Row rice could help Sullivans, others improve rice production efficiency

Father-son team finding furrow-irrigated rice can pay dividends when Mother Nature serves up lemons.

Mike Sullivan says researchers from the USDA-ARS Delta Water Management Research Unit at Arkansas State University have taught him and his son, Ryan, they don’t have to keep water pumped to the levee gates to grow rice successfully.

That goes against everything Mike was taught when he first started growing rice in the 1980s. But new practices such as multiple-inlet rice irrigation, alternating wetting and drying and now furrow-irrigated or row rice are helping them and other growers save on water and pumping costs.

Sullivan told farmers attending the Mississippi County Water Management meeting Tuesday (Aug. 8) that planting into a lightly-tilled bed, rolling out polypipe and watering the row rice up proved beneficial in what proved to be a challenging year for pulling conventional levees in their rice.

To watch other video from the meeting, click on

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