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IRRI Rainfed Lowland Rice Ecosystem 1999

IRRI Rainfed Lowland Rice Ecosystem 1999

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Published by: tikkytalo on Nov 12, 2009
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MCPO Box 3127, Makati City 1271, Philippines
Project summary andhighlights 1999
Rainfed lowland rice ecosystem
RL2 Managing crop, soil, and waterresources for enhanced productivityand sustainability of lowland areas
Low and unstable productivity, high incidence of poverty, and low resource useefficiency characterize most of the 48 million ha of the rainfed lowland riceareas, 90% of which are in South and Southeast Asia. Because of the uncertaintyand the variability of rainfall, production environments are risky and farmersare discouraged to invest in input-intensive technologies by persistent drought,excess water, and/or weed problems. Modern rice technologies have so far hadlittle impact on the rainfed agroecosystem because of the farmers’ incapacity to buffer the adverse effects of drought and submergence. IRRI’s research hasshown that fluctuating water regimes result in unreliable responses to appliednutrients and shallow root systems that reduce the capacity of the plant toextract water from deeper layers in subsequent periods of rainfall deficit. Forincreasing productivity and alleviation of poverty, management strategies areneeded to enhance crop establishment and weed control, and to synchronizenutrient supply and demand while buffering exposure of the crop to the ad-verse effects of submergence and drought. Socioeconomic research on farmers’response to risks in rice cultivation and the impact of social differentiation ongender roles in rice farming and intrahousehold distribution of resources areneeded for ex-ante assessment of technology needs of different groups of farmers
Completed special issue of 
Field Crops Research
 , featuring two manuscriptsderived from the nutrient x water (NxW) research: one characterizing siteconditions and the other examining nutrient requirements of rice in rainfedlowlands. Over 78 locations, yields obtained without applied fertilizer werenot closely related to soil test values. The greatest nutrient response was tonitrogen, with NPK increasing yields from 2.25 to 4.00 t ha
on average. Theeffect of adding micronutrients was small and PK was of little benefitunless N was added. But the magnitude of the N response varied substan-tially with the water regime. Substantial yield gains were possible inrainfed systems by application of appropriate nutrients, especially if usedin conjunction with cultivars suitably adapted to the target environments.Continued studies into selective effects of water depth in determininggermination and survivorship of selected weed species. Continued long-term monitoring of the impact of rotational cropping systems on weedspecies shifts in direct seeded rice. Quantitative differences were found inrelative abundance of weed species in the WS, which were related to DSfarming practices. Weed community composition after weed managementwas characterized in
rice (Indonesia) in relation to toposequenceand nutrient status. Relative abundance of major weeds was correlated withposition on toposequence and soil K status.Analyzed research data from past 4 years from mechanical seeder develop-ment project in Jakenan, Indonesia. Along with NARS collaborators, de-signed and initiated a new on-farm participatory study to assess acceptabil-ity of the developed seeder technology.
Repeated the experiment on yield constraint analysis in Jakenan for twoseasons.Analyzed the panel data for 6 years on risk management practices of farmers from eastern India (Faizabad). The results indicate the importanceof income diversification strategies in managing risk at the farm level.Where farmers have highly diversified income strategies, benefits fromstabilization of rice yield were quite small. However, in rainfed areas whereincome diversification is constrained due to environmental conditions orpolicy factors, stabilization of rice yield can result in major gains, especiallyto poor farmers who have very limited means for coping with risk.Completed a study of the economic cost of drought in eastern India andfarmers’ coping mechanisms in the event of severe drought. The averageproduction loss in eastern India was estimated to be 8% of the total value of rice and nonrice output. Drought caused a reduction in the output not onlyof rice but also of nonrice post-rainy season crops such as pulses andoilseeds. Using farm level data from Orissa, additional costs such as the lossin future production potential due to asset depletion, loss of land, deteriora-tion of human health, and other long-term environmental and social costswere also documented.Completed two papers analyzing the changes in variability of rice area,yield, and production in eastern India. District-level time series data for 71districts from eastern India covering the period 1969-94 were analyzed. Themajor findings of the study are: a) productivity growth in eastern India as awhole has led to an increase in production variance, but the relative vari-ability as measured by the coefficient of variation has declined; b) increasedyield instability (both absolute and relative) in parts of Bihar and Orissa arethe major contributors to increased production instability in eastern India;c) even though there has been a substantial growth in productivity ineastern Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal due to expansion of irrigation, theyield variability still closely tracts the variability of rainfall; and d) thecorrelation between yield and area has increased over time in most easterndistricts.Conducted stochastic dominance analyses of farm and district level yieldsof modern and traditional varieties. The results indicate that modernvarieties are often ‘less risky’ than the traditional varieties. In several cases,modern varieties had not only a higher average yield but their probabilitydistributions did not intersect with those of the traditional varieties.Assessed the economic value of rainfall forecast to rainfed rice farmers inthe Philippines. Farm-level panel data showed that the economic value of simple forecasts such as rainfall, being above or below average, was sub-stantial.Initiated a joint ICAR/IRRI project to study the patterns of changes in riceproduction systems. This comprehensive project uses a common methodol-ogy and covers all states of eastern India.This project is renumbered RL1.Selected activities of old RL1,
Characterizing and analyzing rainfed rice envi-ronments,
will be merged with this project.Complete manuscripts on NxW from two Consortium sites and workshopand journal papers on seedling vigor in wet seeded rice.Initiate collaborative project on improved weed management in dry seededrice in Bangladesh in relation to crop establishment and cropping systems.Develop a work plan for collaborative engineering activities on crop estab-lishment within the RLRRC framework (ongoing). Initiate new collabora-tive engineering research activities in the rainfed lowlands in Bangladesh.Publish results of farm level seeder development study in peer-reviewed journal. Contribute to keynote paper for ISTRO 2000 Conference on SoilTillage for Low Input Farming Systems.

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