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One of the country's centers for collection and propagation of rubber clones, the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) in Kabacan, North Cotabato, recently released a list of recommended clones of rubber.
The list comprises of the following clones: RRIM 600 (Rb 99-01), RRIM 712, RRIM 901, PB 217 (Rb 99-02), PB 235 (Rb 99-04). PB 260, USM 1 (Rb 99-03), PB 330, and PB 311. Among the new clones, USM 1 (Rb 99-03) has the highest dry rubber yield per year (2.5 tons/ha). PB 330 is also one of the highest yielding clones, recording an average annual yield of 2.38 tons/ha, closely followed by PB 260, producing 2.37 tons/ha per year.
Rubber clones are products of a normal plant breeding technique called clonal propagation.. This technique involves screening and cloning rubber seedlings with favourable traits. These will then be monitored for performance that could take decades. Finally, the best tress will be identified and recommended for propagation and planting. Unselected seedlings yield around 400 kg/ha/year whereas modern clones, produced by generations of breeding cycles, can give commercial yields well over 2000 kg/ha/year. (International Rubber Research and Development Board)
Dry rubber production in the country is estimated to average 77,000 tons per year. Through the adoption of appropriate cultural management practices and use of high-yielding clones, this rate of production gradually increased from a meager yield of less than 0.5 tons/ha in the 1960s. Still, the annual consumption of rubber, at 133,000 tons/ha, exceeds its rate of production. Moreover, according to the Philippine Rubber Industry Master Plan, annual consumption is expected to increase to 170,000 tons from 2001 to 2005. Rubber growers will need to increase productivity to meet the industry's growing demands. The RDE Plantation Crops Network aids in developing strategies that will develop the plantation crop industry into a sustainable and globally competitive venture.
USM is one of the institutional members of the National Research, Development, and Extension (RDE) Network on Plantation Crops. The network advocates the use of high-yielding clones as one of the technology promotion and adoption thrusts of the Network.
Description and rubber yield of USM recommended clones of rubber, provided by the Plantation Crops Network International Rubber Research and Development Board, http://www.irrdb.org/agronomy/yield.htm The Philippines recommends for rubber by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources.
(For more information, please contact Dr. Eugenio Alcala, Network Team Leader on Plantation Crops, USM. Tel No. 064-248-2323.)