The rice that we are using in our irrigation experiment is a Nerica variety from Benin, Africa. But we are also evaluating seven other rice lines planted on two dates in a small variety test. We received the seeds from the USDA-GRIN rice seed bank in the United States. The rice was inspected while is was actively growing to certify that it was free of diseases. Before we could bring the seeds to South Africa we had to apply for and receive import permits and phytosanitary certificates. Matt Rhine brought the seeds with him when he came in October. Each small plot is three drill rows wide x 1 meter long. We are evaluating Best 2000, Cirad 141, Nerica 6, Zhe 733, a Nerica4 x Wells cross, IAC 201, and Cardi 70-3. Dr. Anna McClung did the initial screen of rice lines for drought tolerance and provided us with the seeds for our trial. Judging by the overall growth and plant color the IAC 201 and Cardi-70-3 are looking the best at this time.
An important part of the irrigation study is the weather station. By using equations based on solar radiation, temperature, wind speed, and relative humidity we are able estimate how much water the rice plants are using each data. To get accurate weather results the station can not be near trees or other obstructions and be near the rice field where the experiment is being conducted. Shown below is the weather station that we setup for the study.