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0304 SRI/SICA New Opportunities for Organic Rice Production


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Presenter: Norman Uphoff

5th Meeting of Organic Agriculture, Havana, Cuba

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0304 SRI/SICA New Opportunities for Organic Rice Production

  1. 1. The System of Rice Intensification (SRI/SICA) -- New Opportunities for Organic Rice Production 5th Meeting of Organic Agriculture Havana, Cuba, May 29, 2003 Norman Uphoff Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development
  2. 2. What Is SICA? <ul><li>SICA is a methodology for getting </li></ul><ul><li>more productive PHENOTYPES from existing GENOTYPES of rice </li></ul><ul><li>by changing the management of Plants, Soil, Water, and Nutrients to </li></ul><ul><li>(a) induce greater ROOT growth and </li></ul><ul><li>(b) nurture more abundant and diverse SOIL MICROBIAL communities </li></ul>
  3. 3. More tillers and more than 400 grains per panicle
  4. 5. Variedad Los Palacios 9 (CFA Camilo Cienfuegos)
  5. 6. SICA is ‘too good to be true’? -- changes paradigm of production <ul><li>GREEN REVOLUTION paradigm: </li></ul><ul><li>(a) Change plants’ genetic potential , and </li></ul><ul><li>(b) Provide external inputs -- nutrients, </li></ul><ul><li>biocides, etc. (fossil-fuel intensive) </li></ul><ul><li>SICA changes management practices : </li></ul><ul><li>(a) To promote root growth , and </li></ul><ul><li>(b) To increase abundance and diversity </li></ul><ul><li>of soil microbial populations </li></ul>
  6. 7. SICA Is “Organic” for Pragmatic Reasons <ul><li>Chemical fertilizers increase SICA yields, but compost gives even better results </li></ul><ul><li>Chemical biocides can be used, but SICA plants are generally healthier and able to resist pest and disease damage </li></ul><ul><li>Application of biocides is not economic </li></ul><ul><li>Also, SICA practices build up soil fertility through biological means </li></ul>
  7. 8. OBSERVABLE BENEFITS <ul><li>Average yields about 8 t/ha -- </li></ul><ul><li>twice present world average of 3.8 t/ha </li></ul><ul><li>Maximum yields can be twice this -- 15 t/ha or more; occasionally > 20 t/ha </li></ul><ul><li>Water requirement is reduced by 50% </li></ul><ul><li>Factor productivity is increased for land, labor, capital and water </li></ul><ul><li>Costs of production are lowered -- most important to farmers, raise profits </li></ul>
  8. 9. SRI Data from Sri Lanka <ul><li> SRI Usual </li></ul><ul><li>Yields (tons/ha) 8.0 4.2 +88% </li></ul><ul><li>Market price (Rs/ton) 1,500 1,300 +15% </li></ul><ul><li>Total cash cost (Rs/ha) 18,000 22,000 -18% </li></ul><ul><li>Gross returns (Rs/ha) 120,000 58,500 +105% </li></ul><ul><li>Net profit (Rs/ha) 102,000 36,500 +180% </li></ul><ul><li>Family labor earnings Increased with SRI </li></ul><ul><li>Water savings ~ 40-50% </li></ul><ul><li>Data from Dr. Janaiah Aldas, formerly economist at IRRI; now at Indira Gandhi Development Studies Institute, Mumbai; based on interviews with 30 SRI farmers in Sri Lanka, October, 2002 </li></ul>
  9. 11. SICA IS BEING ADAPTED TO UPLAND PRODUCTION Results of Trials by Philippine NGO (Broader Initiatives for Negros Development), w/ Traditional Variety
  10. 12. LESS OR NO NEED FOR: <ul><li>Changing varieties: best yields from high-yielding varieties and hybrids , but traditional varieties produce 4-10 t/ha </li></ul><ul><li>Chemical fertilizers give a positive yield response with SICA, but best results are obtained with compost </li></ul><ul><li>Agrochemicals – plants more resistant to pests and diseases with SICA use so most farmers find no need to apply </li></ul>
