Dr. T.M Thiyagarajan

Area: Agricultural Sciences
Affiliation: Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, SRM Institute of Science and Technology
E-mail: dean.agri@srmist.edu.in


Ph.D. Agriculture Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, 1985
PG Diploma. Aerial Photo-interpretation for Soil Survey Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun, 1981

Other Details:


  • Introduction to Agroecology 

Research Interests

  • Care Farming
  • Herbal Farming & Technology
  • Water saving agriculture

Selected Publications

  • Thiyagarajan,T.M. and B.Gujja. 2013. Transforming Rice Production with SRI (System of Rice Intensification) Knowledge and Practice. 200p. National Consortium on System of Rice Intensification, New Delhi. Also as e-publication  http://www.agsri.com/images/documents/sri/SRI_Book_Final_Version.pdf (10.26 MB)
  • Shambu Prasad, C, T.M. Thiyagarjan, O.P. Rupela, Amod Thakur and G.V. Ramanjaneyulu. 2012. Chapter 10. Contesting agronomy through dissent: Experiences from India. In: J.Sumberg and J. Thompson. 2012. Contested Agronomy : Agricultural Research in a Changing World. Earthscan Pathways to Sustainability Series. Routledge. pp 175-185.
  • Anas, I., O. P. Rupela, T. M. Thiyagarajan and N.Uphoff. 2011. A review of studies on SRI effects on beneficial organisms in rice soil rhizospheres. Paddy and Water Environment 9:53-64. doi:10.1007/s10333-011-0260-8
  • Surya Prabha, A.C., T.M. Thiyagarajan and M. Senthivelu. 2011. System of Rice Intensification principles on growth parameters, yield attributes and yields of rice (Oryza sativa L.). Journal of Agronomy. 10(1):27-33. doi:10.3923/ja.2011.27.33
  • Gujja, B. and T.M. Thiyagarajan. 2010. Producing more with less: exploring farm-based approaches to improve productivity and providing options to farmers in adapting to climate change.  In : Wassmann R, (ed).  Advanced technologies of rice production for coping with climate change: ‘no regret’ options for adaptation and mitigation and their potential uptake. Proceedings of the Workshop  Advanced Technologies of Rice Production for Coping with Climate Change: ‘No Regret’ Options for Adaptation and Mitigation and their Potential Uptake held on 23-25 June 2010 in Los Baños, Philippines.IRRI Limited Proceedings No. 16. Los Baños (Philippines): International Rice Research Institute. 81 p
  • Gujja, B. and T.M. Thiyagarajan 2009. New Hope for Indian Food Security? The System of Rice Intensification. International Institute for Environment and Development, London, UK.
  • Thiyagarajan, T.M. and Biksham Gujja. 2009. Single Seedling Planting and Gaja Planting: Century Old Practices in Tamil Nadu, India, and Similarity to the Principles of SRI. SRI Newsletter 6: 2-27. ICRISAT-WWF Project, ICRISAT, Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh.
  • Uphoff, N., I. Anas, O. P. Rupela, A. K. Thakur and T. M. Thiyagarajan. 2009. Learning about positive plant-microbial interactions from the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). Aspects of Applied Biology 98:29-53.
  • Hussain, M.Z., A.S. Khan and T.M.Thiyagarajan. 2009. Increasing Nitrogen Use Efficiency in Rice (Oryza Sativa L.) with Chlorophyll Meter and Leaf Color Chart The IUP Journal of Soil and Water Sciences, Vol. II, No. 4, pp. 36-54
  • Senthilkumar, K., P. Bindraban and T. M. Thiyagarajan. 2008. Modified rice cultivation in Tamil Nadu, India: Yield gains and farmers’ (lack of) acceptance. Agricultural Systems 98:82-94.

Working Papers

  • Thiyagarajan T.M.and M.V. Ashok. 2018.Understanding System of Rice Intensification (SRI) for Sustainable Rice Production. Paper to be presented at the International conference climate change, biodiversity and sustainable agriculture (iccbsa-2018) Dec 13th - 16th, 2018.  Assam Agricultural University,  Jorhat -785013.

Academic Experience

Total Experience

  • Research Assistant, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor, Director, Dean in Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, India from 1969 -2008.
  • Consultant in ICRISAT, WWF-ICRISAT Project, Patancheru, Hyderabad from 2008 – 2011.
  • Consultant (Agrl.Projects) in Mohan Breweries & Distilleries Ltd, Chennai from 2012 - 2013.
  • General consultancy on System Of Rice Intensification (SRI) from 2013 – 2018 .
  • Dean (Faculty of Agricultural Sciences) in SRM Institute of Science & Technology from June 2018.
  • Pioneering service in research, extension, and monitoring of SRI (System of Rice Intensification) in Tamil Nadu & other states
  • Administration of the Agricultural College and Research Institute of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Killikulam, Thoothukudi District for 3 years
  • Administration of the Directorate of Soil and Crop Management in Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore for 3 years
  • Working with NGOs, Civil Society Organizations, State Government Departments
  • Mobilizing funds from international, national, state, district, and private resources
  • International collaboration for research and capacity building and working with racially and ethnically diverse environments
  • Organizing international and national symposia, workshops, training, and interactive meetings with farmers and extension personnel
  • International, national and state research coordination
  • Education administration; post graduate teaching and research guidance
  • Operating externally funded projects.

