Description of practice

Paddy rice is conventionally grown in anaerobic conditions for 80% of the growing period, requiring high amounts of irrigation water. Reduced use of water is recommended for increased productivity, adaptation to water scarcity and reduction of methane emissions (potentially offset by carbon dioxide emissions).

Examples of how to use reduced water in rice cultivation Further information
(see Note below)

AMP57 01

System of Rice Intensification

System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is a climate-smart, agro-ecological methodology for increasing rice productivity by 1) early plant establishment; 2) reduced plant density; 3) soil enrichment with organic matter; and 4) reduced and controlled water application.


»WOCAT technology 1654
»WOCAT technology 1224
»WOCAT technology 2550
»WOCAT technology 1494
»Rice Knowledge Bank
»Environmental Research Letters - Livsey et al.



AMP57 02

Rice intensification through organic rice-duck farming

The usual rice farming system (seedling condition, planting distance, irrigation time and water requirement) is modified, an organic fertilization scheme is introduced, and ducks are incorporated in the system. Ducks help weeding, pest biocontrol and fertilization.


»WOCAT technology 1302

AMP57 03

Alternate wetting and drying

Rice fields are flooded to a depth of 5 cm then allowed to dry. They are flooded again when the water level (monitored by perforated PVC tubes) reaches 15 cm below the soil surface. The practice decreases water use while having no impact on yield, decreases methane emissions and water pump fuel consumption.


»WOCAT technology 4671
»Rice Knowledge Bank

AMP57 04

Aerobic rice

Specifically developed “aerobic rice” varieties are grown in well-drained, non-puddled, and non-saturated soils. The system aims for yields of at least 4-6 tons per hectare. Crop rotation replaces flooding for weed management.


»Rice Knowledge Bank - aerobic rice

AMP57 05

Saturated soil culture

The soil is kept as close to saturation as possible by shallow irrigations (of about 1 cm floodwater) a day or so after the disappearance of standing water. It leads to water savings at slight yield impact (4-9%).


»RJ Lawn - publication

Note: Most of the Further information links are to a full description of the example in the WOCAT database. However sometimes the link may be to similar p actices or a research paper. Occasionally the link is to a commercial product in which case it should be understood that this does not imply any endorsement of the product by iSQAPER.

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