  11. 13. ADDITIONAL BENEFITS <ul><li>Seeding rate reduced as much as 90%, 5-10 kg/ha = more yield than 50-100 kg </li></ul><ul><li>No lodging because roots and stalks are stronger </li></ul><ul><li>Environmentally friendly production due to water saving, no/fewer chemicals </li></ul><ul><li>More accessible to poor households because fewer capital requirements, though labor requirements hinder some </li></ul><ul><li>Possible health and gender benefits </li></ul>
  12. 14. DISADVANTAGES / COSTS <ul><li>SICA is more labor-intensive , at least initially -- but can become labor-saving </li></ul><ul><li>SICA requires greater knowledge/skill from farmers to become better decision-makers and managers -- this contributes however to human resource development </li></ul><ul><li>SICA requires good water control to get best results , making regular applications of smaller amounts of water -- can gain control with investments & organization? </li></ul>
  13. 15. ‘ Starting Points’ for SICA <ul><li>Transplant young seedlings , 8-15 days (2 leaves) -- quickly and very carefully </li></ul><ul><li>Single plants per hill with wide spacing in a square pattern -- 25x25 cm or wider </li></ul><ul><li>No continuous flooding of field during the vegetative growth phase (AWD ok) </li></ul><ul><li>Weeding with rotating hoe early (10 DAT) and often -- 2 to 4 times </li></ul><ul><li>Use of compost is recommended/optional </li></ul><ul><li>These get adapted to local situations </li></ul>
  14. 16. SICA practices will produce a different RICE PHENOTYPE: <ul><li>TILLERING is profuse - 30 to 50/plant, 80-100 possible, sometimes 100+ </li></ul><ul><li>ROOT GROWTH is more -- 5-6x more resistance (kg/plant) for uprooting </li></ul><ul><li>PANICLES larger -- 150-250+ grains </li></ul><ul><li>GRAIN WEIGHT often higher --5-10% </li></ul><ul><li>POSITIVE CORRELATION between tillers/plant and grains/panicle </li></ul>
  15. 18. Plant Physical Structure and Light Intensity Distribution at Heading Stage (CNRRI Research: Tao et al. 2002)
  16. 20. SICA goes against LOGIC <ul><li>LESS CAN PRODUCE MORE -- by utilizing </li></ul><ul><li>the potentials and dynamics of biology </li></ul><ul><li>Smaller, younger seedlings will give larger, more productive mature plants </li></ul><ul><li>Fewer plants per hill and per m 2 can give a higher yield with other SICA practices </li></ul><ul><li>Half as much water produces more rice </li></ul><ul><li>Fewer or no external inputs are needed to produce greater output </li></ul><ul><li>Get new plant types from existing genomes </li></ul>
  17. 21. These results have come more often from farms than experiment stations <ul><li>But increasing number of scientists working on SRI/SICA -- in China, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Madagascar, Cuba, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>SRI/SICA is the due entirely to the work of Fr. Henri de Laulanié, S.J . (1920-1995), trained in agriculture at ENA (1937-1939) </li></ul><ul><li>He lived and worked with farmers in Madagascar (1961-1995), SRI (1983-84) </li></ul><ul><li>SRI/SICA is promoted by Malagasy NGO, Association Tefy Saina , assisted by CIIFAD </li></ul>
  18. 24. Spread beyond Madagascar <ul><li>Nanjing Agricultural University - 1999 </li></ul><ul><li>Agency for Agricultural Research and Development, Indonesia - 1999-2000 </li></ul><ul><li>Philippines, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Cuba, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>International conference, Sanya, China, April 2001 -- 15 countries reported on experience with SRI (proceedings available on the web or CD-ROM) </li></ul>
