Opportunities for Rice Research and Production


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  • Slides for presentation to the World Rice Research Conference held in Tsukuba, November 5-7, 2004, following opening session in Tokyo, November 4, 2004. These slides can be used or adapted to assist SRI colleagues in explaining this methodology to others.
  • This is the most succinct statement of what SRI ‘is.’ We emphasize the principles and methods rather than techniques because we regard SRI as a ‘methodology’ rather than as a ‘technology.’ SRI is not a fixed set of practices but rather involves practices that we know can succeed to the extent that they apply, appropriately for the conditions, the principle that constitute SRI.
  • This is a bold claim, but it is the starting point for understanding SRI. We say this based on growing experience with SRI methods and results from around the world. In 1999, SRI was known and practiced in only one country in the world, Madagascar, where it was developed. There are at least 21 countries now where the merits of SRI theory and practice have been seen.
  • SRI has been hard to get accepted because it does not depend on either of the two main strategies of the Green Revolution: it does not require any change in the rice variety used (genotype) since the methods evoke more productive phenotypes from any rice genotype; nor does it require an increase in external inputs -- the latter can in fact be reduced. Water requirements and costs of production can also be reduced. This sounds truly ‘too good to be true,’ but pictures above showed how the plant can become a more vigorous and productive organism, able to acquire more nutrients and sustain larger panicles of rice.
  • Because we have seen SRI methods succeed so often, and often spectacularly, in a wide variety of conditions, we have confidence that if they are given a fair test, they will prove themselves under most circumstances. Because we are dealing with biological phenomena, one does not get the same results each time or everywhere. In biology, small inputs can yield big outputs – under favorable conditions, with a good environment for growth; or a lot of inputs can produce no output at all – if conditions are unsuitable for sustaining growth. But at least 90% of the time, we have had positive results with these methods, so we are confident in recommending that they be tried.
  • Picture provided by Dr. Koma Yang Saing, director, Cambodian Center for the Study and Development of Agriculture (CEDAC), September 2004.
  • This graph shows results from research on SRI done by the Sichuan Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Same findings were found at the full heading stage (except there was less dry matter in the panicle). [With. Leaf stands for Withered Leaf.]
  • Figure from Sichuan Academy of Agricultural Sciences research on SRI, comparing the leaf area of SRI rice plants with conventional rice plants, with same variety and otherwise the same growing conditions.
  • This figure from a report made by Nanjing Agricultural University researchers to the Sanya conference in 2002, and reproduced from those proceedings, shows that the oxygenation ability of rice roots growing under SRI conditions are about double the ability, throughout the growth cycle, compared to the same variety grown under conventional conditions. At maturity, the SRI roots have still almost 3x the oxygenation ability of conventionally grown rice plants.
  • This figure shows research findings from the China National Rice Research Institute (CNRRI), published in the proceedings of the first international SRI conference, held at Sanya, China, in April 2002. Two different rice varieties were used with SRI and conventional (CK) methods. The second variety responded more positively to the new methods than did the first in terms of leaf area and dry matter as measured at different elevations. But both varieties had more leaf area and dry matter when grown with SRI methods than with conventional methods.
  • Figures from a paper presented by Dr. Tao to international rice conference organized by the China National Rice Research Institute for the International Year of Rice and World Food Day, held in Hangzhou, October 15-17, 2004. Dr. Tao has been doing research on SRI since 2001 to evaluate its effects in physiological terms.
  • Picture provided by Dr. P. V. Satyanarayana, the plant breeder at Maruteru agricultural research station who developed this variety which was already very popular with farmers before it was found to respond very well to SRI management practices.
  • These two rice plants are ‘twins,’ planted on the same day in the same nursery from the same seed bag. The one on the right was taken out at 9 days and transplanted into an SRI environment. The one on the left was kept in the flooded nursery until its 52 nd day, when it was taken out for transplanting (in Cuba, transplanting of commonly done between 50 and 55 DAP). The difference in root growth and tillering (5 vs. 42) is spectacular. We think this difference is at least in part attributable to the contributions of soil microorganisms producing phytohormones in the rhizosphere that benefit plant growth and performance.
