Field bank (cultivated rice, wild rice and related genera)

Contributors to this page: T.T. Chang Genetic Resources Centre-IRRI, Philippines (Ruaraidh Sackville Hamilton, Ken McNally, Flora de Guzman, Renato Reaño, Soccie Almazan,Adelaida Alcantara, Elizabeth Naredo); WARDA, Cotonou (Ines Sánchez); UPLB-University of the Philippines at Los Baños (Teresita Borromeo).

Provides guidelines and recommendations about the best practices for the daily management of genebanks, describing when and how field genebanks should be used for rice. Best practices are shown in a pale blue color with bullets. Justification for each best practice is given within brackets (…).

A rice field banks conserves rice as live plants in the field or screenhouses. Greenhouses and experimental rice fields at IRRI. (photo: IRRI)

When should be used?

Rice field banks conserves rice as live plants in the field or screenhouses.

There are more than 20 different species of wild rice scattered across tropical Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean that need to be well conserved. These species are from a rich pool of diversity from different habitats, from sunny open lands to shady forests.

At the IRRI genebank there are more than 3000 potted wild rice specimens being conserved in a large screenhouse.

How should be done?

Sample and storage specifications

Field bank for cultivated rice:

Before transplanting


Field maintenance and management

Field bank for wild rices:

Choice of environment



Different varieties of rice being grown inside an IRRI green house. (photo: IRRI)

Field maintenance and management





Harvesting materials

Panicle bagging:

Rice being grown inside an IRRI screen house. Notice the bagged panicles. (photo: IRRI)


Disposal of contaminated materials

To ensure plants do not spread by seeds or rhizomes, specific measures should be followed:

Note: These protocols were defined for the conditions at IRRI in Los Banos. Modifications and adjustments should be done (and re-adjusted regularly) to determine the best conditions for individual species. Screenhouse facilities should also be continuously upgraded to suit their specific needs. However, understanding plant morphology and knowledge on the natural growing habitat of the different species are significantly important in the initial seed multiplication of this germplasm. These will provide the necessary information on how to properly manage the species.

Routine monitoring methods

Check regularly

System for tracking materials/inventory system during field bank storage

(Look for recommendations!!)

Recording information during field bank storage

(Look for recommendations!!)

References and further reading

International Rice GeneBank Operations Manual

Rice Knowledge Bank

The Genebanks

The 11 CGIAR genebanks currently conserve 730,000 of cereals and grain legumes, forage crops, tree species, root and tuber crops, bananas and crop wild relatives.