases where there were experimental sites of INSURF (INSFFER) such as in Pototan, Iloilo and AAC site in Banga, Aklan (Table ). The main criterion in selecting the particular site was that the standing crop at the time of sampling was showing symptoms of physiological disorder. Unless specified, there was only one sampling site per municipality. RESULTS Soil parameters presented include soil ph, organic carbon, total N, exchangeable K, available P (by Olsen method), available Zn (K & method) and available S. Other soil parameters like particle size analysis, cation exchange capacity, exchangeable Ca, Mg and Na, available P (by Bray2 method) and total S were also analyzed. For convenience of interpretation these soil parameters were not included in the evaluation as well as in this report (Table ). Soil ph ranged from 3.8 in Capinang, San Dionisio, Iloilo to 7.7 in Bitas, Arayat, Pampanga. Soil organic carbon and total N were lowest in Bitas, Arayat, Pampanga and highest in Argao, Cebu. Olsen P was nil in Paoay, Ilocos Norte while it was highest in San Miguel Munti, Talavera, Nueva Ecija at 62 ppm. Both sites in Camarines Province (San Jose and Lagonoy) had nil exchangeable K content whereas that in Masiit, Sta Rosa, Laguna was highest. Twenty sites had negligible available Zn content while the Legazpi; San Manuel Tarlac had the highest at 7.6 ppm. The samples from Buayen, Bayambang, Pangasinan surpassed other sites in available S content at 705 ppm, with 4 other sites having very low sulfate sulfur content. The level of individual nutrient content from each sample was compared to the commonly accepted critical levels of different nutrients to determine single or multi-nutrient deficiencies. The soils were classified whether they had single or multi-nutrient deficiencies. The following were the individual critical levels of the different nutrients examined: Less than 2% organic carbon or 0.20% N = N- deficient Less than 0 ppm Olsen P = P-deficient Less than 0.20 me exchangeable K = K- deficient Less than.0 ppm available Zn = Zndeficient

3 Table. Locations where soil samples were taken Island/ Province Municipality Region (Number Of Samples) Luzon Albay Albay Batangas San Juan, Lemery, Cuenca, San Jose, Ibaan (2) Bulacan Cagayan Camarines Sur Cavite Ilocos Norte Ilocos Sur - Isabela La Union Laguna Nueva Vizcaya Calumpit, San Rafael (2), San Miguel, Bustos, Angat, Bocaue, Guiguinto, Plaridel, Malolos Iguig (2), Amu lug, Alcala, Gattaran, La-lo, Camalanuigan, Pefiablanca (2) Lagonoy, San Jose Carmona (2), Damarifias, Imus, General Trias Badoc, Pagudpud, Paoay, Batac, San Lorenzo Candon, Sinait, Cabugao, Sta Lucia, Sta Maria, Narvacan San Pablo, Cabagan (3), Ilagan, Mercedes, Cauayan, Santiago Bacnotan, Sto Tomas, Caba (2), Aringay Siniloan, Famy, Sta Rosa Aritao (2), Bambang (3), Solano Nueva Ecija Gapan, San Leonardo, Cabanatuan (3), Talavera, San Jose (2), Bongabon (3), Karanglan Pampanga Pangasinan Quezon Sorsogon Tarlac Zambales Magalang, Arayat (2), Sta Ana, San Luis, Lubao (2), Mina lin, San Simon, Apalit, Macabebe Bayambang, Rosales, Sta, Barbara, Binalonan, Sta Maria, Urdaneta, Umingan, Villasis, Asingan Tiaong, Candelaria (2), Sariaya, Pagbilao (2), Lucena City Sorsogon Visayas Aklan INSFFER site, Banga Cebu Iloilo San Manuel, Moncada, Paniqui, Camiling, Mayantoc, Dolores, Capas Bamban, Concepcion Lapaz, Gerona Sta Cruz (2), San Marcelino, Cabangan, Botolan, Candelaria Argao, Bari li, Carcar, Asturias Mindanao Cotabato Marbel (2), Banga (2) Jaro, Pototan (2), San Dionisio (3), Sara, Ajuy

