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RootTarget: A dynamic model enabling the targeted application of plant growth regulators for rice

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/03/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Plants, People, Planet
Issue number2
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)157-166
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date13/10/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Societal Impact Statement
The rising global population and the increasingly conspicuous effects of climate change are putting growing pressure on the agricultural industry. Food production must increase significantly with little or no access to extra land; therefore, new approaches are urgently required to increase crop productivity. The strategic application of plant growth regulators is one method of achieving this, made possible by RootTarget. RootTarget maps regional land use and resource availability, identifying locations where crops could benefit from the application of plant growth regulators. Such targeted application can contribute to creating a more resilient and sustainable farming system.

Developing novel strategies for optimising crop productivity is essential to meet the requirement of doubling food production by 2050. Geographic information system (GIS) software provides the opportunity to develop models for targeted application of plant growth regulators in rice-growing regions based on water availability and agricultural practices, in order to optimise yields.
GIS was used to identify rice-growing areas with adequate irrigation, a high evapotranspiration index or suitable sowing technique for site-specific application of plant growth regulators. Rule-based decisions were incorporated into a GIS model in order to identify key areas where plant growth regulators should be applied. This approach allows information sharing between multiple stakeholders including researchers, companies and farmers with the aim of maximising crop productivity.
A root growth promoter (RGP) was identified that promotes root growth under optimum conditions but not when applied concurrently with a drought stress. The effect of the RGP diminishes as the severity of the stress increases. These data were used to execute queries to identify regions with a suitable drought index, growing practice and adequate irrigation. Two hundred and twenty-nine million hectares of land, spanning four continents, were identified as having the potential to benefit from application of the RGP.
Significant areas of land used for rice production were identified that could benefit from application of the RGP. This study highlights the potential to incorporate academic research into models for research dissemination to the agricultural industry and increase crop productivity.