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BANGKOK 21 July 2019 13:26
notrub

subsidies for rice farm irrigation available?

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Are there any grants or subsidies available for buying / installing irrigation equipment in Isaan?  Information services for irrigation?  We have a well but no pipe.

 

The farm is family owned and is currently flooded from the pond if it has water, or just rain fed.  (Called a paddy system?).  The size is about 5 HA  divided into about 12 fields .  Yield depends on rain, last year there was plenty.  We are in some kind of a rain shadow in our immediate area, don't know why.  I have just provided a borehole well and solar powered pump system.  the water is just being piped onto the land where much of it just soaks away.  The well is a good one and there is plenty of water.  I am about to drill 20 mm pvc pipes with 2/3 mm dia holes along the length on 50cm centres in an effort to distribute the water more effectively.   I read that 1 tonne of rice requires 5,000 m3 of water with the paddy system and only 1,500 m3  per tonne if drip fed.  Currently the fields are just ploughed up and broadcast seeded and fertilised.  There are not rows of crops, just a field of rice growing everywhere.  What advice or help can you provide please?      Thank you   

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I have not heard of any but have your wife ask your local Department of Agriculture. You should have in your amphora as we do. Both Department of Livestock and Department of Agriculture. My wife is involved with both. Any and all rice subsidies come through the Department of Agriculture. http://www.doa.go.th/en/

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I have been fallowing your project with interest and it looks to me like you're doing a good job.  It looks to me as you have at least 30 rai and if that's the case a well is not going to irrigate for rice. You do not say what part of isaan you're in as conditions do very. I'm in Kap Choeng Surin. Where my wife projects are located. One of her project is turning a 12 rai section of rice land into a new garden and this has required the digging of a very large pond. 50mx50mx10m. She is fortunate that that ground water is as little as 3m down as all ponds in the area do not go dry. She also had some serious help from a major highway upgrade about 1.5 km from us require fill. Saying that she still had to invest 100k for fill for her project.. She only gets that one crop a year rice as it depends on rains.. The pond at the moment is about 50% full and she says it will be full by the rice harvest. The use of the pond water is for irrigation namely for her dream garden BUT it will be used for corn after the rice harvest. The pond project and be found here..

and the need for corn can be found her.  https://forum.thaivisa.com/topic/1035716-thai-wagyu-beef-in-kap-choengsurin/

 

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In a nut shell no, they are no  government suberise in our sense in that money is give to individual   farms for farm projects .

In Khwaibha  project  the DLD is helping a group of farmers ?.

In our area we are almost in a drought  a lot of farmers are sowing in to a dry seedbed and are waiting for the rains ,known in Thai as Whun Hang.

Have a look at TV,s thread  Rice Planter Opinions,with the changes in weather patterns this could be the way rice farming will go.

 

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For what it is worth, most rice varieties do not need to be grown in land submerged in water. Apart from the plants need for moisture, the purpose is to stop the weeds growing. Rice will tolerate the "flood" water. We grow under the same rain fed conditions and the ideal situation is to get the moisture content of the soil up before seeding and maintain that until vegetative growth is established. Then you want the rains and get the paddies flooded and maintain that water depth until the rice grains are full and start to ripen. If you have ponds to store the water then draining the rice before both fertilising stage helps but most people don't have that ability.

So you need to attempt to establish the water level and maintain it during rains, evaporation and seepage events using the berm system and maybe some shallow ditches in the paddies to spread the water.

The amount of water needed depends on the area to be covered not on the rice yield in tonnes. With 5 Hectares (50,000 sq metres) and a water depth of say 100mm it means you need to maintain 5,000 cubic metres of water once the soil is soaked, or above the soil. 

I wouldn't try to pipe or drip the water if you dont have rain. Simply pump it into a large concrete ring set in each paddy to avoid soil erosion and let it spread out until you reach the depth. 

