Rice Production: Irrigated Lowland Rice
From Sarah Dunn
• High water demand (60% above other crops)
• High water wastage (leakage, loss into ground)
• High NPK fertiliser application rates
• High source of agricultural methane emissions
One form of rice production is irrigated lowland systems. These account for 75% of global rice production and is therefore the most important form of production to consider in terms of environmental impacts.
The majority of this form of rice production is found in China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
This form of production is grown under floating conditions. This makes the water demand for irrigated lowland rice high (60% above other crops). The infrastructure required to irrigate will also determine the amount of water wasted from the system. If the irrigation system is not maintained or efficient, there can be a high degree of water leakage and loss.
This type of rice production is associated with a high use of NPK fertiliser application (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium) – and so can be linked to the environmental impacts related to fertiliser use such as water pollution and the energy inputs and GHG emissions related to this process.
If irrigated lowland rice is cultivated via the transplant method, it accounts for a significant amount of methane production – transplanted rice production is considered to account for approximately 10% of total methane production globally per year!