- Agronomic: rice
- Crop Production: paddies
- Education and Training: display, farmer to farmer, participatory research
- Pest Management: cultivation, physical control, row covers (for pests), weeder geese/poultry
- Production Systems: ecological
- Soil Management: composting, organic matter
- Sustainable Communities: community development, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, local and regional food systems
As rice cultivation gains increased attention among growers and consumers in the Northeast, farmers remain challenged by the limitations of the short growing season. To date, practices have been dominated by adaptations of northern Japanese methods utilizing Asian (Oryza sativa) varieties of rice. While we used these methods with Asian cultivars over the past several years, we have also increasingly incorporated methods we learned as subsistence farmers in our Senegambian homeland. Our experience suggests that utilization of the Diolla-style field nursery method presents a viable, low-cost means to start and transplant rice over a longer window of time, with improved resilience and productivity. Under the guidance of advisor Erika Styger, who has worked extensively on rice projects in Africa and worldwide, we will set up a field experiment on our farm to compare plug-tray rice starting methods as developed by the Akaogis (2009), with Diolla field nurseries. Additionally, by performing our trials with the regionally known Asian variety, Duborskian, and the novel Africa variety, Ceenowa, we hope to provide a valuable methodology for northern rice farmers and pioneer a viable new species of rice in the Northeast. Harvests from the past three years have shown that Oryza glaberrima, native to Sub-Saharan Africa, can be successfully grown in the Northeast. The introduction of African rice increases crop diversity and provides a marketable product to meet an ever-growing interest in ancestral foods and authentic global flavors.
We’ll share our work with farmers and the community through demonstrations, internet, and a published report.
Project objectives from proposal:
This project seeks to identify more robust seedling establishing methods for northeastern rice production that allow to shorten the rice production cycle, as well as to increase rice productivity and farm benefit.
We will test the Diolla-style field nursery method and compare it to the Akaogi plug-tray nursery method. This will be done at two seeding and planting dates for each method. We will evaluate plant development at different stages, grain yield and cost of operations. Two varieties are included in the trial: Duborskian, an Asian rice variety, widely grown in the Northeast, and Ceenowa, an African rice variety, our commercial flagship variety.
If the project is successful and the Diolla-style field nursery is well adapted to the northeastern region, it will allow to considerably shorten the crop production cycle. As younger seedlings can be transplanted, we also foresee an increase in rice productivity. Both outcomes will be of direct and high interest to most if not all rice growers in the Northeast. As the Diolla-style field nursery method is a simplification of the current establishment methods and is not depended on costly materials, farmers will find it easy to adopt and further adapt it to their local conditions.