System of Rice
SRIKhidhir Abbas Hameed
Agricultural Researches Office
Al Najaf Researches Department
Al-Mishkhab Rice Research Station
Najaf - IRAQ
Training course on System of Rice Intensification, 9 December 2020
Introduction to SRI
SRI is an improved method of rice cultivation that
involves the use of certain management practices
which together produce better growing conditions
for rice plants, particularly in the root zone,
compared with plants grown under traditional
SRI method of cultivation produces higher yields
with less water and less agrochemicals. SRI
emphasizes the need to shift from chemical fertilizer
to organic manures.
SRI method is emerging as a potential alternative to
traditional flooded rice cultivation and is showing
great promise in addressing the problem of water
The conventional method of rice irrigation is
continuous submergence, which involves
maintaining a layer of water during the rice
Farmers are not currently utilizing organic
matter optimally to improve soil fertility.
Using herbicides for weed control causes
Accordingly, we should be thinking strategically about
changing the current method of rice production to
something more agriculturally and environmentally
SRI, which is a relatively new methodology, involves a set
of practices for plants, soil, water and nutrient management.
The basic six principles are:
Seedlings are transplanted early.
*Rice seedlings are transplanted when only the first
two leaves have emerged from the initial tiller, usually
when they are between 8 and 15 days old.
* When transplanting seedlings, carefully remove
them from the nursery bed.
* Carefully transplant of seedlings when they are very
young to reduce shock.
Seedlings are planted singly rather than In clumps.
*Seedlings are transplanted singly.
*Individual plants have room to spread and
to send down roots.
*Root systems become altogether different
when plants are set out singly.
*Seedlings are planted in a square pattern with
plenty of space between them in all
directions (usually at least 25cm×25cm).
*Leaving wide spaces between each plant
ensures that roots have adequate room to grow,
and the plants will be exposed to more sunlight,
air and nutrients.
*The square pattern also facilitates weeding.
*Soil is kept moist but not saturated during the
vegetative growth period, ensuring that more
oxygen is available in the soil for the roots.
*Soil should be allowed to dry to the point of
cracking; this will allow oxygen to enter the soil,
and, at the same time induce the roots to grow
and "search" for water.
*Unflooded conditions result in more air in the
soil, and greater root growth means that the
rest of the plant will have access to more
*The compost can be made from any biomass
(e.g. rice straw, plant cuttings and other plant
material), with some animal manure added if
*Compost adds nutrients to the soil slowly and
can also contribute to be a better soil
*Organic manure improves soil aeration and
also microbial activity.
Applying SRI Practices
Prepare soft soil.
Fill the soft soil into the plastic tray.
Soak seeds in salty water.
Coat seeds for germination.
Spray the trays with water until saturated, then broadcast
the germinated seeds on it.
Assemble the planted trays, and cover them with wet
Prepare the nursery, and level by water.
Spread trays in the nursery, and covering them with light
Transplant in rows in a square pattern.
Average yields about 8 t/ha -- twice
the present world average of 3.8 t/ha
Maximum yields can be twice this;
about 16 t/ha
Water requirements reducible by 50%
Increased factor productivity for land,
labor, capital and water –
MORE IMPORTANT THAN YIELD
Lower costs of production per/kg
MOST IMPORTANT FOR
Less or No Need for:
Different varieties, though best yields from
high-yielding varieties and hybrids;
traditional varieties can yield very well
Chemical fertilizers -- while these give
positive yield response with SRI, we find
that compost gives best results
Agrochemicals – plants more resistant to
pests and diseases with SRI methods so
pesticides, etc. not often needed
Seeding rate reduced as much as 90%, 5-
10 kg/ha yields more than 50-100 kg;
smaller nursery area, less water needed
No lodging because of stronger roots
Environmentally friendly production due
to water saving, no/fewer chemicals
More accessible to poor households
because few capital requirements
What Makes the SRI Story
Important on a Global
SRI innovation addresses many of the large challenges that
humankind faces in this century:
Reducing the continuing hunger and poverty in this world which are
not only unjust but also sources of instability and turmoil;
Enabling farmers to adapt to and even to help mitigate the disruptive
forces of climate change;
Making the world’s food supply more sustainable and cheaper;
Contributing to greater gender equity, to soil health, and to human
health and nutrition;
Helping to conserve biodiversity above and below ground; and
Having a more participatory, self-reliant path to development
because SRI productivity gains are achieved through collaborative
action and without proprietary modes of innovation.
Advice for Applying SRI
Apply SRI in small area, and according to its positive results,
expand on a larger scale.
Use transplanting machine when applying SRI system on large
Buy rotary hoes from neighboring countries as a model, and
develop manufacturing capability to reduce labor for removing
Purchase leveling machines (paddy harrow) to reduce the labor
required for the soil leveling process.
Implementing the SRI system in April in alfalfa fields to produce
organic fertilizer as a green manure, which is then plowed into
the soil about two months before planting rice so it has time to
decompose. Alternatively, decomposed material from the
previous crop mixed together with animal manure in April to
enhance the soil fertility.
Organize SRI training courses and lectures for farmers in
April as part of a wide extension program to raise
farmers' knowledge of this SRI system; teach them how
to decomposing the agricultural waste.
Train professional farmers to be SRI trainers for other
farmers as part of the farmer to farmer program. Farmers
understand each other, and the farmer can deliver the
idea in his own way to the other farmer.