1032 The 21st Century Challenge: A Green Way to Global Food Security. New Life Sciences: Future Prospects
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1032 The 21st Century Challenge: A Green Way to Global Food Security. New Life Sciences: Future Prospects

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Presented by: Norman Uphoff, CIIFAD, Cornell University, USA

Presented by: Norman Uphoff, CIIFAD, Cornell University, USA

Presented at: BioVision Alexandria 2010 New Life Sciences: Future Prospects

Date Presented: 04/14/2010

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  • Graph prepared by Uphoff for monograph by Louise Buck, David Lee, Thomas Gavin and himself on EcoAgriculture (CIIFAD, 2004; for SANREM CRSP). Sources are from Worldwatch Institute’s data archives.
  • Picture provided by Rajendra Uprety, District Agricultural Development Office, Morang District, Nepal. Again, this is a single SRI plant grown from a single seed.
  • Picture provided by Dr. Rena Perez. These two rice plants are ‘twins’ in that they were 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.
  • This is the most simple description of what SRI entails. Transplanting is not necessary since direct seeding, with the other SRI practices, also produces similarly good results. The principle of SRI is that if transplanting is done , very young seedling should be used, and there should be little or no trauma to the young plant roots. These are often ‘abused’ in transplanting process, being allowed to dry out (desiccate), or are knocked to remove soil, etc.
  • This is the most simple description of what SRI entails. Transplanting is not necessary since direct seeding, with the other SRI practices, also produces similarly good results. The principle of SRI is that if transplanting is done , very young seedling should be used, and there should be little or no trauma to the young plant roots. These are often ‘abused’ in transplanting process, being allowed to dry out (desiccate), or are knocked to remove soil, etc.
  • This is the most simple description of what SRI entails. Transplanting is not necessary since direct seeding, with the other SRI practices, also produces similarly good results. The principle of SRI is that if transplanting is done , very young seedling should be used, and there should be little or no trauma to the young plant roots. These are often ‘abused’ in transplanting process, being allowed to dry out (desiccate), or are knocked to remove soil, etc.

1032 The 21st Century Challenge: A Green Way to Global Food Security. New Life Sciences: Future Prospects 1032 The 21st Century Challenge: A Green Way to Global Food Security. New Life Sciences: Future Prospects Presentation Transcript

