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Home > Basin > Indo-Ganges > Developing aerobic rice in Asia (PN16)

Full Project Title: Developing a system of temperate and tropical aerobic rice in Asia (STAR) (PN16)


Asia’s traditional irrigated rice production, requiring submerged soil conditions and much water compared with other crops, is constrained by declining availability and increasing costs of water as well as lack of rainfall in rain-fed farming areas. Water-use efficiency is critical to help safeguard food security for rice farmers living in water-scarce areas.

Aerobic rice is a production system in which specially developed, input response rice varieties with “aerobic adaptation” are grown in well-drained, non-puddled, and non-saturated soils without ponded water. It holds promise for farmers in water-scarce irrigated or rain-fed environments where water availability at the farm level is too low, or where water is too expensive, to grow flooded lowland rice.

In this CPWF project, strategic research in three benchmark basins, Yellow River, Indo-Ganges, and Mekong, aimed to develop sustainable aerobic rice systems for water-scarce irrigated and rain-fed environments in Asia with the key objectives to: 1. Identify and develop aerobic rice varieties with high yield potential 2. Develop insights into key processes of water and nutrient dynamics 3. Identify key sustainability issues, and propose remedial measures 4. Develop practical technologies for crop establishment 5. Characterize and identify target domains.

Research Highlights

Research highlights

  • Breeding of aerobic rice varieties is most developed in China where the project obtained maximum yields of 6 t ha-1 under well-defined experimental conditions.
  • In India, tropical aerobic rice varieties with 4.5 t ha-1 yield potential were identified (Pusa Rice Hybrid 10, Proagro6111, Pusa834, Apo (PSBRc9).  However, these varieties had a relatively lower tolerance to dry soil conditions than the Chinese varieties in that soil water tensions had to stay below 30-40 kPa to reach these high yields.
  • Under rain-fed conditions in Laos and Northeast Thailand, breeding lines were identified with yield potentials of 2 (NE Thailand) to 3.5 (Laos) t ha-1.
  • Adoption of aerobic rice will (among others) depend on relative market prices the different crops available to farmers are expected to fetch in a particular year, the degree of water scarcity, availability of quality seeds and extension support, and farmers’ preference to grow their own rice for self sufficiency rather than depending on markets.
Project Outcomes

Project outcomes

  • Extrapolation domain construction and scenario analysis (by CPWF-Impact Study) suggest that aerobic rice can have large impacts in India and countries in the lower parts of the Mekong Basin.
  • The aerobic rice technology can be considered sufficiently mature for dissemination in the Yellow River Basin (YRB), but not so for most of tropical Asia where more R&D is needed to create sustainable and high-yielding aerobic rice systems.
Publications and Outputs

To view all outputs from project PN16 visit our document repository.

Selected publications and outputs

Journal papers

  1. Bouman, B.A.M., Feng Liping, Tuong, T.P., Lu Guoan, Wang Huaqi, Feng Yuehua, 2007. Exploring options to grow rice under water-short conditions in northern China using a modelling approach. II: Quantifying yield, water balance components, and water productivity. Agricultural Water Management 88, 23-33.
  2. Feng Liping, Bouman, B.A.M., Tuong, T.P., Cabangon, R.J., Li Yalong , Lu Guoan, Feng Yuehua, 2007. Exploring options to grow rice under water-short conditions in northern China using a modelling approach. I: Field experiments and model evaluation. Agricultural Water Management 88, 1-13.
  3. Lixiao Nie, Shaobing Peng, Bas A. M. Bouman, Jianliang Huang, Kehui Cui, Romeo M. Visperas, and Hong-Kyu Park, 2007. Solophos fertilizer improved rice plant growth in aerobic soil. Journal of Integrated Field Science 4: 11-16.
  4. Lixiao Nie, Shaobing Peng, Bas A.M. Bouman, Jianliang Huang, Kehui Cui, Romeo M. Visperas, Hong-Kyu Park, 2007. Effect of oven heating of soil on vegetative plant growth of aerobic rice. Plant and Soil 300: 185-195.

Papers in review

  1. Lampayan, R.M., B.A.M. Bouman, J.E. Faronilo, J.B. Soriano, L. B. Silverio, B. V. Villanueva, J.L. de Dios, A.J. Espiritu, T.M. Norte, K. Thant, (in prep 2008), Yield of aerobic rice in rainfed lowlands of the Philippines as affected by N fertilization and row spacing.
  2. Limeng Zhang, Shan Lin, Hongbin Tao, Changying Xue, Xiaoguang Yang, Dule Zhao, B.A.M. Bouman, Klaus Dittert (in prep 2008), Response of yield determinants and dry matter translocation of aerobic rice to N application on two soil types.
  3. Lixiao Nie, Shaobing Peng, Bas A.M. Bouman, Jianliang Huang, Kehui Cui, Romeo M. Visperas, and Jing Xiang, (in preparation 1), Alleviating soil sickness caused by aerobic monocropping: Responses of aerobic rice to nutrient supply, to be submitted to Field Crops Research.
  4. Lixiao Nie, Shaobing Peng, Bas A.M. Bouman, Jianliang Huang , Kehui Cui, Romeo M. Visperas, Jing Xiang, (in preparation 2), Alleviation of Soil Sickness Caused by aerobic monocropping: Responses of rice plant to various nitrogen sources, to be submitted to Plant and Soil.
  5. Xiao Qin Dai, Hong Yan Zhang, J. H. J. Spiertz, Jun Yu, Guang Hui Xie, B. A. M Bouman, (in prep 2008), Productivity and Resource Use of Aerobic Rice – Winter Wheat Cropping Systems in the Huai River Basin.
  6. Xue Changying, Yang Xiaoguang, Bouman B.A.M., Deng Wei, Zhang Qiuping,Yan Weixiong, Zhang Tianyi, Rouzi Aji, Wang Huaqi,Wang Pu, (submitted), Effects of irrigation and nitrogen on the performance of aerobic rice in northern China. Journal of Integrative Plant Biology.
Final Report
Project Partners

Project partners


Project Lead

Project lead


For more information on Phase 1 outputs please contact Udana Ariyawansa.