Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Record yields on rice fields

Center Pivot on rice fieldA production of rice under center-Pivot irrigation systems, located in Missouri (United States) reached record yields. While the majority of fields were well-suited for flood irrigation, one field had sandy loam soils and hilly terrain, which previously made it impossible to produce rice. The kind of soil cannot maintain a flood, so Pivot irrigation is a good alternative. It was the first experience with rice for the producer, but it didn't mean more work than in the corn field. They just ran the center-Pivot more time.

A grower who produces rice with a center pivot can be 5% more profitable than if he had flooded his field. Data collected throughout the years, on traditional and non-traditional rice fields, have recorded cost savings that rice producers have experienced with center pivot irrigation and linear machines versus flood.

Though a rice producer may use more pesticides and herbicides with a center pivot, the fertilizer costs remain the same as with a flooded field. Because a rice field irrigated with a center pivot does not need to be flat, and crop protection products can be applied through the irrigation machine, growers may see a 75 percent or more difference in labor costs, and a 50 percent or more difference in maintenance costs. Compared with a flooded field, fuel costs are also lower for rice produced with a center pivot due to a significantly smaller volume of water that is pumped throughout the growing season.

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