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System of Rice Intensification (SRI) - “Less can Produce more”. Dr. A. SATYANARAYANA Director of Extension. Acharya N. G. Ranga Agricultural University Rajendranagar, Hyderabad. Modern Agriculture. Overly Genocentric Productivity gains were possible with increased

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System of Rice Intensification (SRI) -

“Less can Produce more”


Director of Extension

Acharya N. G. Ranga Agricultural University

Rajendranagar, Hyderabad


Modern Agriculture

  • Overly Genocentric
  • Productivity gains were possible with increased

use of inputs – Fertilizers, Pesticides, Water etc.

They are now giving

    • Diminishing returns
    • Creating environmental hazards, health risks
    • Rising costs of production

21st Century Agriculture needs to be

  • More productive in terms of

- Land, Labour, Water, Capital, Energy, inputs

  • More environmentally benign
  • More robust in the face of climate change
  • More socially beneficial

- reducing poverty, greater food security


Biological power and Eco-agriculture should be basic foundations for soil health

  • Micro organisms and other soil biota as

creators and maintainers of soil fertility

  • Greater attention to plants roots

The basic idea of SRI

Rice plants do best when their

- roots can grow large because

the plants are transplanted carefully

at wider spacing and

grown on soil that is kept well aerated

with abundant and diverse soil microorganisms


The contribution of soil microbial activity need to be taken more seriously

The microbial flora causes a large number of biochemical changes in the soil that largely determine the fertility of soil (De Datta, 1981)


Rice is the most important food crop of India

  • Rice has been identified as Growth Engine under vision 2020 of Andhra Pradesh
  • The area and production of rice is coming down in recent years due to lack of sufficient water in irrigation systems
  • SRI has the potential to meet the challenge by virtue of its capacity to double or even triple the productivity and less water requirement

SRI was first developed in Madaskar during 1980’s

  • Not known outside Madagaskar until 1997
  • Its potential is under testing in China, Indonesia, Combodia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India
  • In A.P, SRI is experimented all the 22 districts with encouraging results
  • Over 1,00,000 farmers are experimenting with this system world wide at present
  • Few thousands of acres are under SRI in the very second season in AP

SRI Technology uses

  • Less external inputs
    • Less seed (2 kg/ac)
    • Fewer plants per unit area (25 x 25 cm)
    • Less chemical fertilizer
    • More organic manures
    • Less pesticides

SRI is initially labour intensive

  • Needs 50% more man days for transplanting and weeding
  • Mobilises labour to work for profit
  • It offers an alternative to resource poor, who puts in their family labour
  • Once skills are learnt and implements are used, the labour costs will be lesser than the present day Rice cultivation

SRI encourages rice plant to grow healthy with

  • Large root volume
  • Profuse and strong tillers
  • Non-lodging
  • Big panicle
  • More and well filled spikelets and higher grain weight
  • Resists insects

Because it allows Rice to grow naturally


Root growth

  • Root growth can be massive in response to SRI practices
  • 3 hills under conventional method required 28 kg of force to be pulled up
  • Single SRI rice plants required 53 kg for uprooting

Tillering is greatly increased

  • 30 tillers per plant are fairly easy to achieve
  • 50 tillers per plant are quite attainable
  • With really good use of SRI, individual plants can have 100 fertile tillers or even more

Because no set back due to early transplanting and no die back of roots

  • Maximum tillering occurs concurrently with panicle initiation
  • With SRI positive correlation is found between the number of panicles per plant and number of grains per panicle

Rice plant

  • Everybody believe that Rice is an aquatic plant and grows best in standing water
  • Rice is not an aquatic plant, it can survive in water but does not thrive under hypoxic conditions
  • Rice plants spends lot of its energy to develop air pockets (aerenchyma tissue) in its roots under continuous inundation
  • 70% of Rice root tips get degenerated by flowering period
  • Under SRI paddy fields are not flooded but keep the soil moist during vegetative phase
  • SRI requires only about half as much water as normally applied in irrigated rice


  • seedlings 8-12 days old,
  • when plant has only
  • two small leaves,before
  • fourth phyllochron
  • Minimize trauma in transplanting
  • Remove plant from nursery with the
  • seed, soil and roots carefully and
  • place it in the field without plunging
  • too deep into soil
  • More tillering potential
  • More root growth potential
  • More tillering potential

After 12 days in nursery

the plant height is 7.7 inches


Length of main root is 5 inches

(12.7 cm)

