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Weedy Paddy

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I went for a field trip to Sekinchan on the 25th July for 3 days. The objective of this trip was to find out the role of Clearfield technology to overcome weedy rice problem. Based on my findings through interviewing the farmers in Sekinchan, I’ve understood how the farmers handle Weedy Rice in Sekinchan.

Weedy Rice (风稻), which is called 风水谷 or Padi Angin in the Chinese Community in Sekinchan, is a species of rice (Oryza) that produces far fewer grains per plant than cultivated rice and is therefore considered a pest. Based on the farmer’s perception, they believe that, it has been evolved from the paddy that they used to plant. During harvesting, the seed which dropped onto the ground grew, and these seeds undergo natural selection so that they could adapt to the environment, which leads to the occurrence of weedy rice. Some farmers also state that the occurrence of weedy rice is because it is been crossed bred with other plants, producing a new species of paddy.

The method which the farmers used to control the weedy rice is by using the transplanter machine. The transplanter machine was introduced to the community in year 2004 when the occurrence of weedy rice became very serious. The technology of using transplanter machines was introduced in Taiwan and brought to Sekinchan. Using the transplanter machine, it is easier to recognise which is weedy rice, thus it could be removed easily. Those farmers who do not use the transplanter machines could only depend on labour. These farmers said that the weedy rice could be recognised easily as long as it is during a certain period, as the weedy rice gets mature earlier and it will be extraordinarily tall compared to the paddy which they plant.

MARDI has collaborated with BASF to use its Clearfield Production System to control weedy rice and other paddy weeds, as well as substantially reduce the cost of weed management. BASF’s Clearfield Production System combines high-yielding herbicide-tolerant seeds with region-specific broad-spectrum herbicides that will control weeds and improve crop quality. Clearfield methodology was introduced in Malaysia in year 2010, and it was introduced to the Chinese community of Sekinchan in the beginning of this year. The farmers in Sekinchan who always have an average result of 11tons of grain (where their best record was 13 tons) said that the ClearField methodology (Padi Kebal) is not worth it as the cost of buying the seeds for planting are much more expensive than the other variety of paddy. However farmers who have an average results of 8tons and 9tons of grain, prefer ClearField methodology as it will give a higher yield of grain and it is much easier to take care of the paddy plant, as using only the herbicide, OnDuty, could tackle the weedy rice problem. In addition, farmers who prefer to plant ClearField paddy do so because it can be harvested about a week earlier than the other variety. This could reduce the risk or eliminating the problems associated with bad weather.

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