Matt Rhine and Dennis Sheehan calibrated the drill for planting Nerica 4 rice.
Below are field activities on the center pivot rice research project so far this season.
- 10/17/11 – Planted rice and cowpeas for irrigation study
- 10/18-10/19/11 – Planted small plot rice variety test
- 10/20/11 – Irrigated rice and cowpeas 12mm (0.5”)
- 10/21/11 – Sprayed 0.2lb/ac clomazone + 2pt/ac Paraquat
- 10/22-10/23/11 – Irrigated cowpeas and rice 12mm (0.5”)
- 10/25/11 – Sprayed cowpeas 0.5 oz/ac halosulfuron + 1.5 pt/ac pendimethalin
- 10/25/11 – Sprayed rice 0.75 oz/ac halosulfuron + 1.5 pt/ac pendimethalin
To calibrate the grain drill, we first calculated how many seeds should be dropped per revolution of the drive wheel. Matt turned the wheel while Dennis caught the seeds in a plastic bag held on a disconnected drill tube. Gene counted the seed in the bag and Daniel made the drill setting adjustments. It took several setting adjustments to get the correct amount of seed because the owner’s manual from the drill grossly underestimated the correct setting.
This year we have three experiments at Ukulima Farm. One half of the pivot will be an irrigation rate experiment for rice and the other half will be an irrigation rate experiment for cow peas. The third test is a small plot rice variety test which we hand planted. It took Jim, Matt, and I three days to plant the small plot test with hoes, and racks. Dennis made us a jig to help keep the rows straight when we made the seed furrows in each plot.
The small plot variety test takes up about 10 degrees on the outside span of the center pivot circle. We will not vary the rate of irrigation water on this segment of the pivot. Our hope is to identify high yielding rice variety that is suited for suited for southern Africa.
The rainy season started in mid-October this year. We were fortunate that the lightning that accompanied the first rains did not start an major fires near the farm. Hail occurred with a couple of the storms and damaged maize fields that had plants about 25 cm tall. It killed some of the maize plants but most will probably recover after growing new leaves. Most of t the rice seedlings had not emerged yet.
Our rice started emerging late last week. Compared to last year, we are off to a great start. Generally the rice planted with the drill has a more uniform stand than the hand planted small plots, but some seeds are still emerging.
The cow peas plant density on that half of the circle is not as uniform as the rice stand. Although individual cow peas plants can grow large and compensate for poor stand, we are still debating whether replanting of some of the cowpea area will be needed.