Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version

January 2005


Published in Field Crops Research 91 (2005) 355–356.


The advocates of the system of rice intensification (SRI) have claimed both the world record for rice yield and the highest yields (by a substantial margin!) for any grain crop (Rafaralahy, 2002). This is curious because none of the usual information expected in support of these ‘fantastic yields’ was presented to support the claim. Absent were data concerning cultivar, experimental design, statistical errors, dates of planting and harvesting, soil types, fertilizer inputs, weed control, disease control, insect control, water management and the weather. Was the information withheld because they wanted to repeat the experiments and publish their incredible results in Nature or Science, before others beat them to it? Did they pause and wonder if they had discovered ‘super’ rice with a yield potential beyond that of any known grain crop? Oddly, the answer to both of those questions is no. Perhaps it escaped their notice that the energy required to achieve such a yield is well beyond the thermodynamic capabilities of plant photosynthesis and crop use of solar energy. Their carelessness with ‘discovery’, the pinnacle of scientific achievement, was matched only by their indifference to the commonly accepted protocols and principles of agronomic science (Sinclair and Cassman, 2004).