Adha Fatmah Siregar, Ibrahim Adamy Sipahutar, Husnain , Heri Wibowo , Kuniaki Sato, Toshiyuki Wakatsuki, and Tsugiyuki Masunaga
Rice cultivation in our study site at Central Java, Indonesia, is constrained by water scarcity and blast disease problems. A field experiment was thus conducted to evaluate the effect of water management and silicon (Si) application (with 500 kg ha-1 of silica gel) on improving rice growth and productivity and blast disease infection in Jakenan, Central Java. Split plot in randomized complete block design with 4 replications was used. The results showed that two water saving methods, intermittent (IT) and aerobic rice (AR) increased rice yield compared to conventional flooding water management. Further, IT showed better root growth and hence lodging resistance and decreased blast disease infection. IT had higher yield potential compared to AR although the yield of IT and AR were not statistically different. Si application gave significant effect on reducing leaf and neck blast infection and also increased stomata density (p < 0.01) in all water treatments. Si application did not result in increased yield but exhibited potential towards improving rice plant growth and production. Since Si fertilizer was never used in rice cultivation in Indonesia, the study reveals that IT combine with Si application was a suitable management for rice production in dry season in water limited Central Java region.
Keywords: blast disease, rice yield, Si application, stomata density, water management