Furrow irrigated rice is an alternative method for growing rice with less water and labor than conventional flood irrigation. In the Mississippi River Delta region, layflat plastic pipe is used to supply water to furrows from irrigation wells. Different size holes are punched in pipe to optimize uniformity of water distribution. Beds are made before planting to channel water down furrows. Rice seed is planted in rows with a grain drill. Water infiltration in furrows is two-dimensional through a wetted perimeter with soil in the bottom of furrows and sidewalls of beds. An ideal field for furrow irrigation has no more than 0.1% slope with high clay content. No rice cultivars have been developed specifically for furrow irrigation but tests showed that some cultivars tolerate water stress better than others. In field trials, rice yields with furrow irrigation were lower than flooded rice with the greatest yield loss in the upper part of fields. However, results indicated that rice yields can be increased with proper timing of nitrogen fertilization and irrigation and adaption of new rice herbicides for weed control.
Part of the book: Rice Crop