The new SRI world record in rice yield: what does it mean?

In November 2011, five Indian farmers broke the old world record in rice yield of 19.0 tons/hectare (380 cavans/ha), held by world-famous scientist Prof. Yuan Long-ping, inventor of hybrid rice.

The best of the five, Sumant Kumar, got a yield of 22.4 tons/ha, the new world record.

How did these five farmers beat the old world record? They all used a new method of growing rice, which they learned in 2008. The method is called System of Rice Intensification (SRI).

The new world record tells us three things about SRI:

ONE: SRI is farmer-friendly. Using it, ordinary farmers obtained a yield higher than the best rice scientist in the world could attain. They got a yield higher than IRRI, Philrice, or any other rice scientist has attained. With SRI, farmers can do better than scientists.

TWO: SRI leads to quick results. Prof. Yuan Long-ping had devoted almost 40 years of his professional to improving rice yield, and managed to go as high as 19.0 tons/ha. The five farmers learned SRI only in 2008. Within three years, they had broken Prof. Yuan’s record.

THREE: SRI is reliable. If only one farmer had broken the world record, we might hear comments like, “Tsamba!” (“Lucky break!”). If two or even three had done it, Doubts might persist among a few hardline skeptics. But with five SRI farmers, there is no doubt at all, that SRI is effective in improving rice yields.

We have been promoting SRI among farmers since 2000, long before it became the world record-holder in rice yield. With this development, there is no more reason for the government to keep ignoring this method.


  1. Mark Fulford
    Posted July 12, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Greetings Roberto ,

    So good to see more of your posts. particularly about SRI.
    Here is the US, hardly anyone seems to appreciate what this means , especially in the drought or flooding becoming so common.
    I have shown the SRI videos and many data at agricultural classes i present many times each year
    the most convincing is to do it here at my farm and have field days to show.

    You would think it would be like kidlat! with the first introduction, but alas, it is more like not even considered “tsamba” to American farmers when they see SRI applied to any crops

    I find it is a system that adapts well to many other crops here. like onion, dry beans, carrot,
    potatoes. and the many grains commonly grown so close together at machine planted distances of rows about 14 cm and seeded at every cm or two in the row, for wheat, barley oats and others.

    The main worry is weed control and old belief systems.
    It is almost unheard of in the states to cultivate between rows of grains.

    One interesting method is the stale bed method of planting grain or vegetable seed directly into a dry field that has allowed weeds to emerge only to the first true leaf.

    a small piece of plastic or glass is placed over the rows of crop seed to push it to germination along a day or two ahead of the rest of the seeded plants. It becomes a prediction tool.
    the day that the glass plate shows a seedling emerge , is the day the whole field is lightly sprayed with strong vinegar, and maybe some lemon grass oil cut with dish soap to wet the weed plants in full fun and heat, which kills them very quickly and cheaply . The seeded in crop emerges a day later and grows with very little weed competition which encourages the crop to thrive.
    The first weeding cultivation in some cases may be a far as forty days after the crop is sown into the now sun burned weeds.
    It may work on dry land rice fairly well since it seems to work with other crops not so good at competing with weeds.

    The first tillage / weed cultivation is a good opportunity to feed the reaching root systems for most crops, although many farmers don’t consider that “teen aged” crops are like teenage children. They are always hungry and eat more as they grow up!

    regards – Mark

  2. Ramiro P. Reynoso
    Posted August 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Hi Mr. Verzola, I have read your post regarding the sri method i think this procedure is really good for areas where water is very scarce or rice field that depend on rain water. We have a 48 hectar land and ar least 30 hectars is dedicated on rice. I would like to try it at least a hectar or 2 maybe but i would like to read first the method and mybe a video of how it is done. Please if you can provide me of this i would really appreciate it and i will give it a try. Hoping to hear from you soon, harvest season is fast approaching hopefully it will start by 1st week of september. Our farm is located in Brgy. San Vicente, Sto Tomas Davao, Del Norte. Thanks and God bless. ramrey

  3. Roberto Verzola
    Posted August 10, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Dear Ramsey,

    For a video, google “World Bank SRI video”, which can be downloaded freely. We use it in our trainings. We usually recommend to first timers to try out SRI first in 50-500 sqm, to become familiar with the method. Once you are confident about the system, you can do in gradually larger areas.

    If you can gather at least 20 farmers who are interested in learning the method, we can send a trainer to your place to conduct a 1-day training, at no charge.


    Obet Verzola

  4. Billy Reyes
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Thanks a lot Mr Verzola. I just started with my first experimental plot. i’m thinking of doing another one a month from now. I first need to read all ur lessons.
    God bless.

  5. Roberto Verzola
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    May I know where your farm is?

  6. omar longalong
    Posted January 15, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    hi sir obet,

    i am a part time farmer in isabela and a full time govt. employee in manila. i tried sri when i got my vacation last christmas to new year. the sowing of my seedlings intended for my sri trial plot came a little late by 3 days. i had it sown on dec. 23. but on the night of the 24th, my seedlings were totally eaten by rats for their noche buena. if i repeat the process, a bigger chance of resulting the same disaster. i will just try next cropping season. very luck next time.

  7. Roberto Verzola
    Posted January 15, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Hi Omar. If you are in Isabela one weekend, this is what you can do. Get several plastic trays about the size of bond paper or larger, and about 1 or 1 inches high. Fill them with good soil. Sow your rice seeds (after 24-48 hrs soaking) on the trays, so that the average distance individual seeds is 1 inch. It is important that the seedlings’ roots don’t intertwine. A bond paper-size tray is roughly .06 sqm, Ten of these trays will contain enough seeds for a 60 sqm trial plot, which is a good size to start with. (1 sqm of seedbed for every 100 sqm of trial plot).

    Keep the trays in your house where the rats can’t get at them. You may want to bring them out daytime for some sunshine. On the 8th-10th day, you can transplant. The distance between seedlings should be 25 cm, and you should only plant 1 seedling per hill.

    Text me (0939-117-8999) your mailing address so I can mail you our free SRI primer.



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