Organic Farming is Easy and Economic
By using endophytic bacterias, rice crops will be healthier and have higher productivity.
Roman Abdurrahman uses bactoPLUS, in the seeding of local rice varieties such as Merah Wango, Omyok, Hawara Batu, Rogol, Peuteuy, and Pare Hideung. This Estate Manager of Gasol Organic Agriculture in Gasol village, Cugenang, Cianjur, West Java, utilizes agroprobiotics of rice series manufactured by PT Prima Agro Tech, to obtain good seeding result.
Compared with non bactoPLUS applied-plants, he argued that the one that received treatment will have better results. "From this seed, it looks good," he said. With the ease of application and effectiveness of bactoPLUS, he even plans to try it to other varieties, both local and genjah which is widely used in his company, such as Aek Sibundong, Omyok, Peuteuy, Hawara Batu, and so on.
BactoPLUS, in effervescent tablet form, contains endophytic nitrogen fixing-bacteria (Klebsiella sp., Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus endophiticus, Acinetobacter sp., Azospirillum brasilense and Azotobacter chroococcum) and phosphate solvent (such as Pseudomonas sp.). Endophytic bacteria are bacterias that lives in root tissue, stems, and rice leaves, acts as a probiotic that can improve the plant health.
Picture of SRI Organic Rice on land owned by Mr. Usman, Cianjur
"For us who are engaged in organic farming, this (probiotics) can serve as immunization. I view it that way, "said H. Suparman Usman, Chairman of Nyi Sri Organic Agriculture Association (GPO) in the Bojongherang Subdistrict, Cianjur, West Java, who uses the probiotic as well. A difficulty in organic farming, said Usman, was to control the plant pests (OPT). When the rice crop is healthy in the early phases, we can expect that they will more resistant to pests and diseases attacks when they are older.
Probiotics, according to Dr. Ir. Wiwik Widayati Eko, MS, is a term for living microorganisms that can affect the health of its host (in this case is rice plant). According to this doctor in microbiology of UGM, the advantage of endophytic bacteria probiotic is its below normal count (10^3-10^4 cfu/gr) and specific to interact with these plants. These good bacteria fill the spaces between the cells so that the bad bacteria could not enter and plants become healthier.
On organic rice farming, according to Usman, the most troublesome disease for farmers are tungro and kresek or BLB (Bacterial Leaf Blight). The difference is, in organic farming, if a family of plants is attacked by tungro, at most it will affect only four family members that got affected. However, in non-organic farming, the advocate of KTNA (Kelompok Kontak Tani Nelayan Andalan) in Cianjur said that, if exposed to one family, all members can be affected. "For BLB, this product (bactoPLUS) can handle it," said Gunawan Sutio, Marketing Director of PT Prima Agro Tech, while talking with Usman at Cianjur.
The application of bactoPLUS is easy. One tablet can be used for two kilograms of seed. If one hectareuses 20 kg of seeds, it would require 10 tablets of bactoPLUS or equal to Rp50.000,-.
At first, the tablet is soaked in sufficient water. Soak the rice seeds into the solution for two days. Then, according to Roman, it was drained for two days. Subsequently, the seed was sown in the rice field. For the Merah Wangi rice varieties, its seeding period is about 40 days. Approximately 4.5 months after the transplanting, the rice could be harvested. "The age is about 6-months," said Roman.
Contradictive to Roman, Arif Ahmad Rifai, the rice plant farmers in Kp. Sukadana, Sukajaya village, Bojongpicung district, Cianjur, West Java, are using a variety of Aek Sibundong with System of Rice Intensification (SRI) planting. The seeding was conducted in the tray for 10 days. Then the planting one-seed-one-hole with 25 cm x 25 cm spacing was performed. "By using this product (bactoPLUS), at the age of five days after transplanting, there were tillers. In fact, usually there is only new tillers at 12-16 days after transplanting,”
As a comparison, the Chairman of Gapoktan P3A Mitra Cai Mukti, who has 12 hectares of its own land (when combined with the group, it is about 111 acres) asked his father, Asep Zainal Abidin, not to use bactoPlus. However, the resultsare different. Rice planted by Arif grows much faster than the one planted by his father. "It is apparent from the growth, rice planted with bactoPlus treatment, have rapid growth. At the age of 10 days after transplanting, its height has reached 18 cm, "Arif explained proudly.
According to Henny Ikawatiningrum, Marketing Staff of PT Prima Agro Tech, in addition to the treatment of seeds, there were also another treatment when muchtillers have been formed. Usually for rice flowering at 30 days after transplanting (DAT), while the rice harvested at 6 months age, there were many tillers after 45 DAT. The application: two tablets dissolved in 15-20 liters of water (about the size of the spray tank volume). Requirement per hectare is about 16 spray tanks or equivalent Rp160.000.-. Spraying is conducted on the leaves so that endophytic bacteria can enter through the stomata. After that, the tillers will be healthier.
Basically, most farmers want simple. In the case of organic farming, the land is still being fertilized with manure, straw, husks, rabbit urine and so on. Having leveled for 15-20 days, the planting can then be started. To overcome pests and diseases problem, some use berenuk or maja, tobacco leaves, and so on. "We use all materials around us," said Usman. Hopefully, Arif said, with treatment of bactoPLUS, rice productivity could increase 20% - 40%. During this time, productivity of organic rice from local varieties is about 7.6 tonnes of harvested dry grain per hectare.
In Need of technology
Indeed, organic farming must be open for new technologies to be introduced like bactoPLUS, one of biofertilizers. "If there are no biological fertilizers, artificial chemical fertilizers become useless," said Roman, who himself owns 8.5 hectares of land. Plants will have difficulty in absorbing chemical fertilizer, which is also a source of nutrients. Roman himself, until today has not used artificial chemical fertilizers.
"Old pattern (of organic farming) may neglect new farming technologies. In fact, not all technology is bad, as long as we can use it well, "said the IPB alumni, who previously worked at one plantation company.
Of course, in accordance with the mission of PT Prima Agro Tech, the company wants to show the farmers that organic farming is easy and inexpensive. "We continue to support organic agriculture. People say organic farming is difficult. Without making technology difficult, we created a simple and inexpensive technology for organic farming, "Gunawan closed the talking.