Compared to modern, conventional agriculture, alternative agricultural production systems may rely on biologically different mechanisms (syndromes) to attain similar production goals. Yield loss to rice in conventional and natural farming rice paddies in Japan was evaluated by simulated injury (leaf-clipping) and monitoring plants damaged by insect herbivores. Rice grown under natural farming practices was more tolerant of simulated injury and injury from Oulema oryzae than rice grown under conventional practices. Natural farming rice retained proportionately more tillers and had a higher proportion of mature seeds than conventionally grown rice. In conventional paddies, the simulated injury may have made the rice plants more susceptible to plant pathogens than their non-injured counterparts, resulting in higher disease attack and proportionately greater yield loss. These results suggest that, pests may affect yield loss independently in natural farming, but in conventional paddies, multiple pest injury may interact synergistically, compounding yield loss.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank En̄joji-san̄ and Matsuoka-san̄ for their kind cooperation during this study, and E. Kuno, H. Inoue, K. Kawamoto and S. Miyai for their assistance, and D. Olson and N. Schellhorn for comments. The authors especially thanks K. Kiritani and T. Nakamura, who made this work possible. This research was supported by the US National Science Foundation US-Japan Cooperative Science Program to DAA and B. Bedford with substantial additional support from the National Institute of Agro-Environmental Sciences at Tsukuba, Japan.
- Natural farming
- Parnara guttata
- Rice, Oulema oryzae
- Sustainable agriculture
- Yield loss