SEEDLING VIGOR OF RICE CULTIVARS IN RESPONSE TO SEEDING DEPTH & SOIL MOISTURE

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1 Philippine Journal of Crop Science April 2005, 30(1): Copyright 2005, Crop Science Society of the Philippines Released 22 April 2005 SEEDLING VIGOR OF RICE CULTIVARS IN RESPONSE TO SEEDING DEPTH & SOIL MOISTURE TAHERE AZHIRI-SIGARI 1,HERMENEGILDO GINES 1, LEOCADIO S SEBASTIAN 1 & LEN WADE 2 1 Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Maligaya, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, 2 University of Western Australia, Crawley WA 6009, Australia Pot experiments were conducted at PhilRice Maligaya to evaluate the combined effects of genotype, seeding depth and soil moisture conditions on seedling growth. Two rice cultivars (PSB Rc14 and PSB Rc16), two seeding depths (0 cm and 3 cm) and two soil moisture conditions (DS and WS) were studied in RCBD with three replications. In the DS, soil was kept moist and aerated while in the WS, soil was thoroughly mixed with water (puddled) and maintained submerged with a thin layer of water. Ten selected seeds (density>1.10) presoaked for 24 hours were sown in PVC pots filled with air-dried and sieved soil (silty loam). Seedling growth was measured 25 days after seeding. The results showed that the DS seedlings were more vigorous than WS seedlings. Similarly, surface seeding resulted in more vigorous seedlings than seeding at 3-cm depth. Interaction was evident between genotype and seeding depth in relation to soil moisture condition. On the average, under DS conditions, seedling height was higher by 13.1%, leaf number by 14.9%, leaf area by 14.2%, shoot dry weight by 6.6%, root dry weight by 24.4%, total dry weight by 11.5% and root length by 8%, under DS than under WS conditions. Seeding at 3-cm depth resulted in reduced seedling height (by 9.9%), leaf number (7.2%), leaf area (14.5%), shoot dry weight (5.9%), root dry weight (14%), total dry weight (4.7%) and root length (6.3%) compared to surface seeding. The impact of deep-seeding in submerged soil was more pronounced on PSB Rc14 than PSB Rc16. The results suggest that selection within and among cultivars, along with modifications of cultural practices to facilitate soil aeration may further improve rice seedling vigor when deep-seeded. deep-seeding, dry-seeding, pre-germinated seeds, Rc14, Rc16, rice, seeding depth, seedling vigor, soil moisture, surface seeding, wetseeding INTRODUCTION The availability of water supply, relatively inexpensive and cost-efficient herbicides, early maturing modern varieties, along with increased labor costs, labor shortage at the peak of planting activities, and declining profitability of rice production, have encouraged many rice farmers in Southeast Asian countries to shift from transplanting to direct-seeding in irrigated areas (De Datta & Nantasomasaran 1991, Bhuiyan et al 1998). Directseeding is practiced in two forms: wet-seeding and dry-seeding. In wet-seeded rice, pre-germinated seeds are broadcast onto the puddled soil. In dry-seeded rice, un-pregerminated seeds are sown onto dry-plowed, unpuddled soil that could be dry or moist. Direct-seeding of rice offers certain advantages over the traditional method, which is transplanting. In rainfed areas, early planting of quick-maturing varieties by direct-seeding allows farmers to plant a second crop using the soil moisture residue and late-season rainfall. Dry-seeding uses less water and labor (IRRI 1994). Wet-seeded rice requires 27% less water to complete land preparation than transplanting (Bhuiyan et al 1995). Dry-seeded rice offers further opportunity for savings in irrigation water (Bhuiyan et al 1995). Average pre-harvest total labor use for the Philippines ranges from man-days/ha for direct-seeded rice and man-days/ha for transplanted rice (PhilRice 1995). Direct-seeding can secure increased income (Liboon et al 2001). But while direct-seeding brings farmers advantages, it also brings problems such as uneven crop stand, and more competition from weeds. Soil physical and chemical properties, land preparation, seed viability, genotypic characteristics for seedling vigor, seeding depth and water management affect early crop establishment. Seed viability varies with age, extent of dormancy, density and their initial position on the panicle (Hoshikawa 1989). Among the factors that influence seed vigor are genetic constitution, environment during seed development, and seed storage conditions (Copeland & McDonald 1995). In direct-seeding, rice seeds can be either broadcast onto the soil surface or deep-seeded. On one hand, surface broadcasting