4 Less than 0 ppm available S ( sulfate S) = S- deficient. To determine N sufficiency or N deficiency, the total N level was the main basis. However, in the absence of total N analysis, the organic carbon was used since soil organic matter (SOM) has been used as index of N fertility by other investigators. Total N and organic carbon content in soils are closely related as evidenced by constancy of the C:N ratio in most cultivated soils as reported in the literature. Cassman et al (995) observed that the carbon-nitrogen ratio in the long-term fertilizer experiments at IRRI and elsewhere has not drastically changed over time and is stable at soil depths of 0-0 cm, 0-20 cm and cm. Of the 44 study sites, only 2 sites appear to have adequate levels of the nutrients (Table 2). There were sites that were deficient of a single nutrient. The rest showed multi-nutrient deficiencies, ranging from 2 to 5 nutrients. About 90% of the sites were deficient of 2 or more nutrients. About 5% of the total sites sampled were deficient in all 5 nutrients: N, P, K, Zn and S. Only 7 sites were NPK-deficient, indicating that farmers of most of the sites were not applying the recommended N, P and K rates. This was confirmed by the findings of Phil Rice (995) whereby the farmers in those sites applied mainly urea. DISCUSSION The lowland rice soils in the Philippines have been in cultivation for quite sometime. Since 80% of the population depend on rice as their staple food, maintaining or even improving the fertility status of these soils is important to sustain productivity. Most of the present rice areas have been in cultivation for at least ten years. Crop and soil management practices by our farmers over the years could have brought about certain changes in the soil. Observation at IRRI (972) showed that with adequate N supply, the response of rice to P or K or both is marginal in some areas with a -crop-a-year rice culture, but the response to these elements may become marked under intensive rice culture (2 or more crops a year) over a long period. When rice yields decline with N application alone, it is imperative to determine the status of P, K and other nutrients in the soil. On the other hand, frequent application of P can build up the P reserve in the soil. When K deficiency is observed especially in light-textured soils, regular application of K containing fertilizers should be practiced because this element is readily leached. The situation is aggravated when rice straw is completely removed from the field. Soil reaction varied from highly acidic to basic. Soil ph not only determines availability of nutrients, but excess of other substances like sesquioxides that are detrimental to plant growth under highly acidic soil conditions. Availability of P, for example, is minimized under both acidic and basic soil reactions. Zn deficiency is likely to occur at ph higher than 6.8 (Lantin et al 986). However results show that even at ph 6.0 and below there were already 45 sites where Zn was below critical level. This phenomenon can be also true with other nutrients. Of the 44 sites, only 2 sites were found to have sufficient N, P, K, Zn and S supplies, based on critical levels cited earlier. Majority of the sites (9%) were deficient in 2 or more nutrients. The soil fertility problem becomes more complex over time especially under intensive cropping. There were only 3 sites found to be limiting in N alone, site each limiting in P and K, and 6 sites in Zn alone. These roughly constitute 8% of the total number of sites sampled. The multiple deficiencies of the samples were higher, ie, 30% of the sites were NPZn-deficient, 24% NPKZn-deficient, and 7% NPKZnSdeficient, comprising 42% of the total number of sites studied. The data shows that the observation that only N is the most limiting nutrient in lowland rice soils (De Datta et al 988) is no longer valid. Since the data reported here was obtained through soil analysis, there is no reason to doubt its accuracy.

