Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa


  • DEBAL DEB (a1), JÖRG LÄSSIG (a2) and MARIUS KLOFT (a3)

A survey of the system of rice intensification (SRI)-related literature indicates that different authors have drawn conflicting inferences about rice yield performances under the SRI, chiefly because the SRI methodology has been variously advocated, interpreted and implemented in the field using different rice varieties, seedling ages at transplantation, cultivation seasons and nutrient management regimes. In particular, the SRI method of single-seedling transplantation (SST) has potential economic advantage due to reduced seed costs, but it is not clear whether SST is an effective management strategy across a range of seedling ages, and whether there is any specific seedling age that is optimal for yield improvement of a given rice variety. This is an important consideration in rain-fed ecosystems where variable rainfall patterns and lack of controlled irrigation make it difficult to reliably transplant at a specific seedling age as recommended for the SRI. We conducted a five year-long experiment on a rain-fed organic farm using a short-duration upland and a medium-duration lowland landrace, following the SRI methodology. Rice seedlings of different ages (6, 10, 14, 18 and 28 days after establishment) were transplanted at 25 cm × 25 cm spacing in three replicated plots. The performance for each landrace was examined with respect to productive tillers, panicle density, total grain counts per hill and grain yield per unit area. Performances of seedlings of different ages were compared with that of control plots that employed all SRI practices with the exception that 28-day-old seedlings were transplanted with three seedlings per hill. The results indicate that (1) the SRI can improve mean panicle density if seedling age ≤ 18 days, but that responses differ between varieties; (2) the number of productive tillers per hill is significantly less in SST than that of multiple seedling transplants (MST) of 28-day-old seedlings of both upland and lowland varieties; (3) the total grain numbers per hill of the lowland variety is significantly greater for 14-day-old SST than 28-day-old MST; (4) the grain yield per unit area from young SRI transplants is significantly greater than that from 28-day-old MST for the lowland variety, although the magnitude of the improvement was small; (5) for the upland variety, grain yields declined with the oldest seedlings, but planting multiple seedlings per hill made the yield of the oldest transplants on par with that of younger seedlings planted singly. Our findings suggest that transplanting younger seedlings under the SRI management may not necessarily enhance grain yields.

Corresponding author
Corresponding author. Email:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

G. N. Atlin , H. R. Lafitte , D. Tao , M. Laza , M. Amante and B. Courtois (2006). Developing rice cultivars for high-fertility upland systems in the Asian tropics. Field Crops Research 97:4352.

A. Dobermann (2004). A critical assessment of the system of rice intensification (SRI). Agricultural Systems 79:261281.

M. Farooq , N. Kobayashi , A. Wahid , O. Ito and S. M. A. Basra (2009). Strategies for producing more rice with less water. Advances in Agronomy 101:351388.

W. Hargrove and J. Pickering (1992). Pseudoreplication: a sine qua non for regional ecology. Landscape Ecology 6:251258.

T. Horie , T. Shiraiwa , K. Homma , K. Katsura , Y. Maeda and H. Yoshida (2005). Can yields of lowland rice resume the increases that they showed in the 1980s? Plant Production Science 8:251272.

M. A. Latif , M. R. Islam , M. Y. Ali and M. A. Saleque (2005). Validation of the system of rice intensification (SRI) in Bangladesh. Field Crop Research 93:281292.

M. A. Latif , M. Y. Ali , M. R. Islam , M. A. Badshah and M. S. Hasan (2009). Evaluation of management principles and performance of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Bangladesh. Field Crops Research 114:255262

A. J. McDonald , P. R. Hobbs and S. J. Riha (2006). Does the system of rice intensification outperform conventional best management? A synopsis of the empirical record. Field Crops Research 96:3136.

A. J. McDonald , P. R. Hobbs and S. J. Riha (2008). Stubborn facts: still no evidence that the system of rice intensification out-yields best management practices (BMPs) beyond Madagascar. Field Crops Research 108:188191.

M. Z. L. Menete , H. M. van Es , R. M. L. Brito , S. D. DeGloria and S. Famba (2008). Evaluation of system of rice intensification (SRI) component practices and their synergies on salt affected soils. Field Crops Research 109:3444.

