University of California

Minimum tillage could benefit California rice farmers


Bruce Linquist
Albert Fischer
Larry Godfrey
Chris Greer
James Hill
Kaden Koffler
Michael Moeching
Randal Mutters
Chris van Kessel

Authors Affiliations

B. 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.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 62(1):24-29. DOI:10.3733/ca.v062n01p24. January 2008.

PDF of full article, Cite this article


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.


Broadbent FE, Mikkelsen DS. Influence of placement on uptake and tagged nitrogen by rice. Agron J. 1968. 60:674-677.

Fischer AJ. Managing watergrass (Echinochloa spp.) resistance to rice herbicides in an aquatic environment: Research and demonstration in affected farms. California Department of Pesticide Regulation, Final Report. Pest Management Grants-Applied Research Agreement #00–0216S, March 1, 2002 2002. www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/pmap/grants/00–01/finlrpts/00–0216S.pdf.

Heap I. The International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds. 2007. www.weedscience.org/in.asp (accessed March 13, 2007).

Lal R, Hobbs PR, Uphoff N, Hansen DO. Sustainable Agriculture and the International Rice-Wheat System. 2004. New York: M Dekker. 532.

Linquist BA, Brouder SM, Hill JE. Winter straw and water management effects on soil nitrogen dynamics in California rice systems. Agron J. 2006. 98:1050-9. https://doi.org/10.2134/agronj2005.0350

Linquist BA, Sengxua P. Efficient and flexible management of nitrogen for rainfed lowland rice. Nutr Cycl Agroecosys. 2003. 67:107-15. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1025592720538

Mikkelsen DS, Finfrock DC. Availability of ammoniacal nitrogen to lowland rice as influenced by fertilizer placement. Agron J. 1957. 49:296-300.

Patrick WMH Jr, Wyatt R. Soil nitrogen loss as a result of alternate submergence and drying. Soil Sci Soc Proc. 1964. 29:647-53.

Simarmata M, Kaufmann JE, Penner D. Potential basis of glyphosate resistance in California rigid ryegrass (Lolium rigidum). Weed Sci. 2003. 51:678-82. https://doi.org/10.1614/P2002-124

[UCCE] University of California Cooperative Extension and Rice Research Board. Rice Production Workshop 2006 2006.

Watkins KB, Anders MM, Windham TE. An economic comparison of alternative rice production systems in Arkansas. J Sust Ag. 2004. 24(4):57-78.

Williams JF, Mutters RG, Klonsky KM, De Moura RL. Sample costs to produce rice. UC Cooperative Extension and Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, RI-SV-01 2001. www.plantsciences.ucdavis.edu/uccerice/STATS/2001Rice.pdf.

Linquist B, Fischer A, Godfrey L, Greer C, Hill J, Koffler K, Moeching M, Mutters R, van Kessel C. 2008. Minimum tillage could benefit California rice farmers. Hilgardia 62(1):24-29. DOI:10.3733/ca.v062n01p24
Webmaster Email: wsuckow@ucanr.edu