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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: OPTIMIZING IRRIGATION MANAGEMENT FOR HUMID CLIMATES

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

Title: Comparison of Flooded and Sprinkler Irrigated Rice Production

Authors
item Vories, Earl
item Mccarty, Michael -
item Stevens, Gene -
item Tacker, Phil -

Submitted to: Decennial National Irrigation Symposium
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 15, 2010
Publication Date: December 5, 2010
Citation: Vories, E.D., Mccarty, M., Stevens, G., Tacker, P. 2010. Comparison of Flooded and Sprinkler Irrigated Rice Production. In: Decennial National Irrigation Symposium. 5th National Decennial Irrigation Conference, December 5-8, 2010, Phoenix, Arizona. IRR10-9851.

Interpretive Summary: Although past problems with sprinkler irrigated rice have precluded widespread adoption, recent developments have led to increased interest. In 2009, a farmer in northeast Arkansas produced a field of center pivot irrigated rice, as well as a field of flood irrigated rice cooperating in the University of Arkansas Rice Research Verification Program and the objective of this report was to compare grain yield and costs between the systems. The pivot system used less water but had a higher total irrigation cost. Similarly, yields were higher for the flooded system, but the pivot system had a higher irrigation water use efficiency. While it would be unwise to infer too much from just one season, the results suggest that center pivot irrigated rice is a viable production system and additional research should soon lead to production recommendations for farmers interested in the system. The results of this research will be to provide farmers more options for crop rotation and an increased food supply while efficiently using irrigation water.

Technical Abstract: Although past problems with sprinkler irrigated rice have precluded widespread adoption, recent developments have led to increased interest. In 2009, McCarty Farms produced a field of center pivot irrigated rice, as well as a field of flood irrigated rice while cooperating in the University of Arkansas Rice Research Verification Program (RRVP). The objective of this report was to compare grain yield and costs between the systems. A total of 589 mm of irrigation water was applied to the RRVP field, while 470 mm was applied to the pivot field. Estimated irrigation costs were $296 ha-1 and $389 ha-1 for the RRVP and pivot fields, respectively. Flood irrigation required several additional steps, but the pivot had higher ownership cost, repairs and maintenance, and fuel use. The observed grain yields were similar, with average dry yields of 10.1 and 9.7 Mg ha-1 for the RRVP and pivot-irrigated fields, respectively. The irrigation water use efficiency was 1.7 and 2.1 kg m-3 for the RRVP and pivot irrigated fields, respectively. Total irrigation, pesticide, and fertilizer costs were $939 ha-1 and $917 ha-1 for the RRVP and pivot fields, respectively. While it would be unwise to infer too much from just one season and two fields, the results suggest that center pivot irrigated rice is a viable production system. Additional research should soon lead to production recommendations for producers interested in the system.

Last Modified: 7/31/2014
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