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Keywords:

  • allelopathy;
  • Cambodian rice variety;
  • competition;
  • rice;
  • weed management

A series of field experiments was conducted during 1999 and 2000 to study the effect of six Cambodian rice lines that had been selected for their allelopathic potential on the growth of three weed species (barnyardgrass, small umbrella sedge, and water primrose). The results from 2 years' study demonstrate that powerful weed-establishment and growth-suppressive mechanisms were present in all of the rice lines tested. This mechanism was equally active on all three weed species studied. Across all the rice lines and across all the weed species, weed establishment was reduced by 71%, the final plant height was reduced by 49%, and the dry biomass was reduced by 80%. A tentative comparison between the effects of the Cambodian rice lines and those of previously characterized allelopathic and non-allelopathic rice lines revealed that approximately three-quarters of the weed growth suppression in the Cambodian lines could be attributed to resource competition and one-quarter could be attributed to allelopathy, although this analysis did not take into account morphological differences between the two types of rice. Such weed growth-suppressing activity could be particularly useful in subsistence farming systems where the use of selective herbicides is prohibitive or when organic rice production is the objective. The use of rice lines that suppress the growth of weeds is likely to be a potent supplement to present weed management practises and will reduce production costs and the potential for environmental pollution, as well as alleviate some of the social constraints that are associated with labor-intensive manual weeding.