Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Designing rice for the 21st century: the three laws of maximum yield

IRRI Seminar

By John Sheehy, OBE
IRRI consultant and former head of the C4 Rice Project
Marlowe, Bucks, U.K.

1315-1415 H, Thursday, 21 March 2013
Havener Auditorium, IRRI


How do we design a very high yielding rice type for the 21st century? Have the semi-dwarf varieties of the Green Revolution reached a source-sink bottleneck set by their dwarfing genes? What sets the limit to the maximum yield of a crop? What are those limits? To what extent does photosynthesis shape yield? What is the importance of canopy architecture in yield formation? Why are high yields achieved in one region not achievable in another? What is the role of crop management?

It is easy to ask such questions, answering them is always more difficult. In order to do so, I trace the route from solar energy via photosynthesis to crop yield in a simple and quantitative manner. The ultimate aim of that journey is to better understand the core characteristics of rice plants capable of delivering substantially higher yields. Each part of the yield jigsaw needs a name and a number; I attempt to provide these.

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