1315 - Agroecological Strategies for Raising Crop Productivity


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Title: Agroecological Strategies for Raising Crop Productivity with Reduced Inputs, with Less Water Requirement, and with Buffering of Climate-Change Stresses
Speaker: Norman Uphoff, Cornell University, USA
Presented at: ECHO 20th Annual Agricultural Conference
Venue: ECHO, Ft. Myers, FL - December 10, 2013

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1315 - Agroecological Strategies for Raising Crop Productivity

  1. 1. Agroecological Strategies for Raising Crop Productivity with Reduced Inputs, with Less Water Requirement, and with Buffering of Climate-Change Stresses Norman Uphoff, Cornell University, USA ECHO 20th Annual Agricultural Conference Ft. Myers, FL - December 10, 2013
  2. 2. In the 21st century, we will need to learn how to PRODUCE MORE FROM LESS This paradoxical relationship will be needed for sustainable agricultural development Amount of arable LAND per capita is declining, with less and less reliable supplies of WATER, and higher ENERGY costs and prices of INPUTS We need to protect and maintain the quality of our NATURAL RESOURCES -- soil, water, air -and to ensure broad access to APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGIES to reduce hunger & poverty
  3. 3. Green Revolution technologies from 1960s contributed to meeting food needs in past century – but they are becoming less relevant to the emerging conditions of the 21st century What was the central thrust of GR technology? • Development and use of NEW VARIETIES, • Application of more EXTERNAL INPUTS, • Provision of more/reliable WATER, plus • Agrochemical CROP PROTECTION How many know the book by Francis Chaboussou, Healthy Crops: A New Agricultural Revolution (1985 in French, English translation 2004)? Presents his theory of ‘trophobiosis’ - formulated by an INRA ag scientist
  4. 4. Green Revolution strategy has come to be seen as the necessary, indeed the best or the only way to achieve higher crop yields and more productivity However, this seeds + fertilizer (+ water) strategy has been encountering diminishing returns
  5. 5. Diminishing returns to agrochemical inputs are being experienced clearly in China At the start of China’s Green Revolution, farmers’ agronomic N-use efficiency was 15-20 kg rice/kg N • By 1981-83, this had fallen to 9.1 kg rice/kg N (Lin, 1991) • By 2001, it was 6.4 kg rice/kg N in Zhejiang province (Wang et al., 2001) • By 2006, this ratio was 5-10 kg rice/kg N (Peng et al., 2006) – and it is still declining S.B. Peng et al., “Improving N fertilization in rice… “ Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 30 (2010), 649-656.
  6. 6. At the same time, nitrate (NO3) levels in China’s groundwater supplies have been rising rapidly, from overuse of N fertilizer Already 10 years ago, in many parts of China, level of NO3 in groundwater was >300 ppm -- in the US, the EPA allows only 50 ppm J.L. Hatfield, “Nitrogen over-use, under-use and efficiency.” Paper presented to 4th International Crop Science Congress, Brisbane, Australia, September, 2004 This kind of agricultural practice has unacceptable consequences and a bleak future
  7. 7. Fortunately, there are alternatives to this genocentric, input-dependent strategy, ones that are very productive and economic: AGROECOLOGICAL METHODOLOGIES These methodologies (methods, practices) mobilize and utilize the biological potentials and ecological processes and dynamics that already exist within crop plants and that are inherent in the soil systems within which plants grow
  8. 8. Agroecological methods promote the growth of more productive PHENOTYPES from any given GENOTYPE, i.e., variety -- does everyone know the difference? HOW? by managing agroecosystems more productively -- rather than by focusing on and mostly relying on external inputs HOW CAN THIS BE DONE? By improving crops’ growing environments -- both below and above ground – this focuses on the E factor in geneticists’ symbolic equation: P = ƒ G + E + GxE
  9. 9. Agroecological practices modify and optimize the management of plants, soil, water and nutrients, in ways that mobilize the services of the PLANT-SOIL MICROBIOME, i.e., the multitude of beneficial microorganisms that live in, on and around plants Much as beneficial microorganisms live in, on and around our human bodies, in what is called the human microbiome