E. Pasuquin , T. Lafarge and B. Tubana (2008). Transplanting young seedlings in irrigated rice fields: early and high tiller production enhanced grain yield. Field Crops Research 105:141155.

P. Oupkaew , T. Pusadee , A. Sirabanchongkran , K. Rerkasem , S. Jamjod and B. Rerkasem (2011). Complexity and adaptability of a traditional agricultural system: case study of a gall midge-resistant rice landrace from northern Thailand. Genetic Resource and Crop Evolution 58:361372. DOI: 10.1007/s10722-010-9579-z

S. Pandey and S. Pal (2007). Are less-favored environments over-invested? The case of rice research in India. Food Policy 32:606623.

Y. San-Oh , Y. Mano , T. Ookawa and T. Hirasawa (2004). Comparison of dry matter production and associated characteristics between direct-sown and transplanted rice plants in a submerged paddy field and relationships to planting patterns. Field Crops Research 87:4358.

Z. T. Sarvestani , H. Pirdashti , S. A. M. M. Sanavi and H. Balouchi (2008). Study of water effects in different growth stages on yield and yield components of different rice (Oryza sativa L.) cultivars. Pakistan Journal of Biological Science 11:13031309.

A. Satyanarayana , T. M. Thiyagarajan and N. Uphoff (2007). Opportunities for water saving with higher yield from the system of rice intensification. Irrigation Science 25:99115.

H. F. Schnier , M. Dingkuhn , S. K. De Datta , K. Mengel and J. E. Faronilo (1990). Nitrogen fertilization of direct-seeded flooded vs. transplanted rice. I. Nitrogen uptake, photosynthesis, growth and yield. Crop Science 30:12761284.

K. Senthilkumar , P. S. Bindraban , T. M. Thiyagarajan , N. de Ridder and K. E. Giller (2008). Modified rice cultivation in Tamil Nadu, India: yield gains and farmers’ (lack of) acceptance. Agricultural Systems 98:8294.

J. E. Sheehy , S. Peng , A. Dobermann , P. L. Mitchell , A. Ferrer , J. Yang , Y. Zou , X. Zhong and J. Huang (2004). Fantastic yields in the system of rice intensification: fact or fallacy? Field Crops Research 88:18.

T. R. Sinclair and K. G. Cassman (2004). Agronomic UFOs? Field Crops Research 88:910.

J. E. Sheehy , T. R. Sinclair and K. G. Cassman (2005). Curiosities, nonsense, nonscience and SRI. Field Crops Research 91:355356.

S. K. Sinha and J. Talati (2007). Productivity impacts of the system of rice intensification (SRI): a case study in West Bengal, India. Agricultural Water Management 87:5560.

W. A. Stoop , N. Uphoff and A. Kassam (2002). A review of agricultural research issues raised by the system of rice intensification (SRI) from Madagascar: opportunities for improving farming systems for resource-poor farmers. Agricultural Systems 71:249274.

W. A. Stoop , A. Adam and A. Kassam (2009). Comparing rice production systems: a challenge for agronomic research and for the dissemination of knowledge-intensive farming practices. Agricultural Water Management 96:14911501.

E. Styger , G. Aboubacrine , M. A. Attaher and N. Uphoff (2011). The system of rice intensification as a sustainable agricultural innovation: introducing, adapting and scaling up a system of rice intensification practices in the Timbuktu region of Mali. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 9:6775.

Y. Tsujimoto , T. Horie , H. Randriamihary , T. Shiraiwa and K. Homma (2009). Soil management: the key factors for higher productivity in the fields utilizing the system of rice intensification (SRI) in the central highland of Madagascar. Agricultural Systems 100:6171.

A. J. Underwood (1997). Experiments in Ecology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

N. Uphoff , A. Kassam and W. Stoop (2008). A critical assessment of a desk study comparing crop production systems: the example of the ‘system of rice intensification’ versus ‘best management practice’. Field Crops Research 108:109114 [Accessed 7 February 2012].

Y. Xing and Q. Zhang (2010). Genetic and molecular bases of rice yield. Annual Review of Plant Biology 61:11.111.22.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Experimental Agriculture
  • ISSN: 0014-4797
  • EISSN: 1469-4441
  • URL: /core/journals/experimental-agriculture
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 5 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 77 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th March 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.