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Straight Stalk

Current crop information updates and research highlights

Welcome to Riceworld: First Day at the International Rice Research Institute

ACES Global Academy Diary:

Our first day at the International Rice Research Institute was mostly about getting the "lay of the land". We are staying at the IRRI guesthouse which is used to international travelers. The breakfast buffet options included scrambled or poached eggs, Canadian bacon, sausage, fried rice, pancakes, fresh mango and papaya, a sweet roll.

The IRRI complex adjacent to the University of the Philippines at Los Banos.

The van picked us up and delivered us to the IRRI campus and our introduction to IRRI started. We were welcomed by Dr. Bruce Tolentino. IRRI is a world premier research organization dedicated to reducing poverty and hunger through rice science; improving the health and welfare of rice farmers and consumers; and protecting the rice-growing environment for future generations. It is an independent, nonprofit research and educational institute, founded in 1960 by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations with support from the Philippine government. The institute, headquartered in Los BaƱos, Laguna, has offices in 17 rice-growing countries and about 1,400 staff members representing 36 nationalities

After the welcome we toured the Riceworld Museum across the courtyard from where we were welcomed.

The courtyard with dormant volcanoes in the background.

The Museum provided a great introduction into traditional and modern rice production tools and techniques. As well as highlighting some of the advances made possible by research at IRRI. There are three principle rice production systems; rainfed lowland, rainfed upland and irrigated.

A human powered water "pump" used to raise water into the rice paddies, on display in the museum.

After the museum we got a quick tour of their experiment fields. One of the highlights was the longest continuous rice experimental field, established in 1960. While not near as old as the Morrow Plots, It now has 154 "crop-years" of data (three rice crops per year) while with only one crop per year the Morrow Plots have 138 years, Both are pretty impressive and provide interesting data.

Continuous rice experiment field

Some of the afternoon sights included the rice genebank were stores seeds from almost 130,000 rice lines. These are carefully dried and put into cold storage in earthquake resistant vaults. The collection also stores backups at facilities in Colorado and Norway. Researchers around the world can get diverse rice seed from IRRI for their projects.

The seed is sorted dried and vacuum sealed in small tins for long term storage.

The day ended with a reception and dinner at the guesthouse in honor of the visiting Gates Foundation team that is also here this week reviewing progress on a large project related to heirloom rice that they funded.

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