DOST introduces modified rice harvester tech
- Ehda Dagooc () - June 8, 2011 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has announced the introduction of modified rice harvester approach in the Philippines, taking the expertise from an effective Chinese technology.

The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) research team in cooperation with the Briggs and Stratton (B&S), a private company supplying farm engines in the Philippines, modified the original design of rice combine harvester from China to fit the local farm condition in the country.

According to DOST, China’s design has reaping, crop conveying, and threshing components only.

In a report submitted to the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), PhilRice and B&S improved the machine’s efficiency by incorporating cleaning, bagging, and recycling components.

Technical evaluation on its performance, which was conducted by the Agricultural Machinery Testing and Evaluation Center of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (AMTEC-UPLB), indicates that the machine performed well with 0.194 hectare per hour field capacity, 86.6 percent field efficiency, 90.3 percent purity of threshed grains, total grain loss of only 1.68 percent, and fuel consumption of 3.68 liters per hour.

AMTEC-UPLB test results are comparable with the data gathered from the endurance tests conducted in Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Tarlac, Pangasinan, and Cagayan, involving farmer-cooperators.

Economic analysis on the use of machine for custom hiring to service farms of organized farmer groups shows that at harvesting cost of P5,442 per hectare, the capital investment of P350,000 can be recovered in 1.7 years or from a harvesting area of 87.3 hectares to break-even.

For individual farmer’s use and ownership, economic viability is high at benefit-cost ratio of 1.36 with a break-even land area of 48 hectares and a payback period of less than one year. Additional income can be realized from the recovered harvesting losses of 5 percent, which is better compared with unrecovered manual harvesting losses of more than 6 percent.

Incidentally, the AMTEC-UPLB research team is composed of Dr. Eulito U. Bautista, Engr. Arnold S. Juliano, Engr. Evangeline B. Sibayan, Dr. Caesar Joventino M. Tado, Mr. Leo B. Moliñawe, Engr. Rolando R. Nicolas, Mr., Rollie L. Carganilla, and Mr. Rodrigo A. Villota. 

Meanwhile, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is hoping that the Philippines may soon follow China as the next Asian country to approve widespread planting of genetically modified rice (GMO) crops possibly as early as this year, while the Department of Agriculture (DA) is making efforts to block its implementation.

DA secretary Proceso Alcala earlier said that as long as there is no guarantee that it will be safe the Philippine government will not allow a testing or even implementation of GMO rice production.

Alcala said that his office will be checking out if the IRRI still continuing its study on the possibility of introducing the GMO rice production in the Philippines.

“Why do we pursue in producing GMO rice, where can produce affordable and healthy crops,” Alcala said referring to the rich agricultural land in the Philippines which can ably produce health-friendly crops without injecting sophisticated technology that also pose health safety of the consumers.

AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY TESTING AND EVALUATION CENTER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES LOS BA ALCALA ARNOLD S BRIGGS AND STRATTON DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DR. CAESAR JOVENTINO M DR. EULITO U EVANGELINE B FORESTRY AND NATURAL RESOURCES RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT RICE
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