2 may give a poor and uneven crop stand due to rain splashing, bird and rat damages. More so, seeds can be washed out, or simply float with the soil submerged, or desiccated as they are exposed to light, high temperature and greater vapor pressure gradient when dry-seeded (Yamauchi 1996). On the other hand, seeding at depth may result in delayed and poor germination and consequently, less vigorous seedlings, resulting in a poor crop stand and making them less competitive with weeds. However, when seeds are sown and covered with soil, they are protected from desiccation, rain splashing, bird and rat attacks, and floating. Direct-seeded rice is more susceptible to lodging than transplanted rice not only because of its high plant density but also because the base of the plant is above ground in surface-seeding, The lodging resistance of direct-seeded rice can be improved thru deep-seeding (Yamauchi 1996). In the past, in order to improve seedling establishment, more attention was given to the improvement of cultural practices rather than genetic improvement of varieties to make them adapted to direct-seeding (Inoue et al 1997). This led to seed-coating with O 2 release chemicals, to supply oxygen needed for germination under anaerobic conditions. But this requires additional labor and expense. Recent studies (Yamauchi 1996) revealed variation among rice genotypes in germinability under anaerobic conditions. Selection for rice genotypes with higher germinability and superior seedling vigor under anaerobic conditions not only minimizes the risk factors in crop establishment, but also renders seedlings more competitive with weeds. As yet, few studies have been conducted to verify rice genotypic variation for anaerobic germinability, and studies related to seedling growth are rare and not conclusive. The present study aims to quantify seedling growth of two rice cultivars in response to seeding depth and soil moisture conditions. 54 MATERIAL & METHODS A set of pot experiments was carried out during the dry season of 1999 at PhilRice Maligaya to elucidate seedling growth of two rice cultivars in response to seeding depth and soil moisture conditions. Factorial combinations of two rice genotypes (PSB Rc14 and PSB Rc16), two seeding depths (0 cm and 3 cm) and two soil moisture conditions (dry season or DS, and wet season or WS) were studied in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with three replications. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pots were filled with silty loam soil that was air-dried and sieved (5-mm mesh). The DS pots were provided holes at the bottom to drain water, but the soil was kept moist and aerated. These pots were weighed and watered daily at 5 PM to compensate for water losses owing to transpiration and evaporation in order to maintain the soil at near saturation point. At daytime, water was sprayed frequently to keep the soil surface moist. The WS pots were sealed at the bottom to prevent water percolation and the soil was thoroughly mixed with water (puddled) and maintained submerged throughout the study. Seeds were exposed to an oven temperature of 50ºC for 48 hours to break possible dormancy. In each pot, 10 pre-selected (density greater than 1.10) seeds presoaked for 24 hours were seeded at their assigned depths. Prior to seeding, kg/ha N-P 2 O 5 -K 2 O fertilizer was applied and incorporated into 3-5 cm of the soil surface. Five days after emergence, the seedlings in each pot were randomly thinned to 3 seedlings. At 25 days after seeding, the seedlings were measured for seedling height, leaf number, leaf area, shoot dry weight, root dry weight, total dry weight and root length as the indicators of seedling growth. RESULTS & DISCUSSION Germination percentage was not affected in any treatment except for deep-seeding under submerged conditions. PSB Rc16 germinated slightly more (66%) than PSB Rc14 (64%), but the difference was not significant. Both depth of seeding and soil moisture affected seedling emergence. Emergence was delayed by 3.5 ± 1 days with deep-seeding and by 3.3 ±1.8 days under WS conditions. According to Hoshikawa (1989), with deeper seeding and submerged conditions, seed germination may be delayed; with lack of oxygen because of the standing water, the seedling may not even emerge. The DS seedlings grew taller, with more leaf number, more leaf area, higher shoot dry weight, root dry weight, total dry weight and root length. Similarly, seeding at surface resulted in more vigorous seedlings. On the average, there was reduction in SH by 13.1%, LN by 11.4%, LA by 15.3%, SDW by 6.6%, RDW by 24.4, TDW by % and RL by 8.1%, under WS conditions as compared with those of DS conditions (Figure 1). Surface seeding resulted in more vigorous seedlings, with SH higher by 9.9%, LN by 7.2%, LA by 14.5%, SDW by 5.9%, RDW by 14%, TDW by 8.8%, and RL by 6.3%. The impact of seeding and standing water depth appeared more pronounced on RDW than on SDW. According to Yoshida (1981), rice seeds can germinate under anaerobic conditions but subsequent growth is greatly affected by oxygen supply. When seeds are covered with soil, lack of oxygen can cause poor seedling emergence. PhilRice (1998) reported that direct-seeding on the surface results in better crop stand than seeding in depth. In both cases (deep-seeding and submerged soil) root growth was affected more than that of shoot. Seedling growth was reduced more as the result of combined effects of both seeding depth and submerged soil conditions. Under WS conditions, there was reduction in SH by 21.7%, LN by 18%, LA by 28%, SDW by Seedling Vigor Of Rice By Seeding Depth