Administrative and Managerial Positions Held

  • Presently, Working as Dean in Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Kattankulathur, from Jun 2018.
  • Worked as Professor & Head in Rice Research Station & Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Tirur, Thiruvallur District from 2006 to 2008.
  • Worked as Dean in Agricultural College and Research Institute (Tamil Nadu Agricultural University), Killikulam, Vallanadu 628 252, Thoothukudi District from 2003 to 2006.
  • Worked as Director in Centre for Soil and Crop Management Studies, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore from 2000 to 2003.
  • Worked as Deputy Director in Tamil Nadu Rice Research Institute, Aduthurai (additional responsibility) from  1990 to 1993.
  • Worked as Farm Superintendent in Soil Salinity Research Centre, Tiruchirappalli (additional responsibility) from 1987 to 1988.
  • Worked as Assistant Professor in Office of the Dean (Post Graduate Studies), Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, from 1983 to 1985.
  • Worked as Farm Manager in Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore 641 003 (additional responsibility) from 1976 to 1977.

Academic and Research Positions Held

  • Worked as Consultant in WWF-ICRISAT Project, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patancheru, Hyderabad from 2008 to 2011.
  • Worked as Professor in Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, from 1996 to 2000.
  • Worked as Theme Coordinator in International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, The Philippines (on deputation) from 1994 to 1995.
  • Worked as Professor / Associate in Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, Tamil Nadu Rice Research Institute, Aduthurai from 1992 to 1994.
  • Worked as Associate Professor in Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, Soil Salinity Research Centre, Tiruchirappalli, from 1985 to 1988.
  • Worked as Assistant Professor / Research Assistant in Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore from 1974 to 1982.
  • Worked as Deputy Agricultural Officer (Chemistry) in Soil Survey and Landuse Organization, Coimbatore from 1969 to 1974.

Consultancy Services

  • Worked as a Consultant (Agrl Projects) in Mohan Breweries & Distilleries Ltd, Chennai from 2012 to 2013.

Other Professional Experience

Professional Achievements

  • Operated 19 externally funded projects for research, postgraduate fellowships, training, technology transfer, symposia/seminar, etc., from international (US$ 1,06,400), national (Rs.13 lakhs), state (Rs. 45 lakhs) and district resources (Rs. 14 lakhs).
  • Significant research contribution to science and technology in the fields of :
    • rice production, system of rice intensification
    • water saving rice cultivation
    • use of polymer coated urea, leaf colour chart, chlorophyll meter, systems approaches for improved nitrogen management and enhancing nitrogen use efficiency in rice
    • simulation and systems analysis for rice production
    • quantitative analysis of the response of rice to nitrogen
    • characterization and reclamation of saline soils
    • characterization of soil physical conditions, management of soil physical problems
    • pedogenesis, soil taxonomy, soil survey
  • Created opportunities for 8 TNAU scientists and 2 post-graduate scholars to visit foreign countries.
  • Created opportunities for 32 TNAU scientists and 12 post-graduate scholars to work in projects with international collaboration.
  • Supervised the dissertation work of :
  • 1 Ph.D. and 1 M.Sc. student of Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands.
  • 5 Ph.D. and 3 M.Sc.(Ag.) students of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.
  • Offered courses for Ph.D. programme in Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.
  • Established a new academic society (Indian Society of Agricultural Resource Management) and a new journal (Journal of Agricultural Resource Management).
  • Developed new technologies / concepts / tools / methods :
    • Technologies
      • Modified System of Rice Intensification for enhanced water productivity and profitability
      • Leaf nitrogen based nitrogen management strategy for maximizing rice productivity
      • Chlorophyll meter (SPAD) and Leaf Colour Chart technology for real-time N management in rice
      • Use of polymer coated urea for irrigated and rainfed rice
    • Tools
      • Simulation tool MANAGE-N
    • Methods
      • Procedure for collection of rice plant samples for estimating dry matter production and nutrient content
      • New procedure for estimation of soil available nitrogen
    • Concepts
      • Time course sufficiency of leaf nitrogen in rice
    • Approaches
      • Multi-disciplinary network experiments to develop technologies
      • Systems approach for nitrogen management in rice