  10. 10. Agroecological approaches include: • Agroforestry • Conservation agriculture (CA) • Holistic land and livestock management (Allan Savory) • Integrated pest management (IPM) • Integrated crop-fish culture • System of Rice Intensification (SRI) • System of Crop Intensification (SCI) Today we focus on the latter: SRI and SCI
  11. 11. SRI by changing management of the plants, soil, water and nutrients for growing rice: A. Induces plants to have larger, healthier and better functioning ROOT SYSTEMS, B. Nurtures soil systems that have larger populations of SOIL ORGANISMS which are more biodiverse and more active Both roots & soil biota make crucial contributions to crop production, and they can reduce the current demand for both water and nitrogen fertilizer
  12. 12. Evidence on water saving and productivity: A meta-analysis of 29 published studies (2006-2013), with results from 251 comparison trials across 8 countries Water use: SRI mgmt 12.03 million liters ha-1 Standard 15.33 million liters ha-1 SRI reduction in total water use = 22% SRI reduction in irrigation water use = 35% with 11% more yield (SRI 5.9 tons ha-1 vs. 5.1 tons ha-1 - usually SRI yield increase is much greater than this) Total WUE 0.6 vs. 0.39 grams/liter (52% more) Irrigation WUE 1.23 vs. 0.69 grams/liter (78%more) P. Jagannath, H. Pullabhotla and N. Uphoff, “Evaluation of water use, water saving and water use efficiency in irrigated rice production with SRI vs. traditional management,” Taiwan Water Conservancy (2013)
  13. 13. Some demonstrations of how more productive phenotypes are being obtained from available crop genotypes – without reliance on new varieties, or on chemical fertilizer, and with less water requirement, because of better root systems and enhanced life in the soil
  14. 14. NEPAL: Farmer with a rice plant grown from a single seed with SRI methods in Morang district
  15. 15. CUBA: Farmer with two plants of the same variety (VN 2084) and same age (52 DAS)
  16. 16. Indonesia: Stump of a rice plant (modern variety) grown from a single seed with SRI management methods -having 223 tillers & massive root growth Panda’an, E. Java, 2009
  17. 17. IRAQ: Comparison trials at Al-Mishkhab Rice Research Station, Najaf
  18. 18. 300 Organ dry weight(g/hill) SRI 250 200 150 47.9% CK Yellow leaf and sheath 34.7% Panicle Leaf 100 Sheath 50 0 Stem Stage IH H FH MR W R YRIH H FH MR WR YR Non-Flooding Rice Farming Technology in Irrigated Paddy Field Dr. Tao Longxing, China National Rice Research Institute, 2004
  19. 19. Results of trials conducted by the China National Rice Research Institute over two years, 2004/2005, using 2 super-hybrid varieties with an intention to break the ‘yield plateau’ now limiting hybrids Standard Rice Mgmt • 30-day seedlings • 20x20 cm spacing • Continuous flooding • Fertilization: – 100% chemical New Rice Mgmt (~ 75% ‘SRI’) • 20-day seedlings • 30x30 cm spacing • Alt. wetting/drying (AWD) • Fertilization: – 50/50 chemical/organic X.Q. Lin, D.F. Zhu, H.Z. Chen, S.H. Cheng and N. Uphoff (2009). “Effect of plant density and nitrogen fertilizer rates on grain yield and nitrogen uptake of hybrid rice (Oryza sativa L.)” Journal of Agricultural Biotechnology and Sustainable Development, 1(2): 44-53
  20. 20. Average yields of (kg/ha) hybrid varieties with ‘new rice management’ vs. standard rice management at different plant densities per ha 10000 9000 8000 7000 6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 NRM SRM 150,000 180,000 210,000 Plant population per hectare SRI practices yield more productive phenotypes -- Chinese farmers are WASTING seeds and water and N fertilizer
  21. 21. SRI methods have set a new world yield record Paddy production: Bihar panchayat breaks China’s record New Delhi, Mar 20: A gram panchayat in Nalanda district of Bihar has surpassed the Chinese record of paddy production, the Union Agriculture Minister Mr Sharad Pawar informed Parliament today. “As per the reports received from the state government, the yield of wet paddy has been recorded at 22.4 tonnes per hectare and that of dry paddy at 20.16 tonnes a hectare ...,” Mr Pawar said in a written reply to Lok Sabha. The record yield was achieved under demonstration on System of Rice Intensification (SRI) which was organised at farmer’s field during kharif 2011, he added. “It has surpassed the yield of 19 tonnes per hectare which was recorded earlier in China.”
