Farmers urged not to burn rice straw
Ric Sapnu, (The Philippine Star) - May 1, 2016 - 10:00am

SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija, Philippines – Farmers have been asked to refrain from burning rice straw or dayami as this could reduce the soil’s nutrients and make farmlands unproductive.

Evelyn Javier of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice)’s agronomy, soil and physiology division said burning rice straw produces air pollutants such as carbon dioxide and monoxide, and nitrogen and sulfur dioxides.

 “When done frequently, the practice can reduce the soil’s nitrogen and phosphorus contents by 25 percent, potassium by 20 percent and sulfur by five to 60 percent,” Javier said.

She said useful insects get killed during the burning.

She cited the Solid Waste Management Act and the Philippine Clean Air Act, which prohibit open-field burning.

To minimize post-harvest waste, rice straw can be used as organic fertilizer and material for mushroom production.

Rice straw and other biomass from farm by-products can spare farmers from buying chemical fertilizer.

Javier said rice straw that are left to rot in the field help maintain the level of the soil’s moisture and nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, silicon and carbon.

It also preserves the biodiversity of microorganisms that help in nutrient cycling and efficient fertilizer utilization.

Rice straw can be used to protect the roots of the plants from heat and cold. It reduces evaporation rate and prevent weeds from growing in the paddy.

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