5 Table 2. Soil Analysis data from each sampling site Province ph Organic Total N CN Exch K Olsen P Avail Zn Avail S Deficiency C (%) (%) Ratio (me) (ppm) (ppm) (ppm) Aldan NZnS NP nil ZnS nil NPS N NS Zn NPZnS Bicol Sufficient nil 4.0 nil 50 KPZn nil 2.0 nil 3 NKPZn NPZn Bulacan NPZn NPK NPK NPK NPK NPK NPZn NPZn NPKZn NPKZn Cagayan PZn NKZnS nil 2 NPKZnS PZnS NPKS PZn PZn nil NZnS nil NZnS Cavite NPZn NPZnS NZn NPZn NPZn

6 Table 2. Soil Analysis data from each sampling site (continued) Province ph Organi Total N CN Exch K Olsen P Avail Zn Avail S Deficiency c C (%) (%) Ratio (me) (ppm) (ppm) (ppm) Cebu nil 240 PKZn nil 32 NPZn nil 300 PZn nil 36 PKZn Cotabato N NZn NZn NPZn llocos N nil 6 NPZnS nil 38 NZn PZn nil nil 24 NPKZn nil 50 NPZn nil 2 NPZn Ilocos Sur nil 24 NPZn nil 4 NPZn NZn NPKZn nil 28 NPZn nil 28 NPZn Iloilo nil 2 NPKZn NPZn NPZn NPS NPKZn NPKS NPK NPZn Isabela nil PZnS nil NZnS NPKS nil NPKZnS PK P NPKZn PKZn

7 Table 2. Soil Analysis data from each sampling site (continued) Province ph Organi c C (%) Total N (%) CN Ratio Exch K (me) Olsen P (ppm) Avail Zn (ppm) Avail S (ppm) Deficiency La Union NPKZnS NPKZn NPZn NPZn nil nil NPZnS Laguna N PK PK Zn N. Vizcaya nil PKZnS nil NPKS PKZn PZn Zn KZn Nueva PZn Ecija PZn PZn PKZnS Zn NPKZn NPKZn N NPKS PZn PKZn PKZn Pampanga NPK NKZnS NZn NPZn NPZn PZn NZn NPZn NPKZn NPZn NPZn

8 Table 2. Soil Analysis data from each sampling site (continued) Province ph Organi Total N CN Exch K Olsen P Avail Zn Avail S Deficiency c C (%) (%) Ratio (me) (ppm) (ppm) (ppm) Pangasinan NZn NPZn NPKZn NK nil NPKZnS NPZn NPKZn NPZn NPZn Quezon Zn Zn PZn K PZn NPZn NPKZn Tarlac nil NS nil NPKZnS nil NPZnS NPZnS NPKZn NPKZn NPKZnS NS NPKZn NPKZn NPZn NZnS Zambales NPKZn NPKZn NPKZn NPKZnS nil 26 NPKZn NPKZn

