English (en) | Change Language



Beginning in early June, ECHO Florida interns have been studying agronomic crops. Shealyn Otto and Sammie Brittain are two interns who’ve been applying their knowledge on the farm, learning about rice. Using the 'Diamond' variety of rice, along with the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method, these interns are experiencing hands-on learning. 

The planting process has taken two weeks, while harvest won’t be until late October-early November. To begin the SRI method, the interns soak the seeds for 24 hours, then plant them into a seedling bed and water them three times a day. The growth process of the seedlings ranges from eight to fifteen days before they are ready to be transplanted. While this process takes place, the pigs of ECHO’s farm eat away at the weeds of the rice paddy. The interns then extract what is left to prepare the paddy for planting. This June, the interns planted around 60 grams of rice. 

“It’s been interesting because the research makes it feel like everything has to be measured and perfect, when in reality the process is a lot more flexible,” Shealyn Otto.

“This process has given me a greater appreciation of that cup of rice I have for dinner, knowing how much work went into it,” Sammie Brittain said.

The interns will present their findings to their instructors Stacy Swartz, Andy Cotarelo, and fellow interns in September. The interns notice the benefits of using the SRI method of planting versus the traditional method, as they see the potential of higher yield for farmers globally. SRI requires less seed, pesticides, and herbicides and only needs to be flooded once a week. Experimenting with SRI allows interns at ECHO to discover methods that can benefit farmers globally. 

“We have the opportunity to do experiments at ECHO that other farmers may be unable to because growing rice is their livelihood,'' Sammie Brittain said. “We can then send the research from our experiments to those same farmers.”

To learn more about the SRI method and its potential benefits, here is a link with more information. SRI, the System of Rice Intensification: Less Can be More