Achim Dobermann, deputy director general for research at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI; http://irri.org ), and Leigh Vial, head of IRRI's experiment station, discuss and demonstrate laser leveling in a 25 x 100-meter field on IRRI's research farm. This is the first step in establishing a productive rice crop.
"It's Wednesday afternoon and we're ready to get started in our field. It's been raining quite a bit in recent weeks, so everything is wet and we can't do a dry soil tillage. Instead, we have plowed the field as it is normally done by farmers, with standing water in the field. Now it's time to level it. Why? Leigh explains in this video. A level field is critical for growing a good direct-seeded rice crop because it
* Improves crop establishment
* Enables more uniform water control and thus also saves a lot of water
* Reduces weed problems and
* Results in uniform crop maturity.
We've decided that we're not going to mess around with a water buffalo and a wooden plank to get our field leveled the way we want. Instead, we use a tractor equipped with a laser leveler, which should give us the most precise control possible. Leigh's the man for this and it has taken him not even 30 minutes to get it done.
A first time for him because in Australia, where he comes from, leveling of rice fields is usually done under dry soil conditions, which is a lot easier. With water still standing in it, the field really looks neat and pretty level. We think we've done a decent job."