  22. 22. 2013: SRI’s phenotypic benefits have been seen now in >50 countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America Before 1999: Madagascar 1999-2000: China, Indonesia 2001-02: Bangladesh, Cuba, Laos, Cambodia, Gambia, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Thailand 2003: Benin, Guinea, Mozambique, Peru 2004-05: Senegal, Pakistan, Vietnam 2006: Burkina Faso, Bhutan, Iran, Iraq, Zambia 2007: Afghanistan, Brazil, Mali 2008: Rwanda, Costa Rica, Egypt, Ecuador, Ghana, Japan 2009: Malaysia, Timor Leste 2010: Kenya, DPRK, Panama, Haiti 2011: Colombia, Korea, Taiwan, Tanzania 2012: Burundi, Dominican Republic, Niger, Nigeria, Togo 2013: Malawi, Cameroon
  23. 23. These changes in crop management can be effective in very different and quite contrasting agroecosystems: * AFGHANISTAN: Baghlan province 1600 masl, temperate climate, with a short growing season * MALI: Timbuktu province on the edge of the Sahara Desert, with hot, dry subtropical climate
  24. 24. AFGHANISTAN: SRI field in Baghlan Province, supported by Aga Khan Foundation Natural Resource Management program
  25. 25. AKF technician making a field visit in Baghlan province
  26. 26. SRI field at 30 days
  27. 27. SRI plant @ 72 days after transplanting with 133 tillers 11.56 t/ha
  28. 28. 2008: 6 farmers got SRI yields of 10.1 t/ha vs. 5.4 t/ha regular methods 2009: 42 farmers got SRI yields of 9.3 t/ha vs. 5.6 t/ha with regular methods - 2nd year SRI farmers got 13.3 t/ha vs. 5.6 t/ha - 1st year SRI farmers got 8.7 t/ha vs. 5.5 t/ha 2011: 106 farmers got SRI yields of 10.1 t/ha vs. 5.04 t/ha with regular methods All were using less water
  29. 29. MALI -- SRI nursery in Timbuktu region – 8-day seedlings are ready for transplanting
  30. 30. SRI transplanting on edge of Sahara Desert
  31. 31. Mali farmer working with the NGO Africare in Timbuktu region with support from BUF, showing difference between rice plants: regular (left) and SRI 2007/08: 1 farmer SRI yield of 8.98 t/ha 2008/09: 60 farmers 9.01 vs. 5.49 t/ha 2009/10: 130 farmers – 7.71 vs. 4.48 t/ha using 32% less water Gao region ave.: 7.84 t/ha Mopti region ave.: 7.85 t/ha
  32. 32. Environmental Benefits with SRI: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Reduced water requirements – higher crop water-use efficiency -- puts less pressure on ecosystems in competition with agriculture for water supplies Higher land productivity – reducing pressures for the expansion of arable area to feed growing populations Less use of inorganic fertilizer – reactive N is “the third major threat to our planet after biodiversity loss and climate change” (John Lawton, former chief executive, UK National Environmental Research Council) Less reliance on agrochemicals for crop protection which enhances the quality of both soil and water Buffering against the effects of climate change – drought, storms (resist lodging), cold temperatures Some reduction in greenhouse gases (GHG) – CH4 can be reduced without producing offsetting N2O
  33. 33. Other Benefits from Changes in Practices 1. Water saving – major concern in many places, also now have ‘rainfed’ version with similar results 2. Greater resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses – less damage from pests and diseases, drought, typhoons, flooding, cold spells [discuss tomorrow] 3. Shorter crop cycle – same varieties are harvested by 1-3 weeks sooner, save water, less crop risk 4. High milling output – by about 15%, due to fewer unfilled grains (less chaff) and fewer broken grains 5. Reductions in labor requirements – widely reported incentive for changing practices in India and China; also, mechanization is being introduced many places Drought-resistance:costs of production – weeks after irrigation 6. Reductions in Rice fields in Sri Lanka 3 greater farmer stopped because of drought -- conventionally-grown field is on left, income and profitability, also health benefits and SRI field is on right-- same variety, same soil, same climate
