The System of Rice Intensification (SRI)
vs. Conventional Practices
The SRI methodology first developed with irrigated ric...
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1321 - The System of Rice Intensification vs. Conventional Practices


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Title: The System of Rice Intensification vs. Conventional Practices
Presented by: Erika Styger
Presented at: Special Exhibit/Event on Rice Production at Agritechnica
Venue and Date: Hannover, Germany November 15, 2013

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1321 - The System of Rice Intensification vs. Conventional Practices

  1. 1. The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) vs. Conventional Practices The SRI methodology first developed with irrigated rice in Madagascar has shown to be effective across different rice cropping systems as well as other crops, such as wheat and sugarcane. Thanks to the phenotypic changes that occur, plant productivity increases. As a climate-smart agricultural approach, SRI helps farmers to adapt to climate change by reducing crop water requirements; in addition to helping mitigate climate change by reducing methane emissions that accompany permanently flooded conventional fields. ` Irrigated rice produced with SRI and conventional methods SRI Methods: With a focus on optimizing plant and soil health, SRI manages to produce higher yields with fewer inputs. Seed use is reduced by 80-95%, water use by 30-50% (or more!), chemical input use by 30-50% (up to 100% for organic SRI). Conventional Methods: Conventional irrigated rice practices sacrifice soil and plant health in order to suppress weed growth, achieved through permanent flooding Phenotypic changes caused by SRI SRI Methods: Rice plants have a high level of plasticity in developing plant phenotypes - an ability that is present in all rice varieties. SRI methods support a more full expression of plants’ genetic growth potential, whether for local or professionally bred varieties, allowing farmers to improve rice production with the variety of their choice. Conventional Methods: Planting old seedlings closely spaced with constant flooding forces plants to assume a shape and growth pattern that masks their true potential for growth. Only 1 SEEDLING Per HILL Early and Careful Transplanting Transplanting occurs at the two-leaf stage, about 8-12 days Each plant is given space for roots and shoots to grow Transplanting of Older Seedlings Multiple seedlings Per hill Wide spacing 3-5 seedlings/hill or more, increasing intraspecific competition Open Canopy Lacking competition for sunlight early on, SRI plants grow out, with a broader canopy (33˚) than conventional rice1 Many tillers Early planting and wide spacing favors tiller development, producing 100% more tillers per hill than conventional rice,1 as seen in the picture below of a single SRI plant Aerobic soils promote plant and soil microbial health to improve plant nutrition and soil structure Weeds are incorporated and soil is aerated Continuous Flooding Chemical fertilizers Herbicide and hand weeding Reduces weed competition, but increases intraspecific competition Minimizes weed growth, but adversly affects soil health and rice plant growth Late transplanting and tranplanting results in fewer tillers per hill than with SRI SRI Deep, expansive root structure Plants grow deeper looking for more water and nutrients, resulting in roots double the weight per hill1 Conv. With anaerobic soil conditions and densely planted older seedlings, roots don’t grow well, staying shallow and small, characterized by a high die-back and turn over rate Conv. Chemical fertilizers address immediate plant needs, but not long term soil health Can be dangerous to farmers and water supply, and can harm soil health Taller, Thicker Tillers Small, shallow Root systems Few tillers Conv. Mechanical weeding and I.P.M. Plants are transplanted in a grid pattern, with 25cmx25cm or more between plants SRI High planting density causes plants to reach straight for the sun, resulting in a narrower canopy angle (18˚)1 ENRICH SOILS WITH ORGANIC MATTER Close hill spacing Plants are taken out of the nursery at 25-45 days Narrow canopy Alternate wetting and drying SRI Thanks to robust root systems, plants grow taller (24%) and tillers thicker (38%)1 Conv. SRI Thinner tillers Smaller, weaker plants result in shorter growth and thinner tillers SRI Conv. Thakur, A.K et al (2011) Effects for rice plant morphology and physiology of water and associated mgt practices of SRI and their implications for crop performance, PAWE 9:13-24 The SRI International Network and Resources Center at Cornell University Poster 2 - SRI/Conv.indd 1 Contact: Erika Styger (SRI-Rice, Cornell University),; Amir Kassam (FAO),; Josef Kienzle (FAO), - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 10/30/13 11:20 AM