Experts test water-saving irrigation technique
Experts are pushing for the use of the Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) method of irrigating rice fields to reduce water use and methane emission without sacrificing yield.
The AWD was developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and is being tested in rice-producing countries, including the Philippines.
The AWD involves flooding and re-flooding the field for up to 10 days depending on factors such as soil type, weather and crop growth stage.
AWD can start one to two weeks before transplanting and after fertilizer application.
From a week before to a week after flowering, the field should be kept flooded, topping up to a depth of 5 cm as needed.
After flowering, during grain filling and ripening, the water level can be allowed to drop again to 15 cm below the soil surface before re-irrigation.
IRRI said through AWD, water is saved up to 30 percent, which reduces irrigation cost and translate to more income for rice farmers.
Methane emissions from rice farming are also reduced by up to 50 percent, which helps hold down global warming.