  • BioVision Alexandria 2010 New Life Sciences: Future Prospects The 21 st Century Challenge: A Green Way to Global Food Security Resource-Conserving Increases in Agricultural Production Norman Uphoff, Cornell University, USA April 14, 2010
  • Our Challenge for 21 st Century Is: Can We Produce MORE with LESS ?
    • Necessary to achieve sustainable development
      • While this may sound like the mythical ‘perpetual motion machine,’ it may be attained by working more successfully within the realm of BIOLOGY - which operates differently from the realms of chemistry and engineering
    • All represent transformations of inputs into outputs – but BIOLOGY, operating with open systems , has more possibilities for mobilizing additional energy/nutrients
  • Proposition: 21 st Century Agriculture Cannot Just Do ‘ More of the Same ’
    • Arable land area per capita is reducing
      • Population continues to grow, while
      • Land area is being lost to urban spread and
      • Land degradation increases year by year
    • Water supply for agriculture is declining
      • Competing demands for domestic use and industry
      • Climate change is reducing amount and reliability
    • Pests and diseases are likely to increase
      • In US, with 14x more insecticides  losses rose from 7 to 13%
  • Proposition: 21 st Century Agriculture Cannot Just Do ‘ More of the Same ’
    • Energy prices will surely be higher in the 21 st than in 20 th century, affecting:
      • Production costs : fuel, fertilizer, agrochemicals
      • Transport cost : long-distance trade more costly
    • Climate patterns will be less favorable
    • Accessability of technology is an issue
      • Many of world’s poor were by-passed by GR
    • Productivity gains have slowed down
  •  
  • Intensification is needed: 2 kinds
    • Intensification of INPUTS – made more productive by plant breeding efforts
    • Intensification of MANAGEMENT – to get most benefit from inputs, by evoking more productive PHENOTYPES from any given GENOTYPE (close yield gap)
    • Well-known symbolic equation: G x E = P
      • We should make further improvements in G
      • But potential for making major improvements through E can be seen in rice and other crops
      • Extensive modes of production will be less tenable
  • NEPAL: Single rice plant grown with SRI methods, Morang district
  • CUBA: farmer with two plants of same variety (VN 2084) and same age (52 DAP)
  • IRAQ: Comparison trials Al-Mishkhab Rice Research Station, Najaf
  • SRI Shows Potential from Changing Practices:
    • Transplant young seedlings to preserve their growth potential ( direct seeding is becoming an option)
    • Avoid trauma to the roots -- transplant quickly and shallow, not inverting root tips which halts growth
    • Give plants wider spacing -- one plant per hill and in square pattern to achieve “edge effect” everywhere
    • Keep paddy soil moist but unflooded -- soil should be mostly aerobic -- not continuously saturated
    • Actively aerate the soil as much as possible
    • Enhance soil organic matter as much as possible
    • These practices stimulate root growth and the abundance and diversity of soil biota – raising productivity of land, labor, water and capital
  • Other Benefits from Changing Practices:
    • Saving of water – making rice production more viable with climate change; also rainfed versions developed
    • Resistance to biotic stresses and abiotic stresses – less damage from pests and diseases and from drought, storms, cold spells (will discuss tomorrow)
    • Shorter crop cycle – higher yields are harvested with 1-3 weeks less time, less exposure to hazards
    • Higher milling outturn – about 15% more rice per bushel of paddy, due to less chaff, less breakage
    • Reductions in labor requirements – incentive for adoption in China and India; mechanization starting
    • Lower costs of production – increase farmer incomes by even more than the increase in yield
    • Methods are now being extended to other crops
  •  
    • ICRISAT-WWF Sugarcane Initiative : at least 20% more cane yield, with:
    • 30% reduction in water, and
    • 25% reduction in chemical inputs
    • “ The inspiration for putting
    • this package together is
    • from the successful
    • approach of SRI – System
    • of Rice Intensification.”