 

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For what it is worth, most rice varieties do not need to be grown in land submerged in water. Apart from the plants need for moisture, the purpose is to stop the weeds growing. Rice will tolerate the "flood" water. We grow under the same rain fed conditions and the ideal situation is to get the moisture content of the soil up before seeding and maintain that until vegetative growth is established. Then you want the rains and get the paddies flooded and maintain that water depth until the rice grains are full and start to ripen. If you have ponds to store the water then draining the rice before both fertilising stage helps but most people don't have that ability.
So you need to attempt to establish the water level and maintain it during rains, evaporation and seepage events using the berm system and maybe some shallow ditches in the paddies to spread the water.
The amount of water needed depends on the area to be covered not on the rice yield in tonnes. With 5 Hectares (50,000 sq metres) and a water depth of say 100mm it means you need to maintain 5,000 cubic metres of water once the soil is soaked, or above the soil. 
I wouldn't try to pipe or drip the water if you dont have rain. Simply pump it into a large concrete ring set in each paddy to avoid soil erosion and let it spread out until you reach the depth. 
 
Excellent post from IA.
Most people still believe the myth that rice must be grown under flooded conditions all the time.
I think it has mostly to do with the setup of the fields / land here and other rice growing developing countries.
I had the opportunity to see the rice growing process in Japan.
They have a sophisticated system of channel and gated fields that allows them to fill and drain the water from the fields.

You might have a look at this system:

System of Rice Intensification https://g.co/kgs/Qr2fkA

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15 minutes ago, CLW said:

Excellent post from IA.
Most people still believe the myth that rice must be grown under flooded conditions all the time.
I think it has mostly to do with the setup of the fields / land here and other rice growing developing countries.
I had the opportunity to see the rice growing process in Japan.
They have a sophisticated system of channel and gated fields that allows them to fill and drain the water from the fields.

You might have a look at this system:

System of Rice Intensification https://g.co/kgs/Qr2fkA

 

It is a good post but you will not convince the Thais. As long as a farang is involved with deep pockets then his Thai partner may listen. Take those deep pockets out of the equation then back to SOP. Isaan gets only 1 corp a year and that's from June to November IF they get rains. At the moment no meaningful rain for two weeks. Came across this article it is fairly long and the research was done in SSK. https://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=ajcs.2015.34.47

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That is my part of Sisaket and we grow Hom Mali 105 as described. I found that article full of information of little value to be honest. But I didn't spend much time reading it as the predicted against actuals seem to vary a lot and were understated in my experience. I will sit down and reread it again though. The best crop yields we have got were about 3.5 tonnes per hectare (550kg/rai). 

Near us is an organic rice farm that grows other heritage species as well as 105 and uses a system similar to the Japanese SRI method. They use a Japanese seedling transplanter and puddle the paddies to get them flat. But they only have limited ability to drain and flood. The main advantage is in germination using the seed beds/trays where water can be controlled and the starting point is to transplant large healthy seedlings without being reliant on good rainfalls. The amount of seed rice used is much lower than hand broadcast and even that if direct drilling the seed in rows.

We had a trip over to visit friends this weekend and came across a team of people hand transplanting rice. First time I have seen that being done for years. 

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Agree FJ. For me it would be the flat 3" inch hose and get the job done. Ultimately it needs rain and maybe a little help from some water released near by when the rain isn't about. 

 

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Thanks for all your ideas.  Here in Isaan we have about 25 rai in about 10 different sized banked fields all adjacent to one another.  We are lucky to have a biggish main pond and a smaller one 100+ meters away.  I don't know their volume yet.  I have just installed a solar powered pump in a well 35m deep and this can pump up to 6 m3 per hour.  We bought the better solar panels that work when it is overcast.  The well drillers hit water at 6 m.  I did not appreciate just how much pumping it took to flood a field and had spent thousands on gasoline pumping  b4 switching to solar (duh).

 

The family are used to flooding the fields when they can and now just place the new outflow pipe in the field where even me, non farmer Burton, can see much of it soaking away in a small area, not dispersing.  I thought making a manifold out of 1 1/2'' pipe and connecting 4 or 5, 40 or 50 m long  20mm , pipe drilled at 50cm o/c, would disperse the water more effectively.  The rice is now broadcast seeded following machine plowing so the irrigation pipes have to be easily moved both for the plowing and machine harvesting.  Also one set could be moved around to different fields.  I also want to try this idea out b4 buying a load of pipe only to find it doesn't work.  Any comments please?  Also is the blue pvc pipe the best bet re cost and durability?

 

I read that the paddy system uses 5,000 M3 per tonne of rice and drip fed irrigation comes in at 1,500 M3 per tonne.

 

Another question is what else can be grown on the land instead of rice or as a crop rotation to use the land when it is lying fallow?

