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Research Project: Strategies to Predict and Mitigate the Impacts of Climate Variability on Soil, Plant, Animal, and Environmental Interactions

Location: Plant Science Research

Title: Comparison of flooded and furrow-irrigated transplanted rice (Oryza sativa L.): farm-level perspectives

item ABDALLAH, AHMED - Damanhour University
item AL-ZOHEIRY, AHMED - Damanhour University
item Burkey, Kent

Submitted to: Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/6/2018
Publication Date: 6/25/2018
Citation: Abdallah, A., Al-Zoheiry, A., Burkey, K.O. 2018. Comparison of flooded and furrow-irrigated transplanted rice (Oryza sativa L.): farm-level perspectives. Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering. 144:04018022.

Interpretive Summary: As water becomes a scarce commodity, agriculture will have to compete with industry and urban users for this limited resource. The traditional flooding irrigation methods used in rice cultivation require a huge quantity of water, and all rice production in Egypt uses this approach. A team of scientists from Damanhour University in Egypt and USDA-ARS in Raleigh, NC investigated the potential use of raised bed cultivation with continuous furrow irrigation as a substitute for more water intensive flooded methods. Raised bed technology with continuous furrow irrigation required less than half of the water while maintaining or increasing seed yield compared to the traditional flooding irrigation approach. The raised bed approach for rice production appears to be a good alternative in agricultural areas where irrigation water is limited.

Technical Abstract: The traditional irrigation methods used in rice cultivation result in a huge quantity of water loss. Exploring ways to produce more rice with less water is essential for food security. A two-season field study was initiated to compare the effect of three different proposed techniques of continuous furrow irrigation (FI) with conventional flooded irrigation (CI) on the water use efficiency (WUE) of two rice cultivars. The FI system consisted of 50 cm wide raised beds with irrigation furrows that were 25-30 cm wide and 15–20 cm in depth. Seedlings of two rice cultivars, early-maturing (Shaka 104) and late-maturing (Giza 178), were manually transplanted (5-6 plants/hill) at the same plant density (25-27 hills m-2) in different FI configurations: (a) seedlings transplanted 15 cm apart in rows along on both sides of the raised bed (FI1), (b) seedlings transplanted 22 cm apart in a center row in the raised bed and in single rows on each side of the raised bed (FI2), and (c) seedlings transplanted 22 cm apart in rows on both sides of the raised bed and on the furrow (FI3). FI treatments were compared with conventional flooded irrigation (CI) with seedlings spaced 20 cm apart at the same plant density. To maintain a water depth of 10-15 cm in the furrow, irrigation was given for furrow only. The results showed that for both cultivars, FI was superior to CI in terms of saved water, rough rice yield and thus, WUE. The results also indicated that the highest WUE was achieved using FI3, while the highest grain yield was reached using FI1. The improved WUE (146.44%) in the FI3 system is attributed to the significant water use reduction (56.8%). Among FI techniques, both FI1 and FI3 represent good options for growers to optimize yield while using significantly less water.