August 26, 2014

25/08/2014: Rice yields can triple with drip watering systems

Rice production can be raised and greenhouse gases reduced with the strategic use of irrigation through drip or micro watering systems. This is the findings of an irrigation scheme carried out in Israeli trial at Netafim.
 
http://agritech.tnau.ac.in/agriculture/agri_index.html
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University

Israeli and Indian scientists from Netafim and Tamil Nadu respectively, have been working on flood irrigation that shows the practice causing much additional greenhouse gas emissions when compared to drip watering systems.

The new system for rice does not stop at just supplying water to the plant;it also caries fertilisers and makes a significant contribution to reducing associated greenhouse gases of methane and nitrous oxide and the release of nitrates into groundwaters.

Traditional paddies can produce gasses through anaerobic processes while at the same time allowing bacteria which feed off anoxic conditions produce nitrous oxides. 

Scientists from Israel found that in the southern Indian states, a square metre of paddy field can produce as much as three milligrams of nitrous oxides a day while paddies using the drip system produced just one sixth of that amount per day. 

It's a system designed to provide the plant with moisture and nutrients it needs without allowing excessive water and fertilisers to be washed into the soil and into groundwater to threaten the environment and even internationally important structures such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, says the scientists.

Similar work can be traced back to Thailand in 2005 when researches at the University of Technology in Thonburi undertook draining fields and modifying fertiliser programmes to minimise emissions and reduce ground water contamination.

As rice has been cultivated using flood systems for over 5000 years it is not easy to promote the benefits of alternative watering technology. However, the Israeli-Inidan collaboration is proving a yield increase of more than three times traditional crop sizes which are note being replicated in commercial operations in southern India.


Read more HERE.
 

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