Leave cut rice straw in the field, PhilRice says
The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) said rice straw are better left scattered in the field as fertilizer instead of burned as is the normal practice after harvest.
Evelyn Javier, supervising science research specialist of Agronomy, Soil, and Plant Physiology Division (ASPPD) of PhilRice, said burning rice straws contributes carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and sulphur dioxide in the air.
She said the practice also decreases soil nutrients, damages the food of beneficial insects in the rice field, and violates the prohibitions in the Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003) and Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999 against open-field burning, including burning of rice straws.
The Philippines produces 11.3 million tons of rice straw every year.
Javier said using rice straw as fertilizer during land preparation saves chemical fertilizer expenses and maintains the soil’s moisture and nutrients.
She said every five tons of rice straws can increase soil’s nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, silicon, and carbon.
She added that the rice straw preserves the biodiversity of microorganisms that helps in nutrient cycling and efficient fertilizer utilization.
Rice straws can be used as mulch to protect the roots of the plants from heat and cold, and prevent weeds in the field.
Rice straws can also serve as primary material for mushroom production, and later on as material for vermicomposting.