There is often more than one solution to a challenge; and similar to corn and other crops, a farmer could most effectively address this specific challenge through a systems approach. For example, there are a number of reports out of China that support farmers changing their agronomic practices to reduce emissions. There seems to be a growing consensus that mid-season drainage decreases the emissions from rice paddy fields as long as nitrogen is applied in appropriate doses. According to calculations, midseason drainage generally tends to be an effective option for mitigating emissions, although 15 to 20 percent of the benefit gained by decreasing methane emission was offset by the increase in N2O emission. (See http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/focus16_03.pdf.) Studies also show that application of manure and blue green algae not only recorded higher yield, but were also found to emit less methane in paddy cultivation than the application of manure alone. http://www.bioforsk.no/ikbViewer/Content/100861/13_TB_Photosynthesis.pdf
In addition, scientists believe that there are genetic ways to increase yield through breeding and/or transgenics and that this will also reduce methane output. There is ongoing research on changing the photosynthesis of rice to be more like corn. This is expected to increase uptake of CO2 and may reduce methane production (see http://homepage.agron.ntu.edu.tw/~menchi/2010%[email protected]%aa%ab%be%c7%afS%bd%d7/Strategies%20to%20lower%20greenhouse%20gas%20level%20by%20rice.pdf).
Monsanto is proud to support research on rice in developing countries. Monsanto announced in 2009 that we were contributing $10 million to establish Monsanto’s Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program, which will identify and support young scientists interested in improving research and production in rice and wheat since these are staple crops in developing countries, providing essential calories to feed billions of people every day. Many of the world’s poorest people rely on the two grains as a key source of food.