A simple, efficient, and farmer-friendly Trichoderma-based biofertilizer evaluated with the SRI Rice Management System
Trichoderma spp. are highly interactive fungi that live in soil, root, and foliar environments. In addition to assisting plants to resist various diseases and drought stress, Trichoderma has been reported to have positive effects on the growth of many crops. While Trichoderma inoculants have been developed for use with numerous crops, explorations of the use of Trichoderma inoculants in rice farming systems are still in a nascent stage. In this study, a field experiment using a randomized complete block design was conducted to determine the ability of Trichoderma-based biofertilizer (TBF) to enhance the growth, physiological traits, and yield of rice under System of Rice Intensification (SRI) management. The results showed significant potential for TBF to increase a rice crop’s growth, physiological traits, and productivity. Trichoderma-inoculated rice plants exhibited significantly greater plant height, photosynthetic rate, chlorophyll a and b content, stomatal conductance, and tiller and panicle numbers. The grain yield of Trichoderma-inoculated rice plants was 30% more than that from the uninoculated SRI control plots, which simply due to changes in management practices produced paddy yields that were twice the current average in Malaysia. A simple, efficient, and farmer-friendly method for producing TBF, developed for SRI farmers’ use to get these results, is reported here.