Virender Kumar

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Virender KumarVirender is a Senior Weed Scientist at the Crop and Environmental Sciences Division. He leads the research and development program on innovative crop and natural resource management to manage weeds in intensive and diversified rice-based systems in South and Southeast Asia.

Virender’s work at IRRI is focused on developing integrated weed management solutions in rice-based cropping systems, with special emphasis on direct-seeded rice systems. His research group is working on various integrated solutions, including: (1) managing the weed seedbank; (2) identifying high-yielding and weed competitive cultivars; (3) studying the ecology and biology of rice weeds to identify weak points in their life cycle; (4) developing sustainable solutions for emerging problematic weed species, including weedy rice; (5) manipulating agronomic and cultural practices to shift crop-weed competition in favor of rice; (6) optimizing flooding depth, timing, and duration for anaerobic germination (AG)-tolerant rice; (7) mechanical weeding; (8) herbicide resistance management; (9) identifying new herbicides/tank mixtures with wide-spectrum weed control ability and improving efficacy, safety, and efficiency; and (10) developing ICT-based decision support tools for weed identification and for making accurate weed management recommendations. Virender’s research interests also include conservation agriculture, cropping system design to develop innovative and resource-efficient, diversified, and profitable cropping systems. He has published more than 30 scientific papers in refereed journals.

Before joining IRRI, Virender was Cropping Systems Agronomist with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) based in India, and was leading the Objective 2 (Strategic Research) component of the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) project, which focused on process-based research into crop and resource management practices for future cereal-based systems. Virender Kumar holds a PhD in Weed Science from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA. He did his Masters in Agronomy with specialization in Weed Science from CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, Haryana, India.

Virender is currently involved in the following projects at IRRI: (1) Cereal System Initiatives for South Asia (CSISA) funded by USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; (2) Closing rice yield gaps in Asia with reduced environmental footprint (CORIGAP) funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation; (3) Increasing productivity of direct-seeded rice areas by incorporating genes for tolerance of anaerobic conditions during germination funded by the Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ); and (4) Green Super Rice (GSR) funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


  • Weed Science
  • System Agronomy
  • Sustainable intensification including conservation agriculture


  • PhD, Weed Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA (2008)
  • MSc, Agronomy, C.C.S. Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, India (2002)
  • BSc (Honours) Agriculture, C.C.S. Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, India (1999)


  • Senior Scientist-Weed Science, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) based at Los Baños, Philippines (March 2015-present)
  • Cropping Systems Agronomist and CSISA Objective 2 Leader, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), based in India (January 2013-March 2015)
  • Scientist (System Agronomy/Weeds) and Research Platform Coordinator of CSISA Research Platform at Karnal, Haryana, India in the project “Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia” (CSISA), IRRI-India (April 2011-December 2012)
  • Scientist (Crop and Soil) and Co-Facilitator, Rice Wheat Consortium (RWC) for the Indo-Gangetic Plains, International Rice Research Institute-India (April 2008-March 2011)
  • GRA (Graduate Research Assistant), Cornell University (January 2003-March 2008)


  • Belgian Government fellow in the field of Agronomy (1999-2000)
  • Graduate Research Assistantship, Cornell University (2003-2008)


  1. Ladha JK, Rao AN, Raman A, Tirol Padre A, Dobermann A, Gathala M, Kumar V, Sharawat YS, Sharma S, Piepho HP, Alam MM, Liak R, Rajendran R, Kesava Reddy C, Parsad R, Sharma PC, Singh SS, Saha A, Noor S. 2016. Agronomic improvements can make future cereal systems in South Asia far more productive and result in a lower environmental footprint. Global Change Biol. 22:1054-1074.
  2. Tirol-Padre A, Munmun R, Kumar V, Gathala M, Sharma PC, Sharma S, Nagar RK, Deshwal S, Singh LK, Jat HS, Sharma DK, Wassmann R, Ladha JK. 2016. Quantifying changes to the global warming potential of rice wheat systems with the adoption of conservation agriculture in northwestern India. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 219:125-137.
  3. Tirol-Padre A, Munmun R, Gathala M, Sharma S, Kumar V, Sharma PC, Sharma DK, Wassmann R, Ladha JK. 2014. Assessing the performance of the photo-acoustic infrared gas monitor for measuring CO2, N2O and CH4 fluxes in two major cereal rotations. Global Change Biol. 20:287-299.
  4. Malik RK, Kumar V, Yadav A, McDonald A. 2014. Conservation agriculture and weed management in south Asia: perspective and development. Indian J. Weed Sci. 46:31-35
  5. Kumar V, Singh S, Chhokar RS, Malik RK, Brainard DC, Ladha JK. 2013. Weed management strategies to reduce herbicide use in zero-till rice-wheat cropping systems of the Indo-Gangetic Plains. Weed Technol. 27:241-254.
  6. Gathala MK, Kumar V, Sharma PC, Saharawat YS, Jat HS, Singh M, Kumar A, Jat ML, Humphreys E, Sharma DK, Sharma S, Ladha JK. 2013. Optimizing intensive cereal-based cropping systems addressing current and future drivers of agricultural change in the northwestern Indo-Gangetic Plains of India. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 177:85-97.
  7. Singh K, Kumar V, Saharawat YS, Gathala M, Ladha JK, Chauhan BS. 2013. Weedy rice: an emerging threat for direct-seeded rice production systems in India. J. Rice Res. 1:106. doi: 10.4172/jrr.100010
  8. Kumar V, Ladha JK. 2011. Direct seeded rice: recent developments and future research needs. Adv. Agron. 111:297-413.
  9. Kumar V, Brainard DC, Bellinder RR, Hahn R. 2011. Buckwheat residue effects on emergence and growth of weeds in winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) cropping systems. Weed Sci. 59(4):567-573.
  10. Raman A, Ladha JK, Kumar V, Sharma S, Piepho HP. 2011. Stability analysis of farmer participatory trials for conservation agriculture using mixed models. Field Crops Res. 121:450-459.
  11. Gathala M, Ladha JK, Vivek Kumar, Saharawat YS, Kumar V, Sharma PK, Sharma S, Pathak H. 2011. Tillage and crop establishment affects sustainability of South Asian rice-wheat system. Agron. J. 103:961-971.
  12. Brainard D, Bellinder RR, Kumar V. 2011. Grass-legume mixtures and soil fertility affect cover crop performance and weed seed production. Weed Technol. 25:473-479.
  13. Kumar V, Brainard DC, Bellinder RR. 2009. Effects of spring-sown cover crops on establishment of hairy galinsoga (Galinsoga ciliata) and four vegetable crops. HortScience 44:730-736.
  14. Kumar V, Brainard DC, Bellinder RR. 2009. Suppression of Powell amaranth by buckwheat residues: role of allelopathy. Weed Sci. 57:66-73.
  15. Jat ML, Gathala MK, Ladha JK, Saharawat YS, Jat AS, Vipin Kumar, Sharma SK, Kumar V, Gupta R. 2009. Evaluation of precision land leveling and double zero-till systems in the rice–wheat rotation: Water use, productivity, profitability and soil physical properties. Soil Tillage Res. 105:112-121.
    Kumar V, Bellinder RR, Gupta RK, Malik RK, Brainard DC. 2008. Role of herbicide-resistant rice in promoting resource conservation technologies in rice-wheat cropping systems of India: a review. Crop Prot. 27