  • New farming method boosts food output for India's rural poor In Ghantadih village in Gaya district, more than half of the 42 farming households have switched to SWI from traditional practices. Manna Devi, mother of three, was the first woman to use the technique in Bihar state. She says she decided to take a gamble despite jibes from neighbouring farmers who mocked her cultivation methods. "We were living a hand-to-mouth existence before and we just couldn't manage to eat, let alone put our children through school," she says. "We were only producing about 30 kg of wheat which lasted us four months and we had to take loans, and my husband had also taken a second job as a rickshaw puller in order to make ends meet." Devi says she now produces about 80 kg of wheat - enough to feed her family for a year – and hopes to start selling extra crop. Alert Net: Thomson-Reuters Foundation, March 30, 2010
  • Other Benefits from Changes in Practices
    • Water saving – major concern in many places, also now have ‘rainfed’ version with similar results
    • Greater resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses – less damage from pests and diseases, drought, typhoons, flooding, cold spells [discuss tomorrow]
    • Shorter crop cycle – same varieties are harvested by 1-3 weeks sooner, save water, less crop risk
    • High milling output – by about 15%, due to fewer unfilled grains (less chaff) and fewer broken grains
    • Reductions in labor requirements – widely reported incentive for changing practices in India and China; also, mechanization is being introduced many places
    • Reductions in costs of production – greater farmer income and profitability, also health benefits
    SRI LANKA: Rice fields 3 weeks after irrigation was stopped; conventionally-grown field on left, and SRI field on right
  • VIETNAM: D ông Trù village, Hanoi province, after typhoon Conventional field and plant on right; SRI field and plant on left
  • China National Rice Research Institute: Factorial trials over two years, 2004/2005 using two super-hybrid varieties with the aim of breaking the ‘plateau’ limiting yields
    • Standard Rice Mgmt
    • 30-day seedlings
    • 20x20 cm spacing
    • Continuous flooding
    • Fertilization:
      • 100% chemical
    • New Rice Mgmt (SRI)
    • 20-day seedlings
    • 30x30 cm spacing
    • Alternate wetting and drying (AWD)
    • Fertilization:
      • 50% chemical,
      • 50% organic
  • Average super-rice yields (kg/ha) with new rice management (SRI) vs.standard rice management at different plant densities ha -1 Plant population per hectare
  • How are these effects possible? We are learning more about the contributions of soil microbial populations and plant-microbial interactions to explain the impact of SRI methods Scientific bases are becoming clearer; however, much more work remains to be done
  • Effects of Active Soil Aeration with Mechanical Weeder Mechanical Weedings (N) Yield (t ha -1 ) MADAGASCAR: 1997-98 main season -- Ambatovaky (N = 76) None 2 5.97 One 8 7.72 Two 27 7.37 Three 24 9.12 Four 15 11.77 NEPAL: 2006 monsoon season – Morang district (N = 412) One 32 5.16 (3.6 – 7.6) Two 366 5.87 (3.5 – 11.0) Three 14 7.87 (5.85 – 10.4)
  • Total bacteria Total diazotrophs Microbial populations in rhizosphere soil in rice crop under different management at active tillering, panicle initiation and flowering (SRI = yellow; conventional = red) – IPB research [units are √ transformed values of population/gram of dry soil] Phosphobacteria Azotobacter
  • Dehydrogenase activity (μg TPF) Urease activity (μg NH 4 -N)) Microbial activities in rhizosphere soil in rice crop with different management (SRI = yellow; conventional = red) at active tillering, panicle initiation and flowering stages [units are √ transformed values of population/gram of dry soil per 24 h] Acid phosphate activity (μg p-Nitrophenol) Nitrogenase activity (nano mol C 2 H 4 )
  • We see also contributions of symbiotic endophytic microbes - both bacteria and fungi - to rice plant productivity not o nly in the rhizosphere But also in the leaves (phyllosphere) and seeds