3 LSD 5%= %=3.125 LSD 5%= %=9.247 LSD 5%= %=1.207 Figure 1. Growth characteristics of rice seedlings in response to seeding and water depth 12.6%, RDW by 26%, TDW by19.4% and RL by 14%, when seeded at 3 cm soil depth (Figure 2). With deep seeding alone, SH was reduced by 2.2%, LA by 18%, SDW by 3.2%, RDW by 6.4%, TDW by 4.2% and RL by 1.6%. Genotypic differences were only evident as a combined effect of deep-seeding and submerged conditions, the two cultivars appearing with different seedling growth characteristics (Figure 3). The growth of PSB Rc14 seedlings was significantly reduced when deep-seeded onto submerged soil, but there was no significant growth reduction of PSB Rc16 seedlings under the Tahere Azhiri-Sigari et al 55

4 same conditions. Seedlings of PSB Rc16 were significantly superior to those of PSB Rc14 in response to the combined effect of both seeding depth and WS conditions. PSB Rc16 even showed better growth when deep-seeded in dry soil. Growth of PSB Rc14 seedlings, however, was hampered by deep-seeding under both DS and WS conditions. In most plants, adequate supply of oxygen must be available during germination. If the oxygen is reduced substantially, germination of most seeds is retarded. Rice, however can germinate under water, where oxygen is present only in low Genotypic differences for anaerobic germination (Yamauchi 1996, PhilRice 1998) and seedling establishment (Amano 1991) have been reported on rice. According to Yamauchi (1996) seedling establishment is controlled more by sowing depth than water level. Yamauchi reported that the coleoptiles of superior cultivars (more adapted to anaerobic growing conditions) elongated faster and longer than those of control cultivars. As the coleoptile emerges, oxygen can then be transported through the coleoptile to the germinating seed, and used for the development of the mesocotyl, the first leaf and roots which are all O 2 - Figure 2. Growth characteristics of two rice cultivars seedlings in response to seeding depth and soil moisture conditions concentrations. Rice seeds can even germinate in the complete absence of oxygen, although the seedlings are weak and abnormal (Copeland & McDonald 1985). The coleoptile of rice develops even in the absence of oxygen, while the leaves and roots do not (Alpi & Beevers 1983). The coleoptile of the rice plant placed in the anaerobic soil must elongate as soon as possible to transport the O 2 to the apical meristem where the first leaf develops (Yamauchi 1996). According to Yoshida (1981) rice seeds can germinate under anaerobic conditions but subsequent growth is greatly affected by a lack of oxygen supply. In the lowlands, when cultivars are direct-seeded particularly when the seeds are covered with soil, lack of oxygen causes poor seedling emergence (Yoshida 1981). Upland-grown seedlings have better rooting ability and more branched roots, and contain more nitrogen and starch than the lowland-grown seedlings. According to Javier & Matuyama (1998), direct-seeding on the surface resulted in a better crop stand as compared with seeding at depth. They also reported reduced germination percentage as a result of increased seeding depth regardless of soil moisture conditions. 56 dependent. In the present study the genotypic differences observed between two rice cultivars can partly explain their differences in germinability and seedling emergence. Nevertheless, as the two cultivars were not significantly different regarding germination percentage and seedling emergence, other mechanisms must be associated with the differences observed for their seedling growth under anaerobic conditions. The two cultivars responded with different seedling growth characteristics when the seeds were deep-seeded in submerged soil (Figure 3). While seedling growth of PSB Rc14 was significantly reduced under deep-seeding and submerged soil, seedling growth of PSB Rc16 was not affected significantly. In PSB Rc16, SH was 23.9 cm, LN was 4.4, LA was cm 2, SDW was 143 mg/seedling, RDW was 49 mg/seedling, TDW was 192 mg/seedling and RL was 16.8 cm, while in PSB Rc14, SH was 19.2 cm, LN was 3.6, LA was cm 2, SDW was 127, RDW was 31, TDW was 158, and RL was 14.5 cm. In PSB Rc16, the seedlings emerged faster and appeared with higher post- Seedling Vigor Of Rice By Seeding Depth

