- Agronomic: rice
- Crop Production: cover crops, crop improvement and selection
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
- Soil Management: soil quality/health
Demand for organic rice has led to an almost six-fold increase since 1995 in organic rice production in the US. Texas and California are the largest organic rice producing states, accounting for more than 76% of the acreage. Most conventional and organic rice growers in Texas produce a second crop, also known as a ratoon crop, as a result of the relatively low input costs and high profitability. Previous research has led to improvements in main crop organic rice production, but data on how to optimize ratoon crop organic rice nutrient management and assess sustainability are sorely lacking. Developing economically and environmentally sustainable practices is critical to further expansion of organic rice production in the US. We propose to conduct comprehensive field experiments to assess the effects of cultivars, cover crops, and nitrogen rates on ratoon crop rice yields, milling quality, pest pressures, environmental sustainability, and economic viability. On-farm demonstrations with collaborating organic and conventional rice producers will compare economic and environmental metrics achieved using current grower practices with those achieved using recommended best management practices (BMPs) developed through the proposed research. The outcome of this project will improve the economic and environmental sustainability of organic rice production by providing tested and verified BMPs for the southern US. This project addresses two SARE high priority Project Areas ‘Organic Farming Systems’ and ‘“Environmentally Sound Practices’.
Project objectives from proposal:
The overall goal of this proposal is to evaluate effects of cultivars, cover crops and ratoon N fertilizer rates on organic ratoon rice production in the Southern US. Environmental sustainability through integrated life cycle analysis of organic rice ratooning will also help growers to fine tune their best management practices, which will improve the environmental quality. The proposal has four specific objectives
- Determine the effects of cultivars, cover crops and ratoon N rates on organic main and ratoon crop rice yields, milling quality, and pest pressures.
- Evaluate environmental sustainability and soil health of organic main and ratoon crop production systems compared to that of conventional rice production.
- Develop best management practices (BMPs) for main and ratoon crop organic rice production systems.
- Disseminate BMPs on the production potential and economic viability through on-farm demonstrations, field day tours and workshops.