=============== package 88, script 9 ==================== july 2009 _______________________________________________________


===============
Package 88, Script 9
====================
July 2009
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Rice farmers use an integrated approach for success in weed management
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Notes to broadcaster
Weeds are defined as plants growing in places where they are not
wanted by people. Annual weeds live less than one year and die after
producing seeds. Perennial weeds live after they have produced seeds,
sometimes for many years. Some species of perennial weeds have special
kinds of roots such as tubers or rhizomes that survive and propagate
after tillering. These roots break and remain in the soil when you
pull on the plant, making hand-weeding difficult.
Wild rice, which looks a lot like rice, is one of the most problematic
perennial weed species in irrigated and lowland rice. Herbicides are
not recommended on wild rice as they can damage the rice crop.
Weed management can be a challenge but farmers who discover successful
strategies will be rewarded with higher crop yields. This program
discusses the benefits of several management strategies, including
plowing, flooding, transplanting from a nursery bed, and crop
rotation.
Characters:
Radio host
Rice farmer (Mr. Fofana)
Farmer training officer (Mr. Diallo)
Signature tune to introduce program
Host: Dear listeners, good morning and welcome to your favourite
program about agriculture. The theme of today’s show is weed
management, and to discuss this I’m joined by two guests in the
studio, Mr. Fofana, who is a rice producer, and Mr. Diallo, a training
officer working with a local farmers’ organization. They are going to
talk about their own experiences with weed management. Welcome to you
both.
Farmer and training officer: (Together) Thank you!
Host: Mr. Diallo, let’s start with you. Tell us how the farmers that
you are working with deal with weeds in their rice fields.
Training officer: Well, of course it depends on the weed. There is a
specific weed that looks like rice, that we call wild rice. This weed
is particularly difficult to control because when it is uprooted the
rhizomes break fairly easily. Broken parts of these roots can survive
and grow quickly. When farmers have wild rice in their plot, they need
to plow it and then collect the roots that are exposed to the sun.
Some women put the roots in baskets and throw them away…others pile
them up. After two weeks under the sun, they burn the heaps. I think
Mr. Fofana has experience with that weed.
Farmer: Yes, I have exactly that troublesome weed in my field.
Host: Have you been able to get rid of it?
Farmer: Yes. First I plowed my field to uncover the roots. But that
isn’t enough. I then hit the clods with a small hoe, removed the roots
and piled them in a heap. After two weeks of sun-drying, I burnt the
heaps and used them as organic manure. But for a few years I had to
pay particular attention, as it is very difficult to remove all roots
at once.
Training officer: And there’s another reason that plowing is useful.
When you plow, many kinds of weed seeds get buried deep in the soil,
so far down that they can’t germinate.
Host: So from what you’re saying, it seems that plowing is an
important step in controlling weeds…wild rice and other weeds too.
Training officer: Yes, but plowing is only the first step. After the
plowing is done, leveling and flooding are the next steps. Flooding
the field for two weeks kills most of the weeds. But flooding only
works if you level the field properly. If parts of the field are not
flooded because you haven’t leveled it, the weeds will grow and
spread.
Host: And what do you say to farmers about the right time to flood
their fields?
Training officer: I suggest that you flood your field after the first
field preparation. Keep it flooded for a few days, and then drain the
field. Then, when you see the first sign of weed growth, you can weed
and flood the field for a second time. This keeps the weeds down
before planting starts.
Host: And then, once the crop is growing, the plot needs to be weeded
again. Am I right?
Farmer: Yes, and the timing of weeding is very important. Weeds are
more harmful in the first six weeks of the rice crop. If you use
direct seeding, do the first weeding after three weeks, when the rice
plant has four leaves. Two or three weeks later, at tillering, you
must weed a second time.
Host: I’ll repeat that for the benefit of our listeners. Do the first
weeding when the rice plant has four leaves. Two or three weeks later,
at tillering, it’s best to weed again.
Training officer: That’s correct if you use direct seeding. But if the
rice has been transplanted from a nursery, you need to weed only one
time, at the beginning of tillering. When you apply fertilizer, there
shouldn’t be any weeds in the field. You don’t want to fertilize the
weeds!
Host: Mr. Fofana, I know that you’ve been growing rice for many years.
If you compare direct seeding and transplanting, which would you say
is more effective in controlling weeds?
Farmer: I have tried both methods and learned that transplanting is
better. What I mean is that if I transplant two-week old seedlings
from a nursery into the field, that gives the rice a good advantage
over weeds. But sometimes farmers can’t use the transplanting method.
So they use direct seeding. If you must do direct seeding, make sure
that you germinate your seeds before sowing them. That will help.
Training officer: Also, when you transplant seedlings, the spacing is
important. If there is too much space between rice plants, weeds can
grow more easily. Leave about twenty centimetres between the rice
plants so you can move around the plot without damaging the plants. If
the spaces are too narrow, you trample on the rice plants when you
weed.
Farmer: I find it’s also easier for me to do hand weeding if I plant
rice in rows. Some weeds look a lot like rice, so if I see a plant
outside the row, I can be sure that it’s a weed. In our neighbouring
district, I have seen farmers using a rotary weeder. It is a handy
mechanical tool with which they easily weed in between rows. Next time
I visit that area, I will surely buy one as it makes weeding much
easier and I won’t have to hire more labour.
Host: Is there anything else you’d like to offer before we sign off?
Farmer: Apart from these things, I also do a rotation of crops. If the
land can bear three crops per year, that’s a way to reduce weeds.
Weeds can’t survive in a field if you keep changing the crop. For
example, I use the rotation of corn, rice, and potatoes. Taking up
this cycle for two or three years or more, I manage to control most
weeds…even wild rice.
Fade in, then fade out background music
---------------------------------------
Host: Thank you, Mr. Fofana and Mr. Diallo. You’ve provided valuable
information for those of us who are trying to keep weeds down. We’ve
talked about the benefits of several approaches… plowing, flooding,
transplanting and crop rotation. On the weeded farm, the nutrients in
the soil and the fertilizer that you apply benefit only the rice. The
rice plant, with fewer competitors, develops well and yields better.
Thank you for listening. If you wish to have a copy of the video CD on
weed management or other rice technologies, please contact me at this
station [the radiobroadcaster should give a mobile number or the
number of the radio station. Please see notes below for information
about obtaining rice videos from the Africa Rice Center].
Fade in signature tune. After 30 seconds, fade out background music
and hold under host.
Note
====
If you are interested in receiving videos about different rice
technologies, please contact Jonas Wanvoeke at the Africa Rice Center
([email protected]; +229 21 35 01 88; 01 BP 2031, Cotonou, Benin).
For a list of rice videos available, please see:
www.warda.org/warda/guide-video.asp
Acknowledgements
================
Contributed by: Felix S. Houinsou, Rural Radio Consultant/WARDA, and
Radio Immaculée Conception, Benin, a Farm Radio International
broadcasting partner.
Reviewed by: Paul Van Mele, Program Leader, Learning and Innovation
Systems/Africa Rice Center (WARDA)
Information provided by: Jonne Rodenburg, Weed Scientist/Africa Rice
Center (WARDA)
Thanks to:
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for
supporting participatory research with women rice farmers in lowlands.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID and IFAD for supporting
this script and for translating the rice videos into local languages.
P rogram undertaken with the financial support of the
Government of Canada provided through the Canadian International
Development Agency (CIDA)
4

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