Submitted to: Mississippi Water Resources Research Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/24/2003
Publication Date: 7/11/2003
Citation: Massey, J.H., Scherder, E.F., Talbert, R.E., Zablotowicz, R.M., Locke, M.A., Weaver, M.A., Smith, M.C., and Steinriede Jr, R.W. Reduced water use and methane emissions from rice grown using intermittent irrigation. Proceedings Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute, CD-ROM, 2003.
Technical Abstract: Current rice production techniques in the U.S. are water intensive and have led to groundwater depletion in some areas of the Mississippi Embayment aquifer system. Flooded rice culture also contributes to global climate change through the production of methane, a greenhouse gas. Our preliminary research indicates that intermittent rice irrigation techniques, where the height of floodwater cycles between 0 to 15 cm rather than being maintained at a constant height of about 15 cm, can reduce season-long water inputs by up to 50% over conventional (continuous flood) methods with only small reductions in yield. The production of methane gas was reduced by about 70% using intermittent irrigation compared to continuous flooded rice paddies. Future research needs to assess the utility of intermittent irrigation to maintain rice productivity while reducing water use and methane emissions across the various soil and climatic conditions in the Mississippi Embayment region.