The effect of rice water management on greenhouse gas emissions

Research at Yanco Agricultural Institute has shown that the practice of delayed permanent water in rice crops has the potential to reduce the global warming effect of a rice crop by up to 79% compared with a conventionally watered (permanently ponded) drill sown crop. Further, this benefit was measured without any impact on yield.

Quick take:

  • In a rice experiment at Yanco Agricultural Institute, seasonal methane emissions were reduced by more than 90% in a drill sown rice crop with delayed permanent water compared with a crop with conventional watering (permanent ponding).
  • Overall global warming potential, based on both methane and nitrous oxide emissions, was reduced by approximately 70% in delayed permanent water treatments compared with conventional watering , and there was no significant effect on yield.
  • Global warming potential of the delayed permanent water system was estimated at about 160 kg CO2-e per tonne of grain and 553 kg CO2-e per tonne of grain for the conventionally managed crop.

Wendy C. Quayle, CSIRO Agriculture Flagship, Griffith, Brian Dunn, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Yanco & Hiz Jamali, CSIRO Agriculture Flagship, Griffith

IREC Farmers’ Newsletter – Large Area No. 192: Autumn 2015. Read the full newsletter here.