4 leaves

8 small roots


Diagram of possible stalks of a rice shoot

stalks grow following a regular cycle (phyllochron)



  • plant single seedlings,
  • not in clumps, and in
  • a square pattern, not rows,
  • 25cm x 25cm or wider
  • needed because no standing water; use simple mechanical “rotating hoe” that churns up soil; 2 weedings required, with 4 recommended before panicle initiation; first weeding 10 days after transplanting
  • More root growth potential
  • More root growth, due to reduced weed competition, and aeration of soil, giving roots more oxygen and N due to increased microbial activity we left in soil; can add 1+tons per weeding? Each additional weeding after two rounds results in increased productivity up to 2 t/ha/weeding


  • regular water applications to
  • keep soil moist but not saturated,
  • with intermittent dryings,alternating
  • aerobic and anaerobic soil conditions
  • applied instead of or in addition to
  • chemical fertilizer; 10 tons/ha;
  • More root growth because avoids root degeneration able to acquire more and more varied nutrients from the soil
  • More plant growth because of better soil health and structure, and more balanced nutrient supply

Nursery Management

  • Seed rate 2 kg/ac
  • Nursery area 1 cent/ac
  • Select healthy seed
  • Pre-sprouted seeds are sown on raised nursery bed
  • Prepare nursery bed like garden crops
  • Apply a layer of fine manure
  • Spread sprouted seed sparcely
  • Cover with another layer of manure
  • Mulch with paddy straw
  • Water carefully
  • Banana leaf sheath may be used for easy lifting and transport of seedlings

Main fieldpreparation

  • Land preparation is not different from regular irrigated rice cultivation
  • Levelling should be done carefully so that water can be applied very evenly
  • At every 3 m distance form a canal to facilitate drainage
  • With the help of a marker draw lines both way at 25 x 25 cm apart and transplant at the intersection

Performance of SRI in AP- Kharif 2003

(Trials organized by State DOA)

No. of trials - 69

Average SRI yield (t/ha) - 8.36

Control (t/ha) - 4.89

State average productivity (t/ha) - 3.87

5 districts averaged over 10 t/ha


Report on SRI Cultivation

Name of the Farmer : Mr.A.Jayasurya Reddy

Address : Tarimala Village, Singanamala Mandal

Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh

Season : Rainy season 2003

Area under SRI : 0.2 ha

Variety : BPT 5204


Report on SRI Cultivation

Name of the Farmer : Mr.K.Venka Subba Reddy

Address : Konidedu Village, Panyam Mandal

Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh

Season : Rainy season 2003

Area under SRI : 840 m2

Variety : BPT 5204


Report on SRI Cultivation

Name of the Farmer : Mr.Rakesh

Address : EdulapalliVillage, Kotturu Mandal

Mahabubnagar district, Andhra Pradesh

Variety : BPT 5204

Area under SRI : 0.8 ha

(*) Only organic manures were applied


Report on SRI Cultivation

National Seed Project, ANGRAU, Hyderabad

Variety : BPT 5204

Area under SRI : 0.2 ha

SRI crop matured 10 days earlier


Report on SRI Cultivation

Name of the Farmer : Mr.T.Sambi Reddy

Address : Bhadirajupalem Village,


Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh

Area under SRI : 0.2 ha

Variety : BPT 5204


SRI is counter - Intuitive

Less can produce more

Younger seedlings becomes larger and more productive

Fewer plants/hill and per m2 give more yield

Less water can give greater yield

sri utilizes biological power
SRI utilizes Biological Power
  • Rice root system grown under SRI i.e., aerated soil do not degenerate, are much larger and function better
  • Soils that are aerated and well supplied with organic matter can support longer and diverse populations of soil micro organisms, which inturn mobilizes nutrients to the plant
  • Phytohormones produced by bacteria and fungi living in soils and roots promote root growth and the health of the plants
  • Root exudates provide food to microorganisms
  • Application of fertilizers and other agro chemicals has inhibiting effect on soil biota

Benefits of SRI

1. Higher yields – Both grain and straw

2. Reduced duration (by 10 days)

3. Lesser chemical inputs

4. Less water requirement

5. Less chaffy grain %

6. Grain weight increased without change in grain size

7. Higher head rice recovery

8. Withstood cyclonic gales

9. Cold tolerance

10. Soil health improves through biological activity


Future needs

  • Research to produce different models for different situations
  • To promote SRI by way of making information available
  • To organise a few demonstrations with farmers participation