Administrative Achievements

As Dean (Agricultural College and Research Institute, Killikulam – 2003 to 2016)

  • Successfully managed 10 departments, hostels, and farms with 64 scientists, 50 supporting staff, 280 students and 300 farm labourers. 
  • Organized International symposium of the campus on “Transitions in Agriculture for Enhancing Water Productivity” during September 23-25, 2003.
  • Established a self-supporting “Agricultural Support Centre”, a single window service provider in Tirunelveli City, to supply seeds, train farmers and entrepreneurs, and provide consultancies etc.
  • Made a major technology breakthrough in rice cultivation to enhance production, profitability, and water saving by the introduction of “System of Rice Intensification”.
  • Mobilized for the first time to the campus, major projects with funding from State Government (Rs.41 lakhs), Plant Research International, Wageningen (US$ 8,000), IRRI, Philippines (US$ 10,500), IMWI, Colombo (5,000), IWMI, Bangkok (US$ 5,600), International Potash Institute (US$ 3,200), district administration (Rs.14 lakhs).

As Director (Centre for Soil and Crop Management Studies – 2000 - 2003), TNAU, Coimbatore 

  • Successfully managed 8 component departments, and farms with a manpower of 105 scientists, 30 research scholars, 234 Post Graduate, and Ph.D. students, 195 supporting staff and 379 labourers.
  • Conceived and implemented Network Experiments to conduct multi-location trials in different research stations of the state with common objectives to generate recommendations in shortest possible time.
  • Motivated the scientists of the Directorate to get 35 new schemes with a total budget of Rs. 326 lakhs from International, National, and Private Sector sources.
  • The South India Sugar Mills Association (SISMA) presented Agricultural Research Excellence Award in recognition of the eco-friendly technologies developed in the Directorate,
  • Organized 6 summer/winter short courses, 10 trainings, and 3 Workshops.

Significant contribution in technology transfer with international, state, and district funding through: 

  • Technical support to NGOs, Civil Society Organizations in different states on SRI (System of rice intensification)
  • Adaptive research trials in farmers’ fields to disseminate water-saving rice cultivation (System of rice intensification)
  • Interactive meetings with farmers on System of Rice Intensification, balanced fertilization, potassium application, nutrient management for rice.
  • Interactive meetings with extension personnel on System of Rice Intensification, revision of fertilizer recommendation to crops, integrated nutrient management.
  • Rapport with NGOs, SHGs
  • Visiting farmers’ fields in different parts of the state on technology adoption, organic farming.
  • Training for extension personnel and farmers on System of Rice Intensification.

Workshops /Seminars/Conferences

  • 34 foreign visits to participate in symposia/ workshops/ training/theme coordination/meetings in The Philippines, The Netherlands, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, P.R. China, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Switzerland, Russia, Bangladesh Great Britain, and Madagascar.

Achievements and Awards

Honours and Awards

  • "Doyen of Rice Research" Golden Jubilee Award, ICAR-Indian Institute of Rice Research, Hyderabad, 2015
  • "Lifetime Achievement Award", Dinamalar, Agricultural Exhibition, Trichy, 2013
  • Platinum Jubilee Rice Research Award, Tamil Nadu Rice Research Institute, 2004 for the contribution in rice soil science.
  • Best Researcher Award, TNAU, 1998.
  • A.N.Puri’s Gold Medal for Ph.D. in Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, 1986, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore 641 003.

Distinctions and Recognitions

  • Chairman, Subgroup on Upscaling Innovative technologies in the Working Group on “Agricultural Research and Education (DARE)” for the Twelfth Five Year Plan (2012-17), Government of India.
  • Theme Coordinator for 2 years (1994 – 1995) in the project ‘Simulation and Systems Analysis for Rice Production’ of International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, The Philippines for the theme ‘crop and soil management’ operated in 8 countries.
  • Visiting Scientist at Research Institute for Agrobiology and Soil Fertility, Wageningen, The Netherlands during November 1994 – May 1995 for the theme coordination work in the SARP project.
  • Visiting Scientist at International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, The Philippines during June – December 1995 for the theme coordination in the SARP project.
  • Visiting Scientist at Plant Research International, Wageningen, The Netherlands during July – August 2002.
  • Member, Board of Trustees, AME Foundation, Bengaluru, India
  • Member of the “Water workgroup” of the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC) of IRRI, The Philippines.
  • Member of the Project Management Committee, Potash Promotion Project, Indian Potash Limited, New Delhi
  • Steering Committee member of International Conference on ‘Sustainable Rice Production – Policy, Technology and Extension’ organized by the China National Rice Research Institute (CNRRI) at Hangzhou during October 15-17, 2004.
  • Resource person for international / national training programmes.
  • Chaired sessions in international and national symposia/seminars/workshops.