  19. 25. Average Yields Impressive: Certain Cases Hard to Explain <ul><li>Indonesia -- West Timor (ADRA) </li></ul><ul><li>Yield with current methods -- 4.4 t/ha </li></ul><ul><li>Yield with SRI methods -- 11.7 t/ha </li></ul><ul><li>Peru -- Pucallpa, jungle area </li></ul><ul><li>Previous yields -- 2 t/ha, with more labor </li></ul><ul><li>SRI yield -- 8 t/ha, with less labor </li></ul><ul><li>+ ratoon crop 5.5 t/ha = 70% of first crop </li></ul><ul><li>Benin -- controlled trial: 1.6 vs. 7.5 t/ha </li></ul><ul><li>HOW ARE THESE RESULTS ACHIEVED? </li></ul>
  20. 26. (1) Importance of ROOTS <ul><li>Relatively little scientific research </li></ul><ul><li>Under continuous flooding, 3/4 of rice roots remain in top 6-10 cm of soil </li></ul><ul><li>Under continuous flooding, roots form air pockets (aerenchyma) to survive, but the plants cannot thrive </li></ul><ul><li>Under continuous flooding, 3/4 of roots degenerate by time of flowering, start of reproductive phase (Kar et al., 1974) </li></ul>
  21. 27. Dry Matter Distribution of Roots in SRI and Conventionally-Grown Plants at Heading Stage (CNRRI research: Tao et al. 2002) Root dry weight (g)
  22. 28. Root Activity in SRI and Conventional Rice Measured by Oxygenation Ability Research at Nanjing Agricultural University, Wuxianggeng 9 variety (Wang et al. 2002)
  23. 32. (2) Importance of SOIL MICROBIAL PROCESSES <ul><li>Biological Nitrogen Fixation (BNF) </li></ul><ul><li>Phosphorus Solubilization </li></ul><ul><li>Mycorrhizal Fungal Associations -- Increasing Root Access to Nutrients </li></ul><ul><li>Possible Contribution of Rhizobia </li></ul><ul><li>Protozoa ‘Grazing’ of Bacteria </li></ul><ul><li>Effects of Increased Root Exudation </li></ul>
  24. 34. Benefits from Rhizobia in rice being documented <ul><li>Studied in Egypt where rice and clover grown in rotation, for many centuries </li></ul><ul><li>These endophytic bacteria induce more efficient acquisition of N, P, K, Mg, Ca and Zn in rice (Yanni et al. 2001) </li></ul><ul><li>Rhizobia increase yield and total protein quantity/ha , by producing auxins and other plant-growth promoting hormones -- however, no BNF demonstrated </li></ul>
  25. 35. Factorial Trials Evaluating 6 Factors <ul><li>Variety : HYV (2798) vs. local ( riz rouge ) or Soil quality : better (clay) vs. poorer (loam) </li></ul><ul><li>Water mgmt : aerated vs. saturated soil </li></ul><ul><li>Seedling age : 8 days vs. 16 or 20 days </li></ul><ul><li>Plants per hill : 1/hill vs. 3/hill </li></ul><ul><li>Fertilization : compost vs. NPK vs. none </li></ul><ul><li>Spacing : 25x25cm vs. 30x30cm (NS diff.) </li></ul><ul><li>6 replications : 2.5x2.5m plots (N=288, 240) </li></ul>
  26. 37. Effects of SRI vs. Conventional Practices Comparing Varietal and Soil Differences
  27. 38. (3) Importance of Transplanting YOUNG SEEDLINGS <ul><li>Significant effect of transplanting 8-12 day seedlings </li></ul><ul><li>Want to avoid any trauma to rice plant -- to maintain maximum growth trajectory </li></ul><ul><li>DIRECT SEEDING is an option -- however, needs to be evaluated </li></ul>
  28. 39. Effect of Young Seedlings <ul><li>@ Anjomakely Better Soil Poorer Soil </li></ul><ul><li>SS/20/3/NPK 3.00 2.04 </li></ul><ul><li>SS/ 8 /3/NPK 7.16 3.89 </li></ul><ul><li>SS/ 8 / 1 /NPK 8.13 4.36 </li></ul><ul><li>AS / 8 /3/NPK 8.15 4.44 </li></ul><ul><li>AS / 8 /3/ Comp 6.86 3.61 </li></ul><ul><li>SS/ 8 / 1 / Comp 7.70 4.07 </li></ul><ul><li>AS / 8 / 1 /NPK 8.77 5.00 </li></ul><ul><li>AS / 8 / 1 / Comp 10.35 6.39 </li></ul>
  29. 40. (4) Importance of Enhancing SOIL ORGANIC MATTER <ul><li>Through combination of </li></ul><ul><li>Compost, mulching, etc. and </li></ul><ul><li>Increased root exudation </li></ul><ul><li>Monocropping reduces diversity </li></ul><ul><li>Shows value of CROP ROTATION -- as highest SICA yields are from rice grown in rotation w/ potatoes </li></ul>