  • These data were reported by Prof. Robert Randriamiharisoa, head of the Agriculture Department at the University of Antananarivo before his untimely death in August 2004, to the Sanya conference in 2002. They give the first direct evidence of the contribution that soil microbes make to the high yields achieved with SRI methods. The bacterium Azospirillum was studied as an ‘indicator species’ presumably reflecting overall levels of microbial populations and activity in and around the plant roots. It was an organism that could be reliably studied and counted with laboratory facilities in Madagascar. Somewhat surprisingly, there was no significant difference in Azospirillum populations in the rhizosphere (the soil around the roots). But there were huge differences in the counts of Azospirillum in the roots themselves according to soil types (clay vs. loam) and cultivation practices (traditional vs. SRI) and nutrient amendments (none vs. NPK vs. compost). NPK amendments with SRI produced very good results, on clay soil a yield five times higher than traditional methods and no amendments. But compost used with SRI gives a yield six times higher. NPK decreases Azospirillum (and other) microbial populations, so most/much of the N that produced the 9 t/ha yield was coming from inorganic sources. The higher 10.5 t/ha yield obtained with compost depended entirely on organic N. Organic methods were capable of producing a tripling of yield on loam soil and a quintupling on clay soil. These kinds of evaluations will give somewhat different numbers according to soil quality, variety used, etc., but the overall relationship seen here should be quite robust. On poorer soil, SRI methods do not have much effect, but when enriched with compost, even this poor soil can give a huge increase in production, attributable to the largest of the increases in microbial activity in the roots. At least, this is how we interpret these findings. Similar research should be repeated many times, with different soils, varieties and climates. We consider these findings significant because they mirror results we have seen in other carefully measured SRI results in Madagascar. Tragically, Prof. Randriamiharisoa, who initiated this work, passed away in August, 2004, so we will no longer have his acute intelligence and probing mind to advance these frontiers of knowledge.
  • In on-farm research, Barison analyzed the rice plants on 108 farms where farmers were using both SRI and conventional growing methods, so that there would be minimal influence of inter-farm or inter-farmer differences. Same varieties and same soils. The QUEFTS modeling exercise is quite standard in plant evaluation. The SRI plants had a very different capacity to take up N (and P and K) and to convert them into grain.
  • This field was harvested in March 2004 with representatives from the Department of Agriculture present to measure the yield. Picture provided by George Rakotondrabe, staff member with the Landscape Development Interventions project, which has worked with Association Tefy Saina in spreading the use of SRI to reduce land pressures on the remaining rainforest areas.
  • Picture provided by Gamini Batuwitage, at the time Sr. Asst. Secretary of Agriculture, Sri Lanka, of SRI field that yielded 13 t/ha in 2000, the first year SRI was used in that country. Such performance is what got SRI started there.
  • Picture provided by Dr. Rena Perez of SRI field in 2002 at the cooperative where SRI got its start in Cuba. This field gave yields of about 6 t/ha before. This cooperative has expanded from 2 ha to 20 ha in SRI.
  • Picture provided by Dr. Zhu Defeng, China National Rice Research Institute, September 2004. Dr. Yang Ren Cui, dean of the Fujian College of Agriculture and Forestry, who has been evaluating SRI also in Yunnan Province, reported also a 18 t ha -1 yield there. A professor at Sichuan Agricultural University monitoring SRI trials in Yunnan measured and certified a yield of 20.4 t ha -1 there as probably the highest rice yield yet recorded. I have seen the certificate (in Chinese) but have no picture. (The numbers were legible even if the words were not – a translation was given by Mr. Liu Zhibin, Meishan.)
  • This is a brief historical background. Fr. de Laulanie came to Madagascar from France in 1961 and started working on improvement of rice opportunities for the people there. It was not even tried anywhere outside China until 1999 (Nanjing Agricultural University), but it is now spreading rapidly. Vietnam is the 21 st country where SRI results have been demonstrated and documented. The 19 th and 20 th were Mozambique and Senegal. Fr. de Laulani é came to Madagascar from France in 1961 and spend the next (last) 34 years of his life working with farmers to evolve a system that could address their problems of hunger and poverty, with minimum dependence on external inputs. His only published writing on SRI and its ‘invention’ is his article published in 1993 in the journal Tropicultura (Brussels), Vol. 11, pp. 110-114. “The father of SRI” is a real father. In 1990, with Malagasy friends who were similarly committed to rural development in Madagascar, he established an NGO, Association Tefy Saina , which carried on his work after his death in 1995.
  • Fr. de Laulanie was born in 1920 and got a first degree in agriculture from the agricultural college in Paris that has become Paris-Grignon, the leading French agricultural university. He graduated in 1939 but decided not to pursue agriculture, given the changes in his and others’ lived caused by the outbreak of World War II, and entered a Jesuit seminar in 1941 to make his life one of service, graduating in 1945. In 1961, as noted on the previous slide, he was sent by the Jesuit order to Madagascar, where decided that he could probably make his greatest contribution to others’ welfare by helping to improve rice productivity.
