Improving Resource Utilization Efficiency in Rice Production Systems with Contour-Levee Irrigation in Colombia
Developing rice production systems with efficient use of input resources such as water and nitrogen is the pressing need worldwide. In Colombia, the contour-levee irrigation system in gently sloped land is widely used where the irrigation is applied in an intermittent manner and water is not stored continuously as in Asian paddy fields, and thus the utilization efficiencies of water and fertilizers are lower due to the surface drainage. Under the economic environment of increasing international competition for rice, it is required to decrease the production cost by increasing these efficiencies. For this purpose, the following researches are being conducted. First, the quantitative trait loci (QTL) related to root morphology and enhancing more roots at deeper soil layers are identified and introduced to the Colombian leading varieties to develop new-generation varieties. Second, a rice growth model is applied to the typical rice system, and better nitrogen management scheme is being developed through the scenario analysis by the simulation. Third, better irrigation methods are developed in the field, and their water-saving efficiencies in watershed scale are evaluated by using hydrological models. Fourth, the community precision agriculture and horizontal technology transfer methodologies are applied to the Colombian rice production system, and newly developed technologies are being integrated and disseminated in one of the major rice-producing region in Colombia. The new system is expected to be adopted by other Latin American countries where the similar irrigation systems are used.
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