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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Jonesboro, Arkansas » Delta Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #338988

Research Project: Preserving Water Quality and Availability for Agriculture in the Lower Mississippi River Basin

Location: Delta Water Management Research

Title: Using alternate wetting & drying (AWD) rice flooding management

Author
item HENRY, CHRISTOPHER - University Of Arkansas
item Massey, Joseph
item HARDKE, JARROD - University Of Arkansas
item KRUTZ, JASON - Mississippi State University
item Reba, Michele
item Adviento-Borbe, Arlene

Submitted to: Arkansas Experiment Station Research Series
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2017
Publication Date: 7/1/2017
Citation: Henry, C., Massey, J., Hardke, J., Krutz, J., Reba, M.L., Adviento-Borbe, A.A. 2017. Using alternate wetting & drying (AWD) rice flooding management. Arkansas Experiment Station Research Series. 1-5.

Interpretive Summary: Alternate wetting and drying (AWD), also known as intermittent flooding, is a rice flood management practice used to maximize rainfall capture and reduce irrigation pumping while maintaining grain quality and yield. The practice has potential to save producers considerable money in terms of irrigation-related fuel costs and help to conserve water resources. For these reasons, interest in AWD is growing among Mid-South rice producers. This two-page bulletin provides concise instructions for producers to determine if alternate wetting-drying rice flood management is appropriate for their operation and management style. Step-by-step guidance is provided related to pest and fertility management.

Technical Abstract: Research has shown that Mid-South producers can properly adapt and manage AWD, so as to reduce irrigation use while having no negative impact on grain yield. In addition to helping to reduce demand for groundwater, up to one gallon of diesel fuel may be saved for every acre-inch of groundwater that is not pumped or is offset by the capture of rainfall. Up to and including flood initiation, all agronomic practices necessary for AWD flood management are the same as with convention (i.e., continuous) flooding. After a three-week holding period, the flood is allowed to subside naturally until mud is exposed in the upper one-third of the rice paddy. At this time, the flood is reestablished and this cycle repeated until 5 days before and 7 days after panicle initiation (green ring). A full flood is also maintained from 3 days prior to 50% heading until 25 days after 50% heading for long grain cultivars (30 days for medium grain cultivars). Fertility and pest management practices developed under a continuous flood have been found to work under AWD. However, blast disease may be an issue. Thus, producers are encouraged to plant hybrid rice or apply fungicide at early- to late-boot stage of rice development.