PalayCheck System for the Philippine Irrigated Lowland Rice
PalayCheck is a dynamic rice crop management system that:
- Presents the best key technology and management practices as Key Checks;
- Compares farmer practices with the best practices; and
- Learns through farmers´ discussion group to sustain improvement in productivity, profitability, and environment safety.
- Principle 1. Holistic, Integrated Crop Management – Management practices & result areas under the different crop management areas are interdependent & interrelated. They have a combined impact on yield, grain quality, & environmental outcome.
- Principle 2. Input-Output-Outcome – The INPUTS (practices) must achieve the optimum level of OUTPUTS (results of practices) at all growth stages & management areas to get the optimum OUTCOMES (combined effects of outputson yield, quality, profitability, & environment).
PalayCheck gives simple, objective recommendations for both INPUTS & OUTPUTS. These recommendations may be revised based on new findings & experiences.
- Principle 3. Key checks and assessment of key checks – KEY CHECKS are the KEY OUTPUTS (or results) — the most important determinants of yield, profit, grain quality, & environmental outcomes
- Principle 4. Experiential group learning – Farmers must first identify their strengths (practices contributing to improving outcomes)& weaknesses (practices limiting level of outcomes) in crop management before these can be changed.
- This is best attained through EXPERIENTIAL GROUP LEARNING, with assistance from facilitative & technically-competent resource persons.
EXPERIENTIAL (or discovery-based) GROUP LEARNING promotes collaborative learning among farmers & between resource persons & farmers, making learning less intimidating. Learning is hands-on, shared, & guided.
Seed and fertilizer inputs may be provided to ensure that the recommended practices are followed. The demo field will be the basis for evaluating the strength and weaknesses of the farmers’ management and discussing as well as learning the necessary adjustments to improve yield and profit. The neighboring members of the group (farmer-cooperators) have the option to adopt or not to adopt PalayCheck recommendations.
The participants for PalayCheck are a group of 15-25 farmers belonging to a community or neighborhood. The group will meet before, during, and after the cropping season to review the management practices, pest incidence, growth and yield results, and weather condi-tions; compare the PalayCheck demo field with the farmer-cooperators’ fields; discuss reasons for achieving or not achieving the Key Checks based on their knowledge and experience, plan for the next meeting’s activities; and record the activities and results of the demo field and the farmer-cooperators’ fields.
The management practices, achievement or non-achievement of Key Checks, and yield results will be evaluated per site. The evaluation will be presented during the last meeting (after harvest) wherein there is an ultimate analysis and interpretation of the achievement of Key Checks and the yield results of each farmer-cooperator and PalayCheck farmer-partner.
Though the PalayCheck System helps farmers achieve high yield through proper crop management, it is essential that the learning process be highlighted. The learning process takes place before, during, and after each planting season. Farmers can compare their actual performance and management with the expected outputs (yield, quality, and environmental outcomes) as indicated by the achieved Key Checks. Due to limited resources, there are instances when farmer-cooperators do not embrace all the PalayCheck recommendations. Successes, problems, and failures can be identified and therefore, improvements in the next season can be made.
PalayCheck uses the following strategies:
- Packaging key technologies as Key Checks
- Working with groups of farmers to identify rice-farming problems, demonstrate the Key Checks, and help farmers learn PalayCheck by comparing the practices, management, and yield/quality as well as profit with those of other farmers&rsquo fields
- Teaching farmers how to evaluate their current practices, and improve the management of their fields using the developed Key Checks
- Monitoring and recording management inputs and achievement of Key Checks per growth stage
- Helping farmers assess the Key Checks and identify the reasons for achieving or not achieving the Key Check(s)