  34. 34. , Results from Bihar State, 2007-2011 Data from Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotion Society, Govt. of Bihar SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION -- state ave. 2.3 t/ha Climatic conditions 2007 Normal rainfall No. of smallholders Area under SRI (ha) SRI yield (t/ha) Conv. yield (t/ha) 2008 2009 Water Drought, but submergence rainfall in occurred 2x Sept. 2010 Complete drought 128 30 10.0 5,146 544 7.75 8,367 786 6.5 19,911 1,412 3.22* 2.7 2.36 2.02 1.66* SYSTEM OF WHEAT INTENSIFICATION -- state ave. 2.4 t/ha 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 No. of smallholders 415 25,235 48,521 Area under SWI (ha) 16 1,200 2,536 SWI average yield (t/ha) 3.6 4.5 NA Conv. average yield (t/ha) 1.6 1.6 NA * Results from measurements of yield on 74 farmers’ SRI and conventional fields
  35. 35. CHINA: SRI extension and impact in Sichuan, 2004-10 Year 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2010 941,068 7,267 57,400 SRI yield (kg/ha) 9,105 9,435 8,805 9,075 9,300 9,495 9,555 9,252 Non-SRI yield (kg/ha) 7,740 7,650 7,005 7,395 7,575 7,710 7,740 7,545 SRI increment (t/ha)* 1,365 1,785 1,800# 1,680 1,725 1,785 1,815# 1,708 SRI % increase in yield* 17.6% 22.8% 23.2% Increased grain (tons) 1,547 Grain price (RMB Yuan/kg) Added net income due to SRI (million RMB)* 23.3% 25.7% 22.7% 12,971 103,320 197,008 352,705 252,467 301,067 Total 1,133 SRI area (ha) 117,267 204,467 2009 23.5% 22.7% 450,653 546,436 1,664,640 1.44 1.44 1.44 1.50 1.80 1.84 1.95 1.28 11.64 106.51 205.10 450.85 571.69 704.27 1.63 2,051 ($300 m) * Comparison is with Sichuan provincial average for paddy yield and SRI profitability # In drought years, SRI yields were relatively higher than with conventional methods Source: Data are from the Sichuan Provincial Department of Agriculture.
  36. 36. Storm resistance: Adjacent fields after being hit by a tropical storm in Dông Trù village, Hanoi province, Vietnam On left are SRI field and rice plant; on right, conventional field and plant Same variety was used in both fields -- on right, we see serious lodging; on left, no lodging
  37. 37. Incidence of diseases and pests in Vietnam: National IPM Program evaluation -- averages of data from on-farm trials in 8 provinces, 2005-06: Spring season Summer season SRI plots Farmer plots Difference SRI plots Farmer Plots Difference 6.7% 18.1% 63.0% 5.2% 19.8% 73.7% -- -- -- 8.6% 36.3% 76.5% Small leaf folder * 63.4 107.7 41.1% 61.8 122.3 49.5% Brown plant hopper * 542 1,440 62.4% 545 3,214 83.0% Sheath blight Leaf blight AVERAGE * Insects/m2 55.5% 70.7%
  38. 38. Modern improved variety (Ciherang) – no yield Traditional aromatic variety (Sintanur) - 8 t/ha Resistance to both biotic and abiotic stresses: fields were hit by both brown planthopper (BPH) and by storm damage in Indonesia – the rice field on left was grown with standard practices, while the field on the right is organic SRI
  39. 39. Comparison of methane gas emission 1000 840.1 kg CH4 / ha 800 72 % 600 400 237.6 200 0 CT SRI Emission (kg/ha) CO2 ton/ha CH4 N2 O equivalent CT 840.1 0 17.6 SRI 237.6 0.074 5.0 Treatment
  40. 40. SRI practices are now being used beyond rice, for broader System of Crop Intensification (SCI) Farmer-led innovations with civil society help in: • Wheat (SWI) -- India, Nepal, Ethiopia, Mali • Sugarcane (SSI) -- India, Cuba • Finger millet (SFMI) -- India, Ethiopia • Mustard (rapeseed/canola) -- India • Teff -- Ethiopia • Sorghum – Ethiopia Also: maize, soya bean, black gram, green gram, red gram, tomatoes, chilies, eggplant, sesame, turmeric, etc. -- India, Ethiopia
  41. 41. Report on System of Crop Intensification (SCI) results in the Indian state of Bihar Crops Rice Wheat Oil seeds Pulses Vegetables Yield increase 86% 72% 50% 56% 20% Profitability per ha 250% 86% 93% 67% 37% Enhancing Agricultural Livelihoods through Community Institutions in Bihar, India (2013) D. Behera et al., World Bank India Office, New Delhi, and JEEVIKA, Patna, India
  42. 42. System of Wheat Intensification on-farm trials in Tigray Province, Ethiopia, 2009-10, supported by a grant from Oxfam America to Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) -- 39 grains vs. 56 grains per panicle
  43. 43. SWI results in Mali (1st year) Africare program, 2009 • • • • • Numbers of tillers 18.4 3.7 Seed reduction: 94% (10 vs 170 kg/ha) Yield increase: 10% (2.2 vs 2.0 t/ha) Labor reduction: 40% Irrigation water reduction: 30% Problems: mortality, spacing was too wide (25cm x 25cm  20 x 20 cm) Panicle length: SWI: 10.2 cm Traditional: 4.2 cm
  44. 44. Panicles of SWI wheat in Bihar, India In 2012, area with SWI management >180,000 ha, aided by JEEVIKA program with WB/IDA support
  45. 45. ICRISAT-WWF Sugarcane Initiative: • 20-100% 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.”
