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Aerobic rice cultivation

Aerobic rice cultivation

Problems with present way of cultivation

Present day conventional method of rice cultivation utilises 5,000 liters of water for producing one kg of rice than its actual requirement of 3,000 liters. About 2,000 liters is lost due to flooding and seepage losses.

Decline in water table necessitates the need for improved water-use efficiency and water productivity in agriculture, particularly in rice cultivation.

Aerobic rice cultivation

This is a technique of growing rice plant as irrigated crop like cultivating maize and wheat in aerobic condition, where oxygen is plenty in soil. It reduces water use in rice production and increases the water use efficiency.

In aerobic rice cultivation, rice is cultivated as direct sown in non-puddle aerobic soil under supplementary irrigation and fertilizer with suitable high yielding rice varieties. Throughout the growing season, aerobic rice field is kept under unsaturated condition and field is irrigated by surface or sprinkler system to keep soil wet.

Therefore, water productivity is reported to be higher in aerobic rice by 64-88 per cent (calculated as grams of grain produced per kg of water input) and utilizes 3,000 to 3,500 litres of water to produce 1 kg of rice compared to rice raised under transplanted flooded system.

Aerobic rice cultivation system involves mechanised way of sowing with no puddling, transplanting and not need of frequent irrigation, which reduce labour usage more than 50 per cent, compared to irrigated rice.

Where this technique is useful

The suitable areas for aerobic rice cultivation includes irrigated lowlands, where rainfall is insufficient to sustain rice production, delta regions where there is delay in water release from reservoir, irrigated system of rice cultivation, where pumping from deep bore well has become so expensive and favourable upland system has access to supplementary irrigation.

Accordingly, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, parts of Bihar, Odisha, Karnataka, and eastern Uttar Pradesh are the projected area where there is uneven distribution and frequent occurrence of soil moisture limitation.


Aerobic rice cultivation needs suitable rice varieties having the characteristics of both upland and high yielding lowland varieties to get good yield under the new unconventional system of cultivation.

In India, National Rice Research Institute (NRRI) (formerly Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI)), Cuttack, situated in Odisha, has developed rice varieties suitable for aerobic rice cultivation and so far six varieties were released suitable for this system

Some constraints to this technique

Constrains in aerobic rice cultivation is increased weed growth, poor crop stand, crop lodging, high percentage of panicle sterility and rootknot nematode infestation.

Importantly, high weed infestation is the major constraint for aerobic rice and cost involved in weed control is higher.

Further, due to high infiltration rate of water and imbalanced availability of nitrogen makes the aerobic soil further ailing for micronutrients (iron and zinc) and rise in nematode population.

Therefore, efficient nutrient management techniques along with integrated weed management are researchable areas for successful aerobic rice cultivation and research is in progress.



Rice cultivation has been a cause of concern due to its water consumption, with regard to rice cultivation, write a brief note about aerobic rice cultivation technique.

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