In Hungary rice (
L.) is cultivated under flooded conditions. Direct seeding into the soil is applied usually. The optimal sowing date is a key factor necessary to the success of this annual crop because of the relatively short growing season. The main objective of this research was to: (1) analyse duration of period from sowing to emergence at different temperature values, (2) determine base temperature of this phenophase and (3) establish a thermal time model for rice emergence. To do this, growth chamber experiments with 5 Hungarian cultivars were conducted to determine the time to median emergence (E
) at constant temperature of 14 to 34 °C in 2 °C steps. The sowing depth was 2 cm, and moisture was not a limiting factor. It was found that the critical thermal zone, which is of highest practical importance, is between 14 and 16 °C. At these values the E
is 23.9 and 13.4 days, respectively, showing a border between unfavourable and acceptable conditions. In the temperature interval between 26 and 34 °C the time needed for emergence was only 3.3 to 4.4 days. Variety differences were also detected. Base temperature was found between 9.8 and 10.9 °C. The thermal time requirements of 4 cultivars varied between 69 and 73 °C day. Data of field experiment with 9 sowing dates and a pot experiment with 3 sowings confirmed that our thermal time model can successfully simulate the emergence of rice.