Below are photos from the rice harvest last week at the Ukulima Farm in South Africa.
Soil differences and slope in the field had a greater impact on rice yields than our irrigation rate treatments. The test field drains to the center from the north and south ends. The highest rice yields were recorded in the test blocks in the middle.
Cropping history was also an important factor in rice yields across the field. One half of the field was fallowed in the previous growing season and the other half was planted in corn. Rice grew more vigorous and competed with weeds better where we did not have corn last year.
Weed control was satisfactory but not perfect. In areas where corn was grown in 2010/11, rice plants produced fewer tillers and weeds began to emerge at mid season.
Most of the rice irrigation treatment plots produced 40 to 50 bushels per acre. But a “bell ringer” four acre block in the center of the field averaged more than 90 bushels per acre.
Most farmers in South Africa are not familiar with rice production. The total amount of rice harvested and loaded into the bin for storage was 1,215 bushels.
We planted an area of the field cirlce in cowpeas as a legume rotation crop for rice next year. The field workers on the farm were allowed to pick the peas and take them home for their families.