Sunday, June 30, 2013

Rice Survivor (Wet Season edition): Weeding out the competition

For the past few sessions, our teachers kept telling us that field management depends on the conditions on the ground. There's no one approach that applies to all situations. That same principle applies to weed management. We had to know the enemy before we can do something about it.

On June 11, the Rice Survivors were introduced to the the weeds our rice seedlings would be up against. To guide us through the complicated world of weeds, we've got weed and farming system experts introduce us to these pesky plants.

There are weeds that thrive on dry land and those that love the water. Obviously, to prevent the growth of those dry land weeds, we have to keep the rice fields flooded. But that will allow the water lovers to grow. So, as usual, the Rice Survivors need to find that balance in weed management. 

Water, however, is not the only tool we have to keep weeds off the fields. According to the experts, we have to make sure that land preparation is conducted properly and that we are using good quality (i.e., no weed seeds included) rice seeds. Knowing the history of the field we are using also helps, according to them, because then we'd know if the fields have been used previously and what treatments have been conducted on the fields. There is also always the option of using herbicides, of course, and selecting which type to use opens us to a lot more options!

So many things added to what we have to think about! Who, aside from farmers, would have thought that rice farming is this complicated?!