  46. 46. System of Teff Intensification (STI) in Ethiopia now supported by the government’s Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) and BMGF Transplanted teff on left; conventional broadcast teff on right 7,000 farmers in 2012, plus 160,000 farmers practicing STI ‘lite’ (drilled > transplanted)
  47. 47. These results do not argue against making further genetic improvements or against any use of external inputs They do suggest, however, that progress can be made right now at low cost with savings of water and with buffering against climate change -- by changing crop management practices, especially by attending to the purposeful nurturing of roots and soil biota WHAT IS GOING ON?
  48. 48. Two practical conclusions: 1. Instead of focusing so much on ‘feeding the plant’ (with fertilizer), we should be ‘feeding the soil’ with organic matter, so that the soil system will feed the plant 2. Rather than focus so much on growing plants (above ground), we should do whatever is needed to grow roots! -- because it is the root systems that grow the plant
  49. 49. With SRI/SCI we see the importance of the abundance, diversity and activity of beneficial SOIL ORGANISMS promoted by soil organic matter and by exudates from large, functioning ROOT SYSTEMS which support plant growth and health We are just starting to understand better the contributions of symbiotic endophytes to mobilizing the services for crops of the plant-soil microbiome
  50. 50. Soil-aerating hand weeder in Sri Lanka costing <$20
  51. 51. Effects of ‘Active Soil Aeration’ 412 farmers in Morang district of Nepal when using SRI in monsoon season, 2005 SRI yield = 6.3 t/ha vs. control yield = 3.1 t/ha Data show how WEEDINGS can raise yield No. of weedings 1 2 3 No. of farmers 32 366 14 Average yield 5.16 5.87 7.87 Range of yields (3.6 - 7.6) (3.5 - 11.0) (5.85 - 10.4)
  52. 52. Impact of weedings on yield with SRI methods in Ambatovaky, Madagascar, 1997-98 No. of mech. weedings Farmers (N) Area (ha) Harvest (kg) Yield (t/ha) 0 2 8 27 24 15 0.11 0.62 3.54 5.21 5.92 657 3,741 26,102 47,516 69,693 5.973 7.723 7.373 9.120 11.772 1 2 3 4
  53. 53. ENDOPHYTIC AZOSPIRILLUM, TILLERING, AND RICE YIELDS WITH CULTIVATION PRACTICES AND NUTRIENT AMENDMENTS Replicated trials at Anjomakely, Madagascar, 2001 (Andriankaja, 2002) CLAY SOIL Traditional cultivation, no amendments SRI cultivation, with no amendments SRI cultivation, with NPK amendments SRI cultivation, with compost Azospirillum in roots (103 CFU/mg) Tillers/ plant Yield (t/ha) 65 17 1.8 1,100 45 6.1 450 68 9.0 1,400 78 10.5 75 32 2.1 2,000 47 6.6 LOAM SOIL SRI cultivation with no amendments SRI cultivation, with compost
  54. 54. Microbial populations in rice rhizosphere Tamil Nadu Agricultural University research Microorganisms Total bacteria Conventional management 88 x 106 SRI management 105 x 106 (20% more) Azospirillum 8 x 105 31 x 105 (~4x more) Azotobacter 39 x 103 66 x 103 (~2x more) Phosphobacteria 33 x 103 59 x 103 (~2x more) T. M. Thiyagarajan, WRRC presentation, Tsukuba, Japan, 2004
  55. 55. Microbial populations in rhizosphere soil of rice crop under different management at active tillering, panicle initiation, and flowering (conv. = red; SRI = yellow). Units are √ transformed values of population/gram of dry soil (data from IPB) Total diazotrophs Total bacteria 40 30 20 10 0 Phosphobacteria Azotobacter