  30. 41. SRI Confirms the Strategy of Organic Farming <ul><li>Rather than focus efforts on “ feeding the plants ,” </li></ul><ul><li>Farmers should “feed the soil” and let the soil feed the plants </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis on symbiosis between plants and soil microorganisms </li></ul>
  31. 42. SICA Opens Opportunities for Organic Rice Production <ul><li>Lower costs of production -- no premium price is needed </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental benefits -- less water required, no agrochemicals </li></ul><ul><li>Human health benefits -- for producers and consumers </li></ul><ul><li>May be extended to other crops? </li></ul>
  32. 43. Thank You for Opportunity to Share this With You <ul><li>More information can be obtained from SRI/SICA web site: </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Or from Association Tefy Saina: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Or from me: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul>
  33. 44. Soil microbial activity is critical for plant nutrition and SRI performance <ul><li>“ The microbial flora causes a large number of biochemical changes in the soil that largely determine the fertility of the soil.” (DeDatta, 1981, p. 60, emphasis added) </li></ul>
  34. 45. Bacteria, funguses, protozoa, amoeba, actinomycetes, etc. <ul><li>Decompose organic matter , making nutrients available </li></ul><ul><li>Acquire nutrients that are unavailable to plant roots </li></ul><ul><li>Improve soil structure and health (water retention, pathogen control) </li></ul>
  35. 46. Biological Nitrogen Fixation <ul><li>Microorganisms -- particularly bacteria, both aerobic and anaerobic -- can fix nitrogen (N) from air into forms available to plant roots </li></ul><ul><li>Research has shown that when aerobic soil and anaerobic soil are mixed , rather than having only aerobic soil or only anaerobic soil, BNF increases greatly (Magdoff and Bouldin, 1970) </li></ul>
  36. 47. Biological Nitrogen Fixation <ul><li>BNF can occur with all gramineae species, including rice (Döbereiner 1987, and others) </li></ul><ul><li>In flooded paddies, BNF is limited to anaerobic processes; SRI provides aerobic conditions as well; BNF must be occurring for the higher yields observed; not enough N measured in the soil </li></ul><ul><li>The use of chemical fertilizers inhibits the production by roots and microbes of nitrogenase, the enzyme needed for BNF (van Berkum and Sloger 1983) </li></ul>
  37. 48. This helps to solve puzzle <ul><li>Why were many Madagascar farmers putting their compost for SRI on their contra-saison crop -- not on rice crop? </li></ul><ul><li>Both crops reportedly gave better yield </li></ul><ul><li>This makes no sense if LEACHING and VOLATILIZATION are big problems, or if nutrients are ‘used up’ by plants </li></ul><ul><li>It makes sense, however, for BNF </li></ul>
  38. 50. Phosphorus Solubilization <ul><li>Aerobic bacteria can acquire phosphorus from unflooded soil for their own use </li></ul><ul><li>When the soil is flooded, these bacteria die (lyse) due to osmotic pressure and release their contents into the soil solution </li></ul><ul><li>When the soil dries again, surviving bacteria begin their growth again </li></ul><ul><li>This cycle of wetting and drying increases the supply of P, and maybe other nutrients, that become available to plants </li></ul>
  39. 51. Microbiological ‘Weathering’ of Soil? <ul><li>Turner & Haygarth (2001) found that soluble P can increase by 185-1,900% by microbiological ‘mining’ of the soil </li></ul><ul><li>They speculate this process operates increase also supply of other nutrients </li></ul><ul><li>Under ‘natural’ conditions, ‘depletion’ of soil is rare occurrence -- due to microbiological processes </li></ul>
