Suppression of Junglerice [Echinochloa colona (L.) Link] by Irrigated Rice Cultivars in Latin America
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Continuous rice (Oryza sativa L.) cropping in Latin America and the Caribbean has resulted in serious weed problems and herbicide overuse. Competitive rice cultivars could help reduce herbicide dependence. A study was conducted during 1994 and 1995 at Palmira, Colombia, to (i) assess the competitiveness of semidwarf irrigated rice plant types adapted to Latin America and the Caribbean's direct-seeding systems, (ii) identify plant traits responsible for such competitiveness, and (iii) detect adverse effects of competitiveness on rice yield potential. Pregerminated seed of 10 and 14 semidwarf rice cultivars was sown on drained puddled soil in 1994 and 1995, respectively. Cultivars were grown weed-free or with junglerice [Echinochloa colona (L.) Link] (40 viable seeds m(-2), broadcast immediately after seeding rice), and were intermittently irrigated to keep the soil near saturation. Rice and junglerice biomass, leaf area index, tiller number, and height were recorded at 20, 40, 60, 90, and 120 days after emergence (DAL). Rice cultivars differed in their competitiveness against junglerice. Average yield losses ranged from 27 to 62% under saturating junglerice infestations of up to 5.9 Mg DM ha(-1). Leaf area index, tiller number, and canopy light interception recorded in competition, and not much before 40 DAE, correlated positively with rice competitiveness. Competitive semidwarf cultivars can substantially reduce the number of herbicide applications in systems where suboptimal water control does not allow weed suppression by flooding. Breeding to enhance rice competitiveness appears as a valid objective, since competitive and also highly productive cultivars were identified in this study.
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