Cereal FAQ (Part II)

Q: What is meant by the Green Revolution?

A: The Green Revolution is a term used to describe an event which was launched in the 1960s throughout Asia, when modern scientific methods were applied to agriculture.

Q: How much water is needed to produce 1 kilogram of rice?

A: By traditional irrigation method, it takes about 5,000 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of rice.

Q: What do you refer to as the "miracle rice"?

A: It is the term given to IR-8-288-3, or simply IR-8, by newsmen because of its high yield. IR-8 is the first high-yielding variety developed at IRRI, Philippines. It is the result of the crosses between Peta, a tall Indonesian variety with high vigor, seed dormancy, resistance to several insects and diseases; and Dee-geo-woo-gen, a high yielding, heavy tillering, short statured variety from Taiwan.

Q: What is hybrid rice?

A: Hybrid rice is a new sort of rice developed by China noted for its vigor and yield potential. Half of China's rice land is planted to such rice and two-thirds of all the rice harvested in China are hybrids. First generation hybrids produce seeds in very high quantities. But this seed, while good for eating, is not good for planting; it would produce a poor crop.

Q: What is called "super rice"?

A: This is a new plant type developed by IRRI that can produce yields of 12.5 tons per hectare. This new plant type, dubbed by media as "super rice," has fewer tillers than the currently grown high-yielding varieties, but the number of grains per panicle is 2 to 3 times greater. It has thicker and sturdier stems to prevent the rice plant, now with more grains, from toppling over.

Q: What are the most serious insect pests of rice?

A: Stem borers, green leafhoppers, brown planthoppers, and gall midge.

Q: What are stem borers?

A: Stem borers have been conventionally considered the most serious insect pest of rice throughout Asia. Stem borers cause severe losses during the vegetative and reproductive stages of the plant. When the vegetative tillers attacked by the stem borer larvae die, a condition known as "dead heart" results. If the attack occurs after the panicle emergence stage, the entire panicle dies without producing any grain. This condition is referred to as "white head." Some of the most important species of stem borers are the striped borer (Chilo suppressalis), yellow borer (Tryporyza incertula), the white borer (Tryporyza innotata), the dark-headed borer (Chilotraea polychryza), and the pink borer (Sesamia inferens).

Q: What do you refer to as integrated pest management (IPM)?

A: It is the mixture of biological, physical, and chemical methods integrated into one cohesive strategy. IPM combines resistant cultivars, agronomic practices known to reduce losses due to pests, and conservation practices that preserve and increase natural enemies. Pesticides are applied only when necessary.

Q: How can spiders help farmers?

A: Spiders are naturally voracious predators. One spider can immobilize five brown planthopper nymphs or adults in 2 or 3 minutes. Among the 300 diverse kinds of spiders, the wolf are the best predators.

Q: What are the major diseases of rice?

A: Among the major diseases are blast, bacterial leaf blight, tungro virus, and sheath blight.

Q: What will be the effect of low temperatures during the ripening stage of the rice plant?

A: Rice grains shatter easily from the panicle and grain dormancy is shorter when the temperatures during ripening are low. The rice plant produces more straw than grains.

Q: What will be the effect of high temperatures during the ripening stage of the rice plant?

A: High temperatures accelerate grain ripening, resulting in prematurity. Prematurity may result in partially chalky and milk-white kernels and thicker bran and aleurone layers.

Q: What do you refer to as allelopathy?

A: Allelopathy is the phenomenon of suppressing the growth of one plant species by another through the production and release of toxic substances.