Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Presentation at WASWAC Seminar at BSWM, DA

Yesterday, some officers of the World Association for Soil and Water Conservation (WASWAC) and soil scientists and engineers from Thailand, led by Dr. Samran Sombatpanit, Past President, and Dr. Li Rui (China(, Current President, of WASWAC, participated in a seminar organized by the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), DA, in Quezon City. The group of Thai and Chinese scientists came from Aklan and attended the annual meeting of the Philippine soil scientists.

Weeks before that, I was asked by Doc Samran, a good friend for nearly a decade now, if I can present our experience at terraces construction in the said seminar, which I quickly agreed.

There were four paper presenters supposedly yesterday, but the Filipina speaker who was supposed to present a paper on vetiver grass for erosion control did not come. So only me, Dr. Alibuyog, an agricultural engineer from Mariano Marcos University in Ilocos Norte, and a Thai scientist, made presentations.

BSWM Director, Dr. Silvino Q. Tejada, along with almost all division chiefs and directors of the Bureau, were there.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Conserving Organic Materials

Every year, mahogany trees change all of their leaves around February-March, and grow a new batch of leaves. by March-April  Other tree species also exhibit this annual process, at different period or months. So the volume of fallen leaves, dried branches, especially if the trees are already big, is huge, like below. All photos below as of yesterday, when I visited the farm over the weekend.

After collecting the dried leaves and other organic materials. Oh, the langka/jackfruit, I forgot to bring it home to Manila. It's one of the minor products of the farm. Ok, so where did we put this huge volume of organic materials?

Here, impounded by stones gathered from a nearby creek. The newly collected materials just topped off the old layers of dried organic materials.

If you remove the top layer of the dried leaves, below it are decomposed materials that became rich top soil. Trees develop new small but elaborate roots on its lower trunk, above the original soil level, to get rich minerals from their new topsoil.

Other views or angles of the collected materials.

We are just lucky to be near a creek where many big stones can be gathered, manually.

Nong Endring Paragas, our farm caretaker for many years. He is holding a stick approximately 1 meter long. This side is 5 meters long. The average height of the collected materials is about 0.5 meter high. And the width, around 2.5 meters.

So estimated volume of organic materials collected in this part of the farm is:

Volume = Length x Width x Height = 5 x 2.5 x 0.5 meters = 6.25 cubic meters,
advanced staged of decomposed materials. If these leaves were collected earlier, the volume should be double or more.

Two young boys that I hired to help collect the organic materials, Romeo and Nonong, locals or barrio folks.

These and other photos I will present in a special meeting of officers of the World Association for Soil and Water Conservation (WASWAC) this coming May 12, at the Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM), Department of Agriculture, Quezon City. Dr. Samran Sombatpanit, Past President of WASWAC, also a long time friend, invited me to be one of the presenters that day. Audience will be Chinese and Thai soil scientists and engineers, plus some staff and officials of the BSWM.

See also:
Stone terraces, Part 4, April 10, 2011
Stone terraces, Part 5, May 02, 2013
Stone Terraces, Part 6, February 23, 2014
Stone Terraces, Part 7, March 30, 2014

Maya Bird as Rice Pest

Maya bird or Eurasian tree sparrow is the most common bird to see in the Philippines, both in urban and rural areas. It is also common in many other East Asian countries. A few decades ago, it was the "national bird" in the country, until it was replaced by the Philippine eagle, or the monkey-eating eagle, possibly the biggest eagle specie worldwide.

Maya is considered a pest by many rice farmers. They eat the young and immature rice, or suck fuids in them. Here's a rice straw felled by birds. Notice the lower portion of the straw on the right, near empty, some rice fall on the ground.

The birds are small but they come on a big group, at least 10 or 20, and more. So when they land on these young rice straws, the latter can lean, if not fall to the ground, like they were blown by a strong wind.

The rice field in front of our treehouse in the farm. Photos taken yesterday, except the first photo, taken from the web.

Compared to rats though, maya are second or third serious pests; the other serious pests are the kuhol which mature as helix pomatia, grasshoppers, or even wild ducks. It depends on the season. The rats attack day and night and they can hardly be seen, while the maya attack only at day time, and one can see them. But they just hop and hide from the trees, and swoop on the ricefields.

The most common solution to maya attack is having a wooden statue with dress that looks like a person in the middle of the rice field, or a long string/small rope with cans or other noisy things tied in the middle. When the rope or string is pulled, it creates noise and scares the maya.

See also:
Vegetable Plots in the Farm, April 17, 2011 
Rice Farms, July 11, 2012 
Rice Terraces, Cool Crops, from Agrarian World, August 02, 2013
Water Impounding and Irrigation, December 05, 2013