Wednesday, June 7, 2017

In Indonesia: Laser leveling of farmland steps up agricultural production

Participants in the laser leveling demonstration learn the basic principles of the technology and how to operate the equipment. IRRI’s CORIGAP project supports capacity building of NARES partners and other rice-farming sectors, such as youth, to accelerate adoption of best management practices that will support Indonesia’s national goal to achieve rice self–sufficiency.

The swampy land areas of South Sumatera, Palembang are poised to become the next rice granary in Indonesia. Recently, to step up the region’s agricultural productivity, local extension professionals, farmers, and students were trained on the use of laser-assisted land leveling and tractor driving in Palembang.

Marto Suwarno, local owner of a 3-hectare rice-corn farm and leader of Gabungan Kelompok Tani (Association of Farmers’ Group) in Mulya Sari village, pointed out a problem that he has been experiencing on his farm. “I always have uneven plant growth in my rice and corn fields, but I hope there can be a solution,” he said.

Laser leveling of the land could be that solution and it was demonstrated for the local extensionists, farmers, and students on Pak Suwarno’s farm during an event on 24-25 May. Budi Raharjo, who spearheads the Assessment Institute for Agricultural Technology (BPTP), partnered with Pak Suwarno to illustrate the benefits of the laser leveling technology.

“After successfully conducting the land leveling during the 2-day event, Pak Suwarno will continue to plant corn and rice,” Budi pointed out. “Over the next 2 seasons, we will observe the productivity of his farm to see if there is any difference between manually leveled and laser-leveled fields.”

Caling Balingbing, postharvest and mechanization expert at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), presented the principles and advantages of laser-assisted land leveling and answered queries on issues related to timing and soil type. He also guided BPTP staff members on properly doing automatic land leveling on Pak Suwarno’s fields.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017



LOS BAÑOS, Philippines—More than 50 researchers from Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, China, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and the Philippines tested a web-based decision tool that calculates the sustainability of farmers’ practices  and  best management approaches in rice production. Known as the field calculator, the tool collects farmer field data and measures it against 12 sustainability indicators defined by the Sustainable Rice Platform.

“The field calculator can be used to determine whether adopting a certain technology or combination of technologies and management approaches is economically and environmentally sustainable,” said Dr. Sarah Beebout, leader of the field calculator development team of the Closing rice yield gaps with reduced environmental footprint (CORIGAP) project.

“It gives a visual summary of the technologies’ environmental, economic, and social impacts, allowing users to make sound recommendations and decisions in different locations for each planting season,” added Beebout, who is also a soil scientist at the International Rice research Institute (IRRI).

CORIGAP Phase 2 to increase yield of 500,000 rice farmers across Asia by 2020



LOS BAÑOS, Philippines—Phase 2 of the project, Closing Rice Yield Gaps with Reduced Environmental Footprint, will work to sustainably increase rice yield by 10% for 500,000 smallholder farmers in seven “rice granaries” of Asia by 2020. Called CORIGAP-PRO, this second phase is a multi-country project under the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium.

More than 45 scientists, national partners, and CORIGAP advisory committee members from seven countries gathered at the headquarters of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to launch CORIGAP-PRO, which now includes the Philippines as an “associate country.”

“This event is a platform for the project members to review the key outcomes made during phase 1 and to plan and strategize ways to achieve the targets set for the next phase,” explained Dr. Grant Singleton, CORIGAP coordinator and IRRI principal scientist.