  • Ascending Migration of Endophytic Rhizobia, from Roots and Leaves, inside Rice Plants and Assessment of Benefits to Rice Growth Physiology Feng Chi et al., Applied and Envir. Microbiology 71 (2005), 7271-7278 Rhizo-bium test strain Total plant root volume/ pot (cm 3 ) Shoot dry weight/ pot (g) Net photo-synthetic rate (μmol -2 s -1 ) Water utilization efficiency Area (cm 2 ) of flag leaf Grain yield/ pot (g) Ac-ORS571 210 ± 36 A 63 ± 2 A 16.42 ± 1.39 A 3.62 ± 0.17 BC 17.64 ± 4.94 ABC 86 ± 5 A SM-1021 180 ± 26 A 67 ± 5 A 14.99 ± 1.64 B 4.02 ± 0.19 AB 20.03 ± 3.92 A 86 ± 4 A SM-1002 168 ± 8 AB 52 ± 4 BC 13.70 ± 0.73 B 4.15 ± 0.32 A 19.58 ± 4.47 AB 61 ± 4 B R1-2370 175 ± 23 A 61 ± 8 AB 13.85 ± 0.38 B 3.36 ± 0.41 C 18.98 ± 4.49 AB 64 ± 9 B Mh-93 193 ± 16 A 67 ± 4 A 13.86 ± 0.76 B 3.18 ± 0.25 CD 16.79 ± 3.43 BC 77 ± 5 A Control 130 ± 10 B 47 ± 6 C 10.23 ± 1.03 C 2.77 ± 0.69 D 15.24 ± 4.0 C 51 ± 4 C
  • Data are based on the average linear root and shoot growth of three symbiotic (dashed line) and three nonsymbiotic (solid line) plants. Arrows indicate the times when root hair development started. Ratio of root and shoot growth in symbiotic and nonsymbiotic rice plants -- symbiotic plant rice seeds were inoculated with Fusarium culmorum Russell J. Rodriguez et al., ‘Symbiotic regulation of plant growth, development and reproduction,’ Communicative and Integrative Biology , 2:3 (2009).
  • Growth of nonsymbiotic (on left) and symbiotic (on right) rice seedlings. On growth of endophyte (F. culmorum) and plant inoculation procedures, see Rodriguez et al., Communicative and Integrative Biology , 2:3 (2009).
  • More productive phenotypes also can give higher water-use efficiency as reflected in the ratio of photosynthesis to transpiration For each 1 millimol of water lost by transpiration: 3.6 millimols of CO 2 are fixed in SRI plants, 1.6 millimols of CO 2 are fixed in RMP plants Climate change makes this increasingly important ‘ An assessment of physiological effects of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) compared with recommended rice cultivation practices in India,’ A.K. Thakur, N. Uphoff and E. Antony Experimental Agriculture , 46(1), 77-98 (2010)
  • Comparison of chlorophyll content, transpiration rate, net photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, and internal CO 2 concentration in SRI and RMP Standard deviations are given in parentheses [N = 15] Parameters Cultivation method SRI RMP SRI % LSD .05 Total chlorophyll (mg g -1 FW) 3.37 (0.17) 2.58 (0.21) +30 0.11 Ratio of Chlorophyll a/b 2.32 (0.28) 1.90 (0.37) +22 0.29 Transpiration (m mol m -2 s -1 ) 6.41 (0.43) 7.59 (0.33) -16 0.27 Net photosynthetic rate (μ mol m -2 s -1 ) 23.15 (3.17) 12.23 (2.02) +89 1.64 Stomatal conductance (m mol m -2 s -1 ) 422.73 (34.35) 493.93 (35.93) -15 30.12 Internal CO 2 concentration (ppm) 292.6 (16.64) 347.0 (19.74) -16 11.1
  • This experience and these results do not argue against making further genetic improvements or against the use of external inputs They suggest that within the context of 21 st century agriculture , more attention be given to management – and especially to roots and soil biota - Green way to global food security?
  • HIGH-TILLERING TRAIT IN TEFF WHEN TRANSPLANTED WITH WIDER SPACING Dr. Tareke Berhe, SAA, ‘Recent Developments in Teff, Ethiopia’s Most Important Cereal and Gift to the World,’ Cornell seminar, 7/23/09 – Berhe was CIMMYT post-doctoral fellow with Norman Borlaug in 1970
  • FIRST TRIALS, 2008 – Duplication of Earlier Findings YIFRU ( 1998 ) M. Sc. THESIS Reported yield of 4-5 tons/ha for non-lodged teff vs. 2-3 t/ha for lodged teff Yields even higher when NPK plus micronutrients (S, Mg, Zn, Cu) added VARIETY SOWING METHOD PELLETING YIELD (Kg/Ha) Cross 37 Broadcast None 1,014 Broadcast Yes 483 20 cm x 20 cm None 3,390 20 cm x 20 cm Yes 5,109 Cross 387 Broadcast None 1,181 Broadcast Yes 1,036 20 cm x 20 cm None 4,142 20 cm x 20 cm Yes 4,385
  • In the tradition of Norman Borlaug, we should continue with science-based agricultural development – but not only focused on genes and inputs Capitalize on soil biology and soil ecology and on epigenetics - emerging bioscience field that seeks to understand and explain the expression of genetic potential Norman Borlaug legacy: “ Work for a hunger-free world and help those in need.” Gurdev Khush
  • INDONESIA Comparison of SRI vs. usual rice plants of same variety, showing the effects of management Miyatty Jannah Crawuk village, Ngawi, E. Java
  • INDONESIA: Single SRI rice plant Variety: Ciherang No. of fertile tillers: 223 Sampoerna CSR Program, Malang, E. Java, 2009