In July 2022, LSU AgCenter rice agronomist Irish Pabuayon joined the faculty at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station. There she studies best management practices for rice production including ratoon crops and crawfish rotations. Photo by Derek Albert/LSU AgCenter
A researcher with a decade of agronomy experience in both the Philippines and the U.S. has joined the LSU AgCenter H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station.
Irish Pabuayon, who started as an assistant professor at the station this summer, will be responsible for agronomy research aimed at helping producers maximize productivity.
“My program will continue supporting the Louisiana producers and the agriculture community in general by developing updated and efficient agronomic recommendation packages for new and soon-to-be developed rice cultivars,” she said. “The station is continuously developing and releasing new cultivars, so it is very important that each cultivar is equipped with agronomic recommendations that properly fit its characteristics.”
Pabuayon comes to the AgCenter from Texas Tech University, where she earned master’s and doctoral degrees in plant and soil science with concentrations in agronomy and crop physiology. During her studies and a subsequent yearlong stint as a postdoctoral research associate, her work focused on successful use of limited water resources, plant partitioning, updated fertility requirements for newer cotton cultivars, cropping systems and economic implications of efficient fertilizer use.
Before working in Texas, Pabuayon spent five years as a field crop researcher at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. There, she managed the long-term continuous cropping experiment, or LTCCE, which started in the 1960s and is the world’s longest-running experiment for a triple rice cropping system. The goal of the experiment is to determine the maximum productivity of one hectare of land, and three crops of rice are produced each year.
Pabuayon holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of the Philippines.
At the Rice Research Station, Pabuayon plans to focus on helping farmers increase output while minimizing losses of fertilizer, herbicides and other inputs.
“This can lead to a more profitable and sustainable system from the standpoint of economics and long-term management,” she said.
She also is interested in updating existing management strategies to help make rice production more resilient in the face of changing weather patterns.
Other plans include conducting in-depth analysis of whole-plant nutrient requirements, researching the best strategies for ratoon crop management, studying rice and crawfish intercropping, and using new technologies.
Pabuayon said she is looking forward to what’s to come in her new role at the rice station.
“I hope to work closely with the diverse research and extension program at the LSU AgCenter through shared research opportunities, outreach and other collaboration,” she said.