 

My family are accustomed to have rice when it rains and not having it when it doesn't.  I get a bit of 'Thanks for the well and now please stand back and let us farm in our traditional way'.  Sounds good except traditional farming is not necessarily the best way to produce a good harvest year after year. 

 

Finally, the equipment supplier is an honest Brit and the equipment is good.  He is located in Isaan and also Phuket (I think) and will travel to install.  I will provide contact details for any who want them

 

 

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I have never seen drip fed rice being grown. Personally I cannot see how you could deliver enough volume of water that way. Remember we are talking about flooding a ploughed soil surface so to get it saturated to the surface will require as much if not more than it will to flood the rice crop to stop the weeds. It is not the same as filling a fish pond which has an impervious clay lining. For rice you need a large volume of water delivered very quickly. The only way to do that economically is with rain. In central Thailand where three crops of irrigated rice are grown every year they use massive diesel powered pumps drawing water from the canals or pumping it back into the canals. 

So I believe your family is correct, rain or no rice here in Isaan.

In other parts of Thailand they dig canals and pile the soil up to produce rows of "raised beds" that are above the local flood level if they want to grow other crops in rice paddies during the wet. Here alternatives are only grown of land that is above the level. 

The best off season crop I can suggest is to grow a green manure crop after the rice harvest. Sun hemp and mung beans are both grown as nitrogen fixers and are ploughed in prior to next years rice crop. The issue there is getting rid of the water so you can plant early enough and then having sufficient soil moisture to grow the manure crop. Note: While is is nice to get a seed harvest from the sun hemp or beans, the real objective is to generate soil nitrogen. So if early rains do come before the crop has grown fully, it gets ploughed in anyway.

Also rice is grown here to fill bellies not pockets. It is the staple diet as it has much better nutritional properties than other grains such as wheat. But you do not get rich growing rice here. 

 

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Thank you very much.  Food for the belly comment is one that I have heard and thanks for confirming this.  We, the family and I pay about 12,000 baht total to plough the fields (2x) and 7,000 baht for fertiliser and another 18,000 for the harvest machine.  In a good year I pay nothing, in a bad year I help out with one or another of the operations.  My family is a good one and are never hounding me for money.  I could be very wrong about the sums as it is money that I offer and am never told that it is not enough, I have to guess and give a bit more if I think they are short.

 

I am not rich but have enough to help out with these rice issues.  Better than regular visits to the gold shops.

 

What about the idea of pvc pipes to more effectively distribute the water to the fields?  Ma and Pa grow things on the banks mostly near the ponds and they water it by buckets.  Nearly 80 so it is a bit of a struggle.  The solar pump works great and I could run a hose pipe connection off of a T for the veggie growing as that seems a worthwhile effort by them.

 

About pipe.  The flat blue pipe at 1 1/2 '' cost 17 baht per meter in 100m rolls.  It is prone to kinking and does not adapt well to going up and over the banks because of this (can do but must be careful).  Is it best to run blue PVC pipe on the raised banks to distribution points and go from there?  Are there any alternatives?  And for the small 1/2 or 5/8 hose pipe what do you suggest please?  The really cheap ones fall apart and kink a lot and the expensive ones that work cost a lot.  Is there a happy medium and what brand and where to source please?

 

A friend said just let them get on with it and don't bother trying to think about how to make improvements.  Is this what I should do do you think?  My wife tells me that over 50 years ago they used to start at 4 am to go to work on foot with their buff so they have been at it for a while.

 

Lots of ? and thank you for any comments you may have.

 

  

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sounds like you are keeping busy, good to have a go at the rice or veg ect  spending loads of money is the easy bit, getting a return, or even a full belly year in year out aint. i would just let the rain do its job, no rain too much ect.... 

my wifes mum and dad have been at the rice for years, likes yours, over the last 2/3 years we have almost managed to get them to stop planting/harvesting themselves, they still do 10 ish rai but its mainly more weeds then rice come harvest time...... the other lands the wife rents  out and gives payment (rice) to mum and dad,still end up giving them money most weeks but better then having them working....

had a go at the rice years ago, never again, all the rice i eat i buy at the shops, the children like the sticky rice so they eat the "free" stuff from the farm.

farming here can be an expensive hobby....

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It's one opinion vs another about making economical sense to grow rice for your own consumption.

I would say buying is cheaper but if one can show a proper calculation I'm willing to learn.

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