5 emergence growth rate as indicated by their higher DSW and RDW. The root:shoot ratio in Rc16 was much higher (34.3%) than that of Rc14 (24.4%) under deep-seeding and submerged soil conditions. Genotypic differences under anaerobic germination (Yamauchi 1996, PhilRice 1998) and seedling establishment (Amano 1991) have been reported in rice. In cultivars more adapted to anaerobic growing conditions, the coleoptile is longer and emerges faster than that of non-adapted cultivars. As the coleoptile emerges, oxygen can be transported to the germinating seeds and used for the development of the first leaf and roots (Yamauchi 1996). CONCLUSION & RECOMMENDATION Both seeding depth and standing water depth affected seedling growth. The seedlings were more vigorous when the seeds were sown on the soil surface in well-aerated soils with no standing water. The two cultivars showed significant differences of seedling growth characteristics under extremes of seeding and standing water depths. In PSB Rc16, germination was slightly more, the seedlings emerged faster and the seedling growth was superior to that of PSB Rc14 when anaerobic conditions prevailed. Though seeding on the surface in non-submerged but adequately moist soil provided better seedling growth, this may not be practical under field conditions where the germinating seeds are not protected against biotic and abiotic stresses. More so, proper soil moisture content may not be maintained at will. From a practical point of view, either deep-seeding or seeding at surface in submerged soil is recommended wherein the biotic and abiotic stresses encountered are minimized. To improve initial crop establishment and competitiveness of direct-seeded rice, varieties with higher germination and faster seedling emergence with more vigorous seedlings under anaerobic conditions must be selected. With the use of such cultivars and adapting cultural practices to make more oxygen available to germinating seeds and emerging seedlings, the risks encountered in direct-seeding could be minimized and this method of cultivation could be more viable or at least competitive with transplanting. LITERATURE CITED Alpi A & Beevers H Effect of O 2 concentration on rice seedlings. Plant Physiology 71:30-34 Amano T Varietal differences in seedling establishment of rice sown directly on soil surface in flooded paddy field. Elongation of seminal root and establishment at cool temperature. Japan Journal of Crop Science 60 (Extra Issue 2): (with English summary) Bhuiyan SI, Satter MA & Khan MAK Improving water use efficiency in rice irrigation through wet-seeding. Irrigation Science 16(1): 1-8 Bhuiyan SI, Tuong TP & Wade LJ Management of water as a scare resource: Issues and option in rice culture. In Sustainability Of Rice In The Global Food System, NG Douglas, SM Greenfield & KS Fischer (ed). pp Copeland LD & McDonald MB Principles Of Seed Science And Technology. Burgess Publishing Corp, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA De Datta SK & Nantasomsaran P Status and prospects of direct-seeded flooded rice in tropical Asia. In Direct-seeded Flooded Rice In The Tropics. IRRI, PO Box 933, Manila, Philippines Hoshikawa K The Growing Rice Plant. Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan Inoue NT, Amano T & Khoko K Seeding establishment of rice sown on soil surface in flooded paddy field. I: Varietal difference in seedling establishment. Japan Journal of Crop Science 66(4): IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) Water, a looming crisis. IRRI, PO Box 933, Manila, Philippines Liboon SP, Abrogena NQ, Aguinaldo A, Castro R & Sebastian LS Modified dry-seeding with zero tillage & straw mulching: A new technology package for rainfed rice. Philippine Journal of Crop Science 26(2): 5-13 PhilRice (Philippine Rice Research Institute) Philippine Rice R&D Highlights. PhilRice, Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, Philippines Yamauchi M Development of anaerobic direct-seeding technology for rice in the tropic. In Crop Research In Asia: Achievements And Perspectives. Proceedings of the 2 nd Asian Crop Science Conference, Fukui Prefectural University, Fukui, Japan. pp Yoshida S Fundamentals Of Rice Crop Science. IRRI, PO Box 933, Manila, Philippines Tahere Azhiri-Sigari et al 57

6 Figure 3. Seedling growth characteristics of rice cultivars in response to seeding and standing water depth 58 Seedling Vigor Of Rice By Seeding Depth

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