Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Scientists discuss latest developments in weed management

LOS BAÑOS, Philippines—Scientists from leading research institutions met to discuss the latest developments in managing weeds that greatly reduce rice yields.

Weed scientists from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) participated in a meeting on Weed research in rice: Current status and way forward. Held 29 February at IRRI headquarters, the meeting was a venue for weed scientists to discuss recent research, emerging issues, knowledge gaps, and new areas of research and collaboration on weed management.

“One of the key agricultural changes in the last 10 years is the increased adoption of direct seeded rice (DSR) because of increasing labor scarcity and rising labor wages,” said Leylani Juliano, an agronomist, who presented the status of on-going weed research at PhilRice.

Although DSR has helped many farmers who are facing labor scarcity, weeds have become a major challenge in these areas. The problem of weedy rice—a highly competitive and difficult-to-control weed—has emerged as a major threat to DSR systems.

Dr. Virender Kumar, IRRI senior weed scientist, discussed factors influencing the direction of weed science research in rice at the institute. Dependence on herbicides for weed control has increased, posing higher risks of herbicide resistance. “Developing diverse, integrated weed management solutions and an effective dissemination strategy are the keys to the sustainability of the technology and for harnessing the full benefits of DSR systems,” he said.

Dr. Aurora Baltazar, an adjunct weed science professor at UPLB, mentioned the need to have a more comprehensive documentation of the emerging weed problems, herbicide usage, and the development of herbicide-resistant weeds over time across the country. So, the participants agreed to come up with a wide-ranging review of Weed science: Current research and future needs for the Philippines through joint refereed journal publication.

In addition, scientists identified potential research areas for collaboration including: 1) developing a weed management module to integrate with Rice Crop Manager and evaluating the advantage of this module on yield and net income; (2) exchanging knowledge and demonstrations of innovative weed management methods for weed control in DSR, (3) surveying the extent of the weedy rice problem and other emerging weed problems and developing management solutions, (4) characterizing and quantifying potential new herbicide resistance cases, and (5) capacity building for developing the next generation of rice weed scientists.

The meeting was organized by IRRI's Weed Science Unit of the Crop and Environmental Sciences Division,

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