Variety and Seed Selection
KEY CHECK 1:
Used high quality seeds
of a recommended variety.
- High quality seeds have fewer seeds from weeds and other varieties;
- uniform in size;
- free from seed-borne pests and diseases; and
- viable (i.e. at least 85% germination rate).
All this can contribute to a 5-10% increase in grain yield. Yield increase is guaranteed further by using high quality seeds of a variety adapted and recommended to local conditions.
The variety suits the environment (e.g, irrigated, rainfed, saline-prone as recommended by PhilRice or local agriculture office); addresses a prevailing local field problem (e.g. resistance or tolerance to stresses in the); or has performed well in at least two seasons of adaptability trial (results of multi-adaptation trials in the province or Location-Specific Technology Development or LSTD trials may be used).
If there are no accredited seed growers in the locality, then source seeds from reliable sources (i.e. farmers whose fields have uniform crop growth) or produce your own high quality seeds (see handouts on Ten Steps to Producing Own Good Seeds). However, make sure to perform a seed germination test to ensure quality. There should be at least 85% germination.
If the variety has not yet been tested in the area, make initial selection based on recommended environment and cropping season. Then, conduct at least two seasons of trial in the locality.
In wet season, consider the prevalent pests in the area and the shattering and lodging characteristics of a variety. In dry season, consider planting hybrid varieties because these varieties tend to perform better during dry season.
In rainfed areas, farmers tend to use varieties for irrigated lowland areas owing probably to lack of access to rainfed varieties. It is recommended to first choose varieties intended for rainfed environment. Consider also traditional or regionally preferred varieties for rainfed environment as these have been most likely adapted in the locality.
Farmers also often prefer new varieties, believing that they yield better. However, a variety may be released based on reasons other than yield (e.g. better grain quality and resistance to pests). Thus, it is important to know the characteristics of the varieties but, more importantly, to conduct adaptability trials.