  40. 52. Mycorrhizal Associations <ul><li>Mycorrhizal funguses ‘infect’ plant roots </li></ul><ul><li>They send out hyphae (filaments/threads) in all directions and expand the volume of soil from which the plant can extract nutrients by 10-100 times </li></ul><ul><li>Mycorrhizae are very good at harvesting P -- increased efficiency by as much as 60x </li></ul><ul><li>Mycorrhizae cannot grow in anaerobic soil conditions, so cannot benefit irrigated rice </li></ul>
  41. 53. Benefits from Rhizobia in rice now being explored <ul><li>Studied where rice and clover grown in rotation in Egypt, for many centuries </li></ul><ul><li>These endophytic bacteria induce more efficient acquisition of N, P, K, Mg, Ca, Zn, etc. in rice (Yanni et al. 2001) </li></ul><ul><li>Rhizobia increase yield and total protein quantity/ha , by producing auxins and other plant-growth promoting hormones -- however, no BNF demonstrated </li></ul>
  42. 54. PROTOZOA <ul><li>These are said by microbiologists to ‘ graze’ on the bacteria living on the roots of plants </li></ul><ul><li>Because they require lower C/N ratio, they excrete unneeded N on roots </li></ul><ul><li>Increased root exudation will support larger bacterial populations -- and also larger protozoan populations? </li></ul><ul><li>Plants can ‘produce’ N in this way </li></ul>
  43. 55. Root Exudation Is Crucial <ul><li>Plant stems & roots are ‘two-way’ streets </li></ul><ul><li>30-60% of the energy (sugars, proteins) made in the canopy is sent to the roots (Pinton et al., 2000) </li></ul><ul><li>20-40% of this energy supply is exuded by the roots into the soil -- feeding the bacteria, funguses, etc. in the root zone </li></ul><ul><li>Root cells also die and provide energy to microbes through rhizodeposition </li></ul><ul><li>Plants gain more than they lose from this </li></ul>
  44. 56. Soil Microbiology <ul><li>Knowledge is increasing in this area </li></ul><ul><li>Little investment previously (<10%) </li></ul><ul><li>My discussion can be considered as ‘speculative’ -- not scientifically proven, but based on what is known in literature </li></ul><ul><li>It is hard to suggest an explanation for the large variation in SRI results without referring to factors and dynamics in the realm of soil microbiology </li></ul>
  45. 57. SRI offers an intensified agronomic system for: <ul><li>Plant management -- young seedlings, careful transplanting, wide spacing </li></ul><ul><li>Soil and water management -- leveling, ‘minimum of water’ for soil aeration </li></ul><ul><li>Nutrient management -- increase SOM </li></ul><ul><li>Microorganism management -- result of the above, promoted by root exudation </li></ul>
  46. 58. SRI Raises More Questions than we have answers for <ul><li>We think many answers will be found in the growth and functioning of ROOTS, which grow better from </li></ul><ul><li>YOUNG SEEDLINGS, with </li></ul><ul><li>WIDE SPACING, and in </li></ul><ul><li>AERATED SOIL </li></ul>
  47. 59. <ul><li>Answers will also be found in SOIL MICROBIAL DYNAMICS -- in the abundance & diversity of soil microbes (bacteria, fungi) </li></ul><ul><li>Microbes grow better in: </li></ul><ul><li>SOIL not continuously flooded , </li></ul><ul><li>with more soil organic matter </li></ul><ul><li>Microbes benefit from exudation increased by more root growth </li></ul>
  48. 65. .
  49. 67. THANK YOU <ul><li>More information is available </li></ul><ul><li>on the SRI WEB PAGE : </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>including Sanya conference proceedings, </li></ul><ul><li>available on CD ROM discs </li></ul><ul><li>E-MAIL ADDRESSES : </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
  50. 68. Effects of Nutrient Amendments: NPK vs. Compost (yield in t/ha) HYV vs. Local Variety@ Morondava, 2000 Sandy soils ( sable roux )