Rice, fish, and the planet

  • Lansing J
  • Kremer J
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Studies were conducted to determine the synergies between rice and fish that contribute to high and stable rice yields and the effects of the presence of carp on the need for chemical inputs (fertilizer and pesticides). Farms in 31 villages in Zhejiang, China, were randomly selected for a comparative study of rice monoculture vs. rice-fish coculture. Later, 2 experiments were conducted varying pesticide and fish feed while comparing rice monoculture, rice-fish polyculture and fish monoculture. Results indicated that the presence of the fish benefited rice by reducing insects, diseases and weeds. It was also noticed that, when the fish bumped into the rice stems, insects, such as planthoppers, often fell into the water and were eaten. Video recordings quantified this effect, indicating a removal rate of planthoppers by fish of approximately 26%. The hitting activity of the fish also shook dew drops from the plants in the early morning, reducing the risk of spore generation and mycelium penetration of rice blast in the leaves. The carp also ate or uprooted many weeds, resulting in an almost weed-free paddy.

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  • J. S. Lansing

  • J. N. Kremer

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