  56. 56. Microbial activity in rhizosphere soil of rice crop under different management (conv. = red; SRI = yellow) at active tillering, panicle initiation, and flowering stages Units are √ transformed values of population/gram of dry soil per 24 h Dehydrogenase activity (μg TPF) Acid phosphate activity (μg p-Nitrophenol) Urease activity (μg NH4-N)) Nitrogenase activity (nano mol C2H4)
  57. 57. Total microbes and numbers of beneficial microbes (CFU mg-1) under conventional and SRI cultivation methods, Tanjung Sari, Indonesia, Feb.-Aug. 2009 (Iswandi et al., 2009) Cultivation method and fertilization Total microbes (x105) Azotobacter (x103) Azospirillum (x103) P-solubilizing bacteria (x104) Conventional mgmt (NPK) 2.3a 1.9a 0.9a 3.3a 2.7a 2.2a 1.7ab 4.0a 3.8b 3.7b 2.8bc 5.9b 4.8c 4.4b 3.3c 6.4b Inorganic SRI (with NPK) Organic SRI (compost) Inorganic SRI + biofertilizer
  58. 58. These results suggest the importance of studying and understanding the contributions that are made by symbiotic endophytes (aka endophytic symbionts) – major parts of the plant-soil microbiome
  59. 59. “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: 7271-7278 (2005) Rhizobium strain Ac-ORS 571 Sm-1021 Sm-1002 R1-2370 Mh-93 Control Total plant Shoot dry Net photosynroot vol/pot wt/pot thesis rate (cm3) (g) (µmol of CO2 ± SE ± SE m-2 s-1) ± SE 210 ± 36A 180 ± 26A 168 ± 8AAB 175 ± 23A 193 ± 16A 130 ± 10B 63 ± 2A 67 ± 5A 52 ± 4BC 61 ± 8AB 67 ± 4A 47 ± 6C 16.42 ± 1.39A 14.99 ± 1.64B 13.70 ± 0.73B 13.85 ± 0.38B 13.86 ± 0.76B 10.23 ± 1.03C Water utilization efficiency ± SE Grain yield/pot (g) ± SE 3.63 ± 0.17BC 4.02 ± 0.19AB 4.15 ± 0.32A 3.36 ± 0.41C 3.18 ± 0.25CD 2.77 ± 0.69D 86 ± 5A 86 ± 4A 61 ± 4B 64 ± 9B 77 ± 5A 51 ± 4C
  60. 60. “Proteomic analysis of rice seedlings infected by Sinorhizobium meliloti 1021” Feng Chi et al., Proteomics 10: 1861-1874 (2010)
  61. 61. Ratio of root and shoot growth in symbiotic and nonsymbiotic rice plants -- seeds were inoculated with the fungus Fusarium culmorum vs. controls R. J. Rodriguez et al., ‘Symbiotic regulation of plant growth, development and reproduction” Communicative and Integrative Biology, 2:3 (2009). 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.
  62. 62. Growth of nonsymbiotic (on left) and symbiotic (on right) rice seedlings. On the growth of endophyte (F. culmorum) and plant inoculation procedures, see Rodriguez et al., Communicative and Integrative Biology, 2:3 (2009).
  63. 63. More productive phenotypes also can give higher water-use efficiency as measured by the ratio of photosynthesis to transpiration For each 1 millimol of water lost by transpiration: 3.6 millimols of CO2 are fixed in SRI plants, 1.6 millimols of CO2 are fixed in RMP plants This becomes more important with climate change “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)
  64. 64. Economics, environmental vulnerabilities, and climate change effects will require a different kind of agriculture in 21st century. Suggest we RE-BIOLOGIZE AGRICULTURE We need an understanding of agriculture that is more informed by microbiology, crop physiology, soil ecology, and epigenetics – which are becoming more prominent in our contemporary science Closing thought: Darwin’s ‘tree of life’ was good taxonomy, but not very good biology -- We never left the microbes behind…
  65. 65. THANK YOU Web page: http://sri.ciifad.cornell.edu/ Email: ntu1@cornell.edu [NTU-one]