Minimum tillage could benefit California rice farmers
Chris van Kessel
Authors AffiliationsB. Linquist is Project Scientist, and A. Fischer is Associate Professor, Department of Plant Sciences, UC Davis; L. Godfrey is Extension Specialist, Department of Entomology, UC Davis; K. Koffler is Ph.D. Student, Department of Plant Sciences, UC Davis; M. Moeching was Postdoctoral Researcher, UC Davis, and currently is Extension Specialist, University South Dakota; C. van Kessel is Chair, Department of Plant Sciences, UC Davis. CalFed, the California Rice Research Board, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the UC Statewide IPM program funded this research. The Rice Experiment Station provided land, access to facilities and equipment, and technical assistance and support. We greatly appreciate the equipment loaned by grower John Thompson. Steve Bickley, Jim Eckert and Ray Wennig were responsible for much of the day-to-day management of the on-station research.
Hilgardia 62(1):24-29. DOI:10.3733/ca.v062n01p24. January 2008.
Field research and grower interviews were used to evaluate the potential of minimum tillage for California rice systems. We found that by tilling only in the fall (instead of both the fall and spring), rice farmers can control herbicide-resistant weeds when combined with a stale rice seedbed, which entails spring flooding to germinate weeds followed by a gly-phosate application to kill them. Our results indicated that yield potentials are comparable between water-seeded minimum- and conventional-till systems. We also found that rice growers can reduce fuel costs and plant early. However, minimum tillage may require more nitrogen fertilizer to achieve these yields.
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