Achim Dobermann, deputy director general for research at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI; http://irri.org ), and Leigh Vial, head of IRRI's experiment station, explain a special project in which they will demonstrate how to grow a productive rice crop in a 25 x 100-meter field on IRRI's research farm.
As a scientist and research leader, Dr. Dobermann has been involved in rice research for 25 years, in many countries. His own research background is in soil science and agronomy, areas in which he has published numerous scientific articles and also a few books.
But there is something that he keeps wondering about: why is it that many of the research findings and technologies developed by scientists don't seem to be used by rice farmers? We show in our experiments that with excellent crop management practices we can achieve much higher yields than many rice farmers, but is what we do really practical? Can it actually be adapted and adopted by them? Do we scientists actually know ourselves how to grow a decent rice crop? Might it be that what we demonstrate in small experimental plots or what we recommend to farmers may not work in a normal rice field?
To find this out, Dr. Dobermann has teamed up with Leigh Vial, the head of the IRRI Experiment Station. Leigh has a big advantage: until recently he used to be a commercial rice grower in Australia. However, he also hasn't really grown a rice crop under the conditions where we do most of our work - small rice paddies in the humid tropics. So, Leigh and Achim are hoping that by teaming up they can figure out how to do things right in the field. They want to practice what they preach.
The Challenge: Grow a high-yielding dry-season rice crop in a typical rice field in the IRRI farm at Los Banos, Philippines, following best management practices recommended by IRRI.
* They have chosen a single field of 0.25 ha size (25 x 100 m), which is quite typical for Asian rice farming. The soil is a deep, heavy clay. The location is in the humid tropics. In the dry season rice needs to be grown with irrigation.
* They will obtain all information on recommended Best Management Practices (BMPs) from publicly available IRRI sources, particularly the Rice Knowledge Bank - http://www.knowledgebank.irri.org/ric...
* They will do most field operations themselves to experience on the ground what works and what doesn't. They'll adjust as they go, just as a farmer would do while learning.
* They will explain and document what they're doing and share their experiences.
International Rice Research Institute
8 years, 7 months ago