9 The main reason is that average fertilizer utilization of Filipino farmers never exceeded 60 kg N/ha with minimum P and K or none at all (Phil Rice 995). Furthermore, the application of N, P, K only promotes the mining of the other essential nutrients in the soil. This exhaustive practice leads to the depletion of the essential nutrients in the soil in disproportionate manner. As a result, multi-nutrient deficiencies inevitably takes place. This is confirmed by the data that 9% of the sites studied showed 2 or more nutrients being limiting. Unless the soil and crop management practices of the farmers in the sites examined were improved, their production will likely decline or at most remain constant. Source of nutrients besides fertilizers may come mainly from the soil during mineralization of SOM and the weathering of minerals as well as from exogenous sources like irrigation water and from the atmosphere through rainfall. Even the wellmanaged long-term fertilizer experiments under intensive cropping at IRRI have shown the declining yield phenomenon (Flinn et al 982, Flinn & De Datta 984, Cassman et al 995). This suggests that the right amount and proportion of all the essential nutrients both applied and native in the soil should be determined properly to reverse the declining yields, which are caused by the imbalances in the nutrient supply. When a nutrient or nutrients become limiting, such nutrients should be applied or supplied. Very often, however, the appropriate source for such limiting nutrient is not available in the market. A case in point is that one raised by a farmer who claimed that the technoguide recommends the application of certain nutrient source such as zinc sulfate to supply Zn to the crop and yet such material is not available in outlets of chemical fertilizers. The other issue is the inability of the farmer to determine the nutrient supplying capacity of his soil due to inaccessibility of soil testing facilities. Cassman et al (996) emphasized the importance of understanding the role of indigenous supplying capacity of the soil for N. The concept can be broadened to cover the indigenous supplying capacity of the soil for all essential nutrients. It is only then that balanced fertilization strategy can be formulated effectively. Perhaps there is also a need to reassess the critical values set in determining sufficiency or deficiency of plant nutrients. Tandon (988) noted that there were soils in India that were responsive to P fertilization even though the P level in the soil by Olsen P method was way above the normally accepted 0 ppm. Mamaril et al (998), using the minus-one-element technique (MOET) in the identification of nutrient deficiencies, observed that in addition to N, S became limiting at the later vegetative stage of the rice crop and yet the laboratory chemical analyses showed that the soil contained 25 ppm sulfate sulfur. This observation was obtained from the soil taken from Tipas, San Juan, Batangas site. The sites sampled represent areas of major soil series planted to rice (Table 3). Assuming that the nutrient status of these sites represents approximately the nutrient status of all the areas covered by the different soil series in the province sampled, then it means that the multinutrient deficiency is quite extensive. The total area covered by the soil series planted to rice is about.2 million hectares. The total area which may be potentially deficient in essential nutrients could further be enlarged with the inclusion of Aklan, the Bicol region, Cotabato and other rice growing regions not sampled in the present study. Among the soil series, San Manuel is the most widely distributed, and this series had shown multi-nutrient deficiency. Table 4 lists the locations where the soil samples were taken. Returning to these sites to determine if changes have taken place as caused by the soil and fertilizer management practices employed by the farmers during the interim period should be quite interesting and meaningful. Furthermore, the management practices that the farmers employed and the yields they obtained should be gathered and recorded and related these to the changes in soil properties if any.

10 Table 3. Level of sufficiency/deficiencies and the number of sites with particular deficiency levels based on soil analysis Number of nutrients Sufficient One Nutrient Two Nutrients Three Nutrients Four Nutrients Five Nutrients Deficiency N P K Zn NK NZn NS PK PZn KZn ZnS NPK NPZn NPS NZnS PKZn PKS PZnS NPKS NPKZn NPZnS PKZnS NKZnS NPKZnS Number of Sites CONCLUSIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS Multi-nutrient deficiencies. There are a growing number of rice areas that are becoming multi-nutrient deficient. Unless the deficiencies are ameliorated, grain yield responses to fertilizer nutrients applied will remain marginal. Rice self sufficiency for the country is a possible dream only if the productive capacity of the soil resource is well understood and an appropriate nutrient management strategy is formulated. Characterization of fields. There is a strong possibility that the farmers' fields sampled had not been characterized. The various combinations of nutrient deficiencies observed could be inherent in the soil due to a variety of factors. Additionally, continuous application of any combination of nutrients especially at high rates will enhance the mining of the other nutrients in soils. Confidence of farmers. Confidence of the farmers must be built up for them to rely on proven technical procedures in assessing or characterizing their farms. Development of

