Cagayan Valley Soil Fertility Maps unveiled at the 1st Regional Soil Health Summit

TUGUEGARAO CITY, CAGAYAN - The DA-Cagayan Valley launched the Digital Soil Fertility Map, an innovative tool designed to provide farmers and local government units with easy access to crucial soil fertilizer recommendations, during the First Regional Soil Health Summit cum Second Cagayan Valley Regional Research for Development and Extension Network Technology Forum on 20 July 2023. 

With the theme Scaling Digital Agriculture, Climate Change, and Soil Health related R4D Innovations towards Science-based and Market-oriented Farmer Cooperatives and Associations (FCAs) in Cagayan Valley, the event showcased the region’s strides in adopting advanced technologies to enhance soil health and agricultural productivity.

Developed by the region's researchers, the map allows farmers to make informed decisions about the right amount, type, and timing of fertilizer application with just a touch on their gadgets. The development of the soil fertility map began in 2016, initially covering the rice model cluster and corn areas in Cagayan Valley. Through continuous updates, the map now encompasses 130 soil fertility maps for rice, corn, and high-value crops, benefiting 74 municipalities and 27 FCAs. To further support the promotion of the Balanced Fertilization Strategy (BFS), the maps are being uploaded to the DA website for easy accessibility.

The power of soil analysis

The soil fertility maps are not merely products of research but have proven instrumental in improving agricultural practices. In a research study conducted on enhancing the field application of the BFS on rice and corn in cluster farms under various ecosystems in the region, remarkable results were achieved. By utilizing the soil analysis results from the fertility maps, farmers witnessed significant increase in yields compared to their traditional practices. Rice yields rose to about 6.32 metric tons per hectare (MT/ha), while corn yields reached 10.06MT/ha, compared to the farmer’s practice yield of 5.50MT/ha and 8.68MT/ha for rice and corn, demonstrating the tangible benefits of precision agriculture.

During the summit, farmers who have embraced these technologies shared their success stories. Cagayan Seed Producer - Multi-Purpose Cooperative manager Dumon M. Maborang, Bright Green Agriculture Corporation president Ricky M. Magbunga, and Baru A Langa ti Mannalon Irrigators Association president Reymel Linda, attested to the efficacy of the technologies introduced by DA-Cagayan Valley. Utilizing Compost Fungus Activator, Bio-N, Soil Fertility Maps, and adopting Balanced Fertilization Strategy, these farmers reported increased income and improved crop yields compared to their previous practices.

A call to action for soil health

DA-Cagayan Valley regional executive director Narciso A. Edillo shed light on the current state of soil health in the region. While acknowledging the available technologies to safeguard soil health, he emphasized the urgent need for action.

“The problem is our character. We cannot afford to lose soil. We have to take action now,” urged director Edillo.

With the successful implementation of soil fertility mapping and other advanced technologies, Cagayan Valley is poised to lead the way in sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation. By harnessing science-based innovations and embracing the potential of digital agriculture, the region is paving the way for a greener and more prosperous future for farmers and the environment alike.

As the First Regional Soil Health Summit concluded, the message was clear — the key to a sustainable and resilient agricultural sector lies beneath our feet, and with the right tools, knowledge, and determination, Cagayan Valley is poised to unlock its full potential. (###Fevie Rica A. Ancheta, DA-Cagayan Valley)