Increasing and stabilizing yields by ecological intensification of rice production systems on a gradient of complexity

U. Khumairoh, Trinidad del Rio Mena, G. Garnacho Alemany, E.A. Lantinga, D. Suprayogo, B. Guritno, P.A. Tittonell, J.C.J. Groot

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Co-cultures of plant and animal species combined with application of organic resources like
manures and compost can support ecological processes of nutrient cycling and pest control in
farming systems. This increasing complexity and application of traditional, local practices to design
ecologically intensive systems may lead to higher and more stable yields even under more variable
and extreme weather conditions. We conducted two experiments on East Java, Indonesia, to
investigate the effects of enhancing the complexity of rice production systems by adding
combinations of compost, (green) manures, azolla, ducks and fish on rice grain yields. Moreover,
we investigated the processes governing nutrient cycling (water and nutrient flows) and pest and
weed suppression by fish and duck activities. In both experiments, the increasing gradient of complexity resulted in increased grain yields and revenues. We found that the balance between the components was sometimes difficult to maintain. Nevertheless, the addition of azolla, duck and fish increased plant nutrient content, tillering and leaf area expansion, and strongly reduced the density of six different pests. In the most complex system comprising all components the highest grain yield was obtained, equaling or even exceeding the productivity of conventional rice production systems with artificial fertilizers and pesticide application. If smallholders can be trained, for instance in farmer field schools, to manage these systems and are supported for initial investments by credits, their livelihoods can be improved while producing in an ecologically benign way.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventInternational Conference on Integrated Systems Research - IITA, Ibadan, Nigeria
Duration: 3 Mar 20156 Mar 2015


ConferenceInternational Conference on Integrated Systems Research

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