How did you spend your Friday?
Intern Scott Britton spent his day today removing the hulls from the rice grains grown on the Hot Humid Lowlands area of the ECHO Global Farm. Not seen our rice paddies? ECHO grows rice as a demonstration of the various techniques that are used in subsitstance rice fields all over the world. This summer, Scott did some experimenting with his rice paddy, trying out a technique called SRI or System of Rice Intensification.
SRI has a few distinguishing characteristics. Typically using SRI, you don't keep the paddy flooded all the time. You flood the paddy and let it drain and then flood again. Spacing of plants is further apart, and you plant one seedling per hole instead of 3-5 seedlings per hole. SRI has been demonstrated on the farm before, so Scott took it a step further.
Using the SRI method of flooding the paddy and then letting the water recede, Scott experimented with the traditional plant spacing and the SRI method spacing. Growing the rice side by side helps us see and evaluate which techniques seem to perform better. The contrast was striking.
On another paddy, Scott used the same two spacings, but flooded the paddy the entire time. Again, you could see one side growing taller than the other.
From these paddies, Scott harvested the rice and today was using an electric rice hulling machine common to many developing communities to process his harvest.
For pictures of the whole experience see below~