11 simplified techniques in nutrient assessment that would arouse farmers' interest should be encouraged. Precision nutrient management will not succeed unless the nutritional problem of farmers' fields is fully understood and analyzed. Further studies. Similar studies should be undertaken to cover the rest of the rice growing regions in the Philippines with the participation of all appropriate government agencies including the LGUs. Results should be appropriately processed and recommendations disseminated immediately to the farmers. LITERATURE CITED Cassman KG, SK De Datta, DC O&, JM Alcantara, MI Samson, JP Descalsota and MA Dizon Yield Decline And Nitrogen Economy Of Long-Term Experiments In Continuous, Irrigated Rice Systems In The Tropics. In Soil Management: Experimental Basis For Sustainability And Environmental Quality, R Lal & BA Stewart (ed), pp Lewis/CRC Publishers, Boca Raton FL, USA Cassman KG, A Dobermann, PC Sta Cruz, GC Gines, MI Samson, JP Descalsota, JM Alcantara, MA Dizon & DC Olk Soil organic matter and the indigenous nitrogen supply of intensive irrigated rice systems in the tropics. Plant and Soil 82: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Netherlands Cassman KG & RR Harwood The Nature of Agricultural Systems: Food Security and Environmental Balance. Food Policy, Vol 20, No 5, pp Elsevier Science Ltd. Great Britain De Datta SK, KA Gomez & JP Descalsota Changes in Yield Response to Major Nutrients and in Soil Fertility Under Intensive Rice Cropping. Soil Science 46: Flinn JC & SK De Datta Trends in Irrigated Rice yields under intensive cropping at Philippine research stations. Field Crops Research 9:-5 Flinn JC, SK De Datta & E Labadan An Analysis of Long Term Rice Yields in a Wetland Soil. Field Crops Research 5:20-26 International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Annual Report for 972. Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines Lantin RS, MR Orticio, CC Quijano, RY Reyes, JL Solivas & HU Neue Soil Problems in the Philippines: Their recognition, delineation and management. Paper presented at the 2nd Annual Meeting of the Federation of Crop Science Societies in the Philippines. Benguet State University. La Trinidad, Benguet. April 30-May Mamaril CP, GO San Valentin, JP Descalsota & MB Malibago. Formulating location specific fertilizer management scheme for rice soils in the Philippines. A poster presented during the 3th Rice R&D Meeting. Maligaya, Munoz, Nueva Ecija. March Phil Rice Regional Rice Statistics. 202 pp Serrano SR, SR Francisco, CB Casiwan, RG Gacillos & GO Redondo Technical efficiency of lowland rice farming in the Philippines. Phil Rice Technical Bulletin (): Serrano SR, CB Casiwan, GA Abrigo, GO Redondo and RG Gacillos Status and Prospects of Lowland Rice Farming in the Philippines. Phil Rice Technical Bulletin (): Tandon Phosphorus Research and Crop Production in India

12 Table 4. Identified nutrient deficiency on soil series of the provinces where soil samples were taken and analyzed Province Deficiency Soil Series Area planted to rice (ha) Bulacan NPK, NPKZn NPZn, Bigaa, Buenavista, Quingua 59,340 Cagayan NPKS, NPZn, NPZnS Quingua, Carig, San 90,587 Fernando, Sta. Rita, Toran Cavite NPZn, NPZnS Carmona, Guadalupe 32,432 Cebu NPKZn Lugo 98,32 Ilocos Norte NPKZn, NPZn, NPZnS Bantay, Bantog, San 63,0 Fernando, San Manuel Ilocos Sur NPZn Bantog 7,029 Iloilo NPK, NPKZn, NPKS, NPZn Sara, Sta. Rita 72,64 Isabela NPK, NPKZnS, NPKZn, NPKS, NPZnS Cauayan, San Manuel 28,90 Laguna NPK Bay,477 La Union NPKZnS, NPZnS, NPZn Maligaya, San Manuel 7,850 Nueva Ecija NPKZnS, NPKZn, NPKS, NPZn Umingan, Bantog, Quingua, Annam 00,985 Pampanga NPKZn, NKZnS, NPK, NPZn Angeles, Quingua, San 00,56 Fernando Pangasinan NPKZnS, NPKZn, NPZn Annam, San Manuel 49,80 Quezon NPKZn, NPZn Guadalupe, Quingua 7,803 Tarlac NPKZnS, NPKZn, NPZnS, NPZn Luisita, San Manuel, Tarlac Zambales NPKZnS, NPKZn Angeles, Bangkal, Bani, Cabangan, Lapaz 28,870 75,97

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