  • Rafaralahy and Rabendrasana began working with Fr. de Laulanie in the mid-1980s while they were directing the government’s handicraft (artisanat) agency and assisted him with the school for young farmers that he had established in Antsirabe. In 1990, after it became clear that the government was not going to give any assistance or boost to SRI, Sebastien and Justin and some other friends joined Fr. de Laulanie in forming Tefy Saina, resigning their government jobs to bring the benefits of SRI to their fellow Malagasys. In 2003, Sebastien and Justin received the award for Environmental Protection the European Slow Food Movement based in Naples, Italy.
  • This summarizes the core practices of SRI, based on the principles discussed above. Weed control with the rotating hoe is one of the most controversial aspects because it thought to be ‘too labor-intensive’ for adoption on many countries. We have evidence that the increased yield from additional weedings beyond the basic minimum of two will yield 0.5-2.5 t. ha -1 additional yield of rice without other inputs, so the benefit-cost ratio can be 5-10 times. But this is something that needs systematic research and evaluation, to determine whether and to what extent we can guarantee to farmers a cost-effective return on their weeding. Farmers are already finding ways to reduce the labor costs of weeding, and also of crop establishment, as seen in the following slides.
  • This was developed in 2003 by Mr. L. Reddy, to replace the use of strings and sticks to mark lines for planting, or the use of a wooden “rake” that could mark lines when pulled across the paddy in two directions. This implement, which can be built for any spacing desired, enables farmers, after it is pulled across the paddy in one direction, to plant SRI seedlings in a 25x250 cm square pattern. It saves as lot of labor time for transplanting because only one pass is needed across the field, and this is wider than a rake could be. Even wider ones have been built. Mr. Reddy is a very innovative and successful SRI farmer, with a superb yield last rabi season, measured and reported by the Department of Extension in Andhra Pradesh.
  • This was built by Luis Romero, one of the first successful SRI farmers in Cuba, to plant germinated seeds at 40x40 cm spacing. The seeds are put in the respective bins and are dropped on the field in a square pattern as the bins rotate. For his field conditions, Luis found that 40x40 cm was too wide because of weed problems. The canopy did not close quickly enough. So he has built one with less wide spacing. His neighbor built a seeder with 12 bins, four times as wide, that can be pulled by oxen to further save labor. The important thing to note is that farmers are working on their own ways to reduce SRI labor requirements because they see the benefits of wide spacing, aerated soil, etc.
  • Mr. Swaminathan built this weeder which removes weeds and aerates the soil at the same time so that four rows can be simultaneously cultivated/weeded, cutting the required time in half. He has also devised an innovative system for crop establishment that is especially suited to hot climates. He has named it the Kadiramangalam system, and it is described on the SRI home page (http://ciifad.cornell.edu/sri/) We welcome farmer innovation and expect it to continue to improve SRI methods and performance.
  • Mr. Ariyaratna has 2 ha and thus found it difficult to manage the weeding of his SRI field himself. So he designed and built this weeder which he says enables him to weed his field in one day’s work. The cost of construction, with a Chinese motor attached, was $800. This could be lowered if the weeder were mass produced.
  • Despite (or maybe because of) the positive feedback coming on SRI from many countries, there has been this year a flurry of journal articles critiquing (dismissing) SRI. These are respected agronomists who, however, are making these claims with little or no systematic, empirical evidence to support them. The FCR article relied on data from three small trials done in China, not following any protocol that we would recognize as proper SRI methodology. The Hunan trials had so much N fertilizer applied that the SRI rice lodged, something rare (because SRI should be done with little external fertilization and preferably with organic fertilizers). The researchers ignored the 4-5 years of research results from leading rice research institutions in China (CNRRI, CNHRRDC, SAAS, NAU, CAU) in making these unfounded claims. Fortunately, a growing number of excellent scientists in China and elsewhere are engaging with SRI so that soon the accumulation of scientifically-acceptable data will make these dismissive claims irrelevant. The growing use of SRI by farmers will be the definitive refutation of such claims and dismissals.
  • SRI defies usual logic – that it takes more input to get more outputs. But our proposition that “less” can produce “more,” for a number of different but reinforcing reasons, can be well supported from the scientific literature.
  • There are, as is to be expected, some costs or uncertainties associated with SRI, but these are surprisingly few, and most can be mitigated or have some offsetting benefits. The claim that SRI is more risky has been shown to be incorrect in Cambodia and Sri Lanka by independent evaluations done for GTZ and for IWMI, respectively.
  • The French development assistance program supported a small-scale irrigation system improvement project on the Haut Plateau for five years, 1994/95-1998/99. It was not introducing SRI as part of the project, but it was monitoring production. This table was compiled from Annexes 13 and 14 of a report by M. Robert Hirsch to the agency in 2000. The average yields with SRI compared to ‘improved methods’ involving external inputs and ‘peasant practice’ are very similar to the results that CIIFAD and its NGO partner, Association Tefy Saina, got working with farmers in the peripheral zone around Ranomafana National Park, east of Fianarantsoa. Farmer practice averaged 2 t/ha, and SRI averaged 8+ t/ha during this same period.
  • The Center for Integrated Agricultural University in the College of Humanities and Development at China Agricultural University did a socioeconomic evaluation of SRI in August 2004. The village selected had only 7 SRI users least year, but 398 this year. The average size of SRI plot had also increased 14-fold, with a very positive attitude in the village toward SRI, for reasons seen on the next slide.
  • 2003 was a drought year. The regular rice methods gave one-third lower yield; average yield that year with SRI methods (for the 7 farmers who tried them) was about a 4% increase, with SRI producing almost 50% more than regular methods. That has spurred the spread of SRI. In 2004, with more normal weather, SRI increased another 15%. The water saving calculated is also an incentive. But the survey of farmers found that LABOR SAVING with SRI methods was the most attractive advantage in their opinion.
  • This lists a number of advantages with SRI methods that have been seen over and above the yield increases, which are the simplest and often most dramatic evidence of SRI advantages. Each could be elaborated at some length if time permitted.
  • This picture from Sri Lanka shows two fields having the same soil, climate and irrigation access, during a drought period. On the left, the rice grown with conventional practices, with continuous flooding from the time of transplanting, has a shallower root system that cannot withstand water stress. On the right, SRI rice receiving less water during its growth has deeper rooting, and thus it can continue to thrive during the drought. Farmers in Sri Lanka are coming to accept SRI in part because it reduces their risk of crop failure during drought. Picture courtesy of Gamini Batuwitage.
  • The Paraboowa Farmers Association in Sri Lanka has a dozen ‘wild rice’ varieties that it can grow for marketing or for export. The rice is grown ‘organically’ so can get a premium price in overseas markets. 17 tons have been exported to Italy already. The farmers want to preserve these varieties for future generations, and are taking up SRI so they can do this – as well as get higher incomes. This enables them to do well by doing good.
  • Prof. Ma Jun in his paper to the Haerbin conference included data on rice quality that he had collected. They showed SRI rice grains (from three different spacings within the SRI range) to be clearly superior in two major respects to conventionally-grown grains (two spacings). A reduction in chalkiness makes the rice more palatable. An increase in outturn is a ‘bonus’ on top of the higher yields of paddy (unmilled) rice that farmers get with SRI methods. We have seen this kind of improvement in outturn rates in Cuba, India and Sri Lanka, about 15%. More research on other aspects of SRI grain quality should be done, including nutritional content.
  • SRI has only been known and used outside of Madagascar for five years. China and Indonesia were the first countries to validate its methods and begin using it, in 1999. With no project funding or donor support -- only two small grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, and support from CIIFAD, plus a lot of volunteered contributions of time and effort and the decentralized, small-scale support of many institutions around the world – SRI has by September 2004 been demonstrated in 21 countries: Bangladesh, Benin, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Gambia, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Laos, Madagascar, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Leading research institutions in the three main rice-producing countries (China, India and Indonesia) have evaluated SRI for 3-5 years and are satisfied that it will make a major contribution to improving rice production in their countries.
  • This is a table that Fr. de Laulanie worked out based on the work of the Japanese scientist Katayama who studies (discovered) phyllochrons as a regular interval of plant growth in gramineae species (rice, wheat, barley). For more on this, see Stoop et al. (2002) in AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS.
  • This shows graphically the pattern of tiller growth that is possible with an intact and functioning root system in rice plants – 84 tillers within 12 cycles of growth (12 phyllochrons). Some rice plants have over 100 tillers, in which case, they have entered into the 13 th phyllochron of growth.
  • Summary results from two sets of factorial trials in two different agroecological settings in 2000 and 2001 by honors students in the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Antananarivo. The first setting was on the west coast of Madagascar, at an agricultural experiment center near Morondava, with a tropical climate, near sea level, and poor sandy soil. (This location was chosen because there are few pest or disease problems during that season which could affect plant performance.) The second was on the high plateau near the village of Anjomakely, 18 km south of Antananarivo, with a temperate climate, about 1200 m elevation, and better soils, comparing results on better clay soil and poorer loam soil. In 2000, Jean de Dieu Rajonarison did trials on 288 plots (2.5x2.5 m) at the Centre de Baobab, with sandy soil [ sable roux], evaluating the effects of five factors: variety – HYV [2798] vs. traditional [riz rouge]; age of seedling [16-day vs. 8-day], seedlings per hill [3 vs. 1], water management [continuous flooding vs. water control, with deliberate aeration of the soil during the vegetative growth period], and nutrient amendments [none vs. NPK vs. compost]. The study was designed with spacing as a sixth factor [25x25 vs. 30x30cm], sok that there were 96 combinations (2x2x2x3x2x2), with three replications. But both spacings were within the SRI range, and the average yield distinguished by spacing [each N = 144] was identical, 3.18 t/ha. So the analysis deals with only five factors, having six replications for each average reported. Plots were randomly distributed according to a modified Fisher bloc design, except for water management, for which the plot with these two different treatments had to be separate to avoid effects of lateral seepage. In 2000, Andry Andriankaja did trials on 240 plots (2.5x2.5m) on a farmer’s fields near Anjomakely, using a traditional rice variety [ riz rouge], evaluating the effects of five factors: soil [clay vs. loam], age of seedling [20-day vs. 8-day – with colder temperatures, the onset of the 4 th phyllochron of growth is later than at Morondava], seedlings per hill [3 vs. 1], water management [continuous flooding vs. water control, with deliberate aeration of the soil during the vegetative growth period], and nutrient amendments [none vs. NPK vs. compost]. The reason why there are only 240 trials rather than 288 is that trials with no amendments were done only on the clay soil plots, not on the poorer loam soil plots, which were known to have low inherent fertility. This made for 40 combinations, with six replications. [The spacing factor as in the Morondava trials was not significant, with a difference of only 80 kg/ha for the two sets, each N = 120.] Again, all yields reported are averages for 6 replicated plots randomly distributed.
  • This is a SRI rice nursery in Sri Lanka, showing one way (but only one of many ways) to grow young seedlings. The soil in this raised bed was a mixture of one-third soil, one-third compost, and one-third chicken manure. (The flooding around it is because the surrounding field is being readied for transplanting; normally there would not be so much water standing around the nursery.) The nursery is build up with three lengths of bamboo, to raise it and keep it dryer, and so that the improved nursery mix can be easily put into the frame for the nursery.
  • Here the seedlings are being removed. We would recommend that they be lifted with a trowel, to have minimum disturbance of the roots, but these seedlings are so vigorous that this manual method is successful. This farmer has found that his seedlings, when transplanted with two leaves at time of transplanting, can already put out a third leave the next day after transplanting which indicates that there was no transplant 'shock.‘ Usually when transplanting is done in the conventional way, it takes 7-14 days for the transplanted seedlings to recover from the shock and resume their growth.
  • Here the field is being 'marked' for transplanting with a simple wooden 'rake.' If the soil is too wet, these lines will not remain long enough for transplanting. There are drains within the field to carry excess water away from the root zone. The roller-market shown in slide 29 is starting to be used in India and will surely spread to other countries. It can be fabricated locally in India for about $6. This wooden rake costs about 50 cents. The saving in time makes the more elaborate implement a good investment.
  • Here are seedlings being removed from a clump for transplanting. Note that the yellow color comes from the sunlight reflecting off the plant. The plant's color is actually a rich green, indicating no N deficiency. Their quick recovery from the transplanting shows their health and vigor. At this young age, the seed sac is still attached to the root and should be kept attached during the transplanting process. If the nursery soil is like the one described for slide 77, the seedlings can be easily separated for transplanting. There is not great harm or loss if two are transplanted together, but single seedlings in good soil give better yield than two seedlings together. Once transplanters get used to the new method, they find it easier (less back pain) and quicker. In Cambodia, farmers now say that they save 10 days of work per hectare with SRI transplanting methods.
  • This is the most important picture in the set. Here the seedlings are being set into the soil, very shallow (only 1-2 cm deep). Notice that the seedlings already transplanted are barely visible at the intersections of the lines. This operation proceeds very quickly once the transplanters have gained some skill and confidence in the method. As noted already, these seedling set out with two leaves can already have a third leaf by the next day.
  • The SRI field looks rather sparse and unproductive at first. Up to the 5th or 6th week, SRI fields look rather miserable. At first, farmers may wonder why they ever tried this method and 'wasted' their precious land with such a crazy scheme. But the SRI plot seen here will yield twice as much rice as the surrounding ones, once the rapid tillering (and root growth) begins between 30 and 45 days. By the end of the season, rice plants can have expanded and flourished like the ones seen in the opening slides.
  • This is one of many happy Sri Lankan farmers with his SRI field nearing harvest time. Some young farmers have taken up growing "eco-rice," i.e., traditional varieties grown organically to be sold for a much higher price than conventional HYV rice, because of better texture, taste, smell and aroma and more assurance of healthy food. SRI in this way is starting to contribute to the preservation of rice biodiversity. As noted above, SRI methods work well with hybrid varieties and HYVs. These give the highest yields with SRI methods. But as SRI methods can double or triple traditional-variety yields, these old varieties become economically more advantageous with SRI. Much more remains to be learned about and from SRI. But we have now enough accumulated evidence, based on experience in farmers' fields, not just on experiment stations, and consistent with what is known in the literature (though often not previously connected up to promote increased rice productivity), to have confidence that this methodology will contribute to greater food security and a better environment. SRI, developed by Fr. de Laulanie and promoted by his friends in Association Tefy Saina, and by a growing number of colleagues in many countries around the world, could help to improve other crop production. The world does not need a doubling of rice production, but it does need increased productivity in the rice sector, as this is the largest single agricultural sector in the world in terms of the resources devoted to it. By raising the productivity of land, labor, water and capital in the rice sector, we should be able to meet our staple food needs with less of these resources, which have significant opportunity costs. We hope that SRI methods will enable farmers to redeploy some of their land, labor, water and capital to producing other, higher-value and more nutritious crops, thereby enhancing the well-being of rural households and urban populations. The urban poor should benefit from lower prices for rice that will follow from higher productivity. SRI is not a labor-intensive method that will 'keep rice production backward,' as was alleged by its critics in Madagascar for many years, but a strategy for achieving diversification and modernization in the agricultural sector.
  • Opportunities for Rice Research and Production

    1. 1. The System of Rice Intensification (SRI): Capitalizing on Existing Yield Potentials by Changing Management Practices to Increase Rice Productivity with Fewer Inputs and More Profitability Norman Uphoff, Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD) World Rice Research Conference, Nov. 7, 2004
    2. 2. What Is SRI? A set of principles & methods to get more productive PHENOTYPES from any existing GENOTYPE of rice This is accomplished with SRI methods (a) by inducing greater ROOT GROWTH , and (b) by nurturing more abundant and diverse populations of SOIL BIOTA -- through changing the management of plants, soil, water, and nutrients
    3. 3. For Centuries, Even Millennia: <ul><li>We have FLOODED rice plants, drowning their roots and causing roots to degenerate </li></ul><ul><li>We have CROWDED plants, inhibiting the growth potential of their shoots and roots </li></ul><ul><li>We now apply various FERTILIZERS and AGROCHEMICALS that affect the soil biota </li></ul><ul><li>These provide many services to rice plants: N fixation, P solubilization, protection against diseases and abiotic stresses, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Standard practices interfere with these benefits </li></ul>
    4. 4. Different Paradigms of Production: <ul><li>The GREEN REVOLUTION paradigm: </li></ul><ul><li>(a) Changed the genetic potential of plants, and </li></ul><ul><li>(b) Increased the use of external inputs – with more water, more fertilizer, insecticides, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>This succeeded, but at fairly high (growing) cost </li></ul><ul><li>SRI just changes the way that farmers manage their plants, soil, water and nutrients , reducing water use and costs of production while raising factor productivity and farmers’ income </li></ul><ul><li>These benefits result from (a) promoting the growth of root systems , and (b) increasing the abundance and diversity of soil organisms , which in turn contribute to plant productivity </li></ul>
    5. 5. SRI Sounds ‘Too Good to be True’ – But It Is True, as seen from papers <ul><li>These countries represent over 2/3 of the world’s production/consumption of rice </li></ul><ul><li>No longer any question whether SRI works </li></ul><ul><li>SRI practices change the E in the G x E equation: get more productive phenotypes </li></ul><ul><li>But there is still much about SRI that is not well understood – work in progress </li></ul><ul><li>Many opportunities for scientific work on soil biology, plant physiology and nutrition, genetic signaling, disease resistance, etc. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Cambodian farmer with rice plant grown from single seed, using SRI methods and traditional variety
    7. 7. Comparison of Dry Matter Accumulation (kg ha -1 ) for SRI vs. Control (CK) Practices at Maturity (Zheng et al., SAAS, 2003)
    8. 8. Figure 1. Change of leaf area index (LAI) during growth cycle (Zheng et al., 2003)
    9. 9. Root Oxygenation Ability with SRI vs. Conventionally-Grown Rice Research done at Nanjing Agricultural University, Wuxianggeng 9 variety (Wang et al. 2002)
    10. 10. Plant Physical Structure and Light Intensity Distribution at Heading Stage (Tao et al., CNRRI, 2002)
    11. 11. 47.9% 34.7% Non-Flooding Rice Farming Technology in Irrigated Paddy Field, Dr. Tao Longxing, China National Rice Research Institute, 2004
    12. 12. Roots of a single rice plant (MTU 1071) grown at Agricultural Research Station Maruteru, AP, India, 2003 season
    13. 13. Two rice plants in Cuba: same variety (VN 2084) and same age (52 days); 42 tillers on SRI plant vs. 5 tillers on the other
    14. 15. Figure 8: Linear regression relationship between N uptake and grain yield for SRI and conventional methods, using QUEFTS modeling methodology (Barison, 2002) Results are from on-farm comparisons (N = 108)
    15. 16. Madagascar -- SRI field at Ambatovy, 2003
    16. 17. Sri Lanka – SRI field, 2002, with yield of 13 t ha -1
    17. 18. Cuba -- CPA Camilo Cienfuegos cooperative -- 14 t ha -1
    18. 19. China -- SRI rice field, hybrid variety, Yunnan, 2004 – 18 t ha -1
    19. 20. The System of Rice Intensification <ul><li>Was evolved in Madagascar over 20 yrs by Fr. Henri de Laulanié, S.J. – working with farmers, observing, experimenting, also having some luck in 1983-84 season </li></ul><ul><li>SRI is now spreading around the world with positive results in 21+ countries: Bangladesh, Benin, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Gambia, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Laos, Madagascar, Myanmar, Mozambique, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam; more to come </li></ul><ul><li>Association Tefy Saina was set up in 1990 to promote SRI; CIIFAD partnership 1994 </li></ul>
    20. 21. Fr. de Laulani é not long before he died in 1995
    21. 22. Sebastien Rafaralahy and Justin Rabenandrasana, president and secretary of Association Tefy Saina
    22. 23. SRI Practices Should Always be Varied to Suit Conditions <ul><li>The basic practices -- starting points -- are: </li></ul><ul><li>Transplant young seedlings ( < 15 days ) – although direct-seeding is becoming an option </li></ul><ul><li>Wide spacing – single plants, in square pattern </li></ul><ul><li>Soil aeration – thru water management and weeding, so aerobic conditions prevail in soil </li></ul><ul><li>Organic matter added to enhance the soil – fertilizer not needed though it raises SRI yield </li></ul><ul><li>Weed control with ‘rotating hoe’ is recommended </li></ul><ul><li>Farmer innovation is an important part of SRI </li></ul>
    23. 24. Roller-marker devised by Lakshmana Reddy, East Godavari, AP, India, to mark a square pattern on field and save time in transplanting operations; his yield in 2003-04 season was 16.2 t/ha paddy rice (dry weight)
    24. 25. Seeder developed by Luis Romero, Cuba, for planting pregerminated seed, sowing 40x40 cm (too wide)
    25. 26. 4-row weeder designed by Gopal Swaminathan, Tamil Nadu, India
    26. 27. Motorized weeder developed by S. Ariyaratna, Sri Lanka
    27. 28. SRI is controversial in some circles <ul><li>“ Niche innovation” (Dobermann, Agric. Systems , 2004) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Voodoo science” ( Cassman and Sinclair, ACSSA , 2004) </li></ul><ul><li>“… [SRI] has no major role in improving rice production generally” ( Sheehy et al., Field Crops Research (2004) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Discussion of SRI is unfortunate because it implies SRI merits serious consideration. SRI does not deserve such consideration…” (Sinclair, Rice Today , 2004) </li></ul><ul><li>However, these critiques are not based on any extended or empirical work with SRI, which is unfortunate </li></ul><ul><li>Best refutation is the empirical results that can be reported from many different countries (purpose of this panel) </li></ul><ul><li>SRI creates new logic for rice production: Less gives more </li></ul>
    28. 29. LESS CAN PRODUCE MORE <ul><li>by utilizing biological potentials & processes </li></ul><ul><li>Smaller, younger seedlings become larger, more productive mature plants </li></ul><ul><li>Fewer plants per hill and per m 2 will give higher yield if used with other SRI practices </li></ul><ul><li>Half as much water produces more rice because aerobic soil conditions are better </li></ul><ul><li>Greater output is possible with use of </li></ul><ul><li>fewer or even no external/chemical input when soil communities are unimpaired – living soil is the key to SRI performance </li></ul>
    29. 30. What Are the Negatives? <ul><li>Labor requirements initially are increased but with experience, SRI can become: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>labor-neutral (GTZ evaluation in Cambodia) or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>even labor-saving (CAU evaluation in China) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Water control is necessary for best results, but can be achieved through investment/orgzn </li></ul><ul><li>Farmer learning = benefit as much as cost </li></ul><ul><li>Disadoption? – only reported in Madagascar </li></ul><ul><li>Nematodes? – problem in Thailand and Laos </li></ul><ul><li>No claim that SRI will be successful everywhere </li></ul>
    30. 32. CAU Evaluation of SRI in Xinsheng Village, Dongxi Township, Jianyang County, Sichuan Province, August 2004 <ul><li>2003 – 7 farmers used SRI (SAAS) </li></ul><ul><li>2004 – 398 farmers used SRI (65%) </li></ul><ul><li>2003 – SRI plot size average 0.07 mu </li></ul><ul><li>2004 – SRI plot size average 0.99 mu </li></ul><ul><li>86.6% of SRI farmers (65/75) said they would expand their SRI area next year or keep their whole rice area under SRI </li></ul>
    31. 33. Xinsheng Village, Dongxi Township RICE YIELD (kg mu -1 ) 2002 2003* 2004 Standard 403.73 297.88 375.77 Methods SRI -- 439.87 507.16 ----------------------------------------------------------- SRI Increase (%) +46.6% +34.8% *Drought year Water saving /mu -- calculated at 43.2% Farmers said labor-saving greatest benefit
    32. 34. Advantages of SRI – beyond yield <ul><li>Cost reduction – increased profitability </li></ul><ul><li>Lower capital requirements – accessible for poorer households – food security </li></ul><ul><li>Resistence to biotic stresses – less pest and disease problems, no agrochemicals </li></ul><ul><li>Resistance to abiotic stresses – greater drought, cold, storm and salinity tolerance, no lodging </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental benefits – less chemicals, lower water demand, reduced GHGs? </li></ul><ul><li>Biodiversity conservation – tradl. varieties </li></ul><ul><li>Grain quality – higher milling outturn, nutrients? </li></ul>
    33. 35. Two rice fields in Sri Lanka -- same variety, same irrigation system, and same drought : conventional methods (left), SRI (right)
    34. 37. MEASURED DIFFERENCES IN GRAIN QUALITY Characteristic SRI (3 spacings) Conventional Diff. Paper by Prof. Ma Jun, Sichuan Agricultural University, presented at 10th conference on Theory and Practice for High-Quality, High-Yielding Rice in China, Haerbin, 8/2004 + 17.5 38.87 - 39.99 41.81 - 50.84 Head milled rice (%) + 16.1 41.54 - 51.46 53.58 - 54.41 Milled rice outturn (%) - 65.7 6.74 - 7.17 1.02 - 4.04 General chalkiness (%) - 30.7 39.89 - 41.07 23.62 - 32.47 Chalky kernels (%)
    35. 38. SRI STILL RAISES MORE QUESTIONS THAN WE HAVE ANSWERS FOR <ul><li>There are many researchable issues to be taken up by scientists, in association with farmers and with extension personnel </li></ul><ul><li>However, enough is known now to pursue a two-pronged strategy with (a) research and (b) practice proceeding in parallel </li></ul>
    36. 39. THANK YOU Email: [email_address] or [email_address] Web page: http://ciifad.cornell.edu/sri/
    37. 42. Effects of SRI vs. Conventional Practices Comparing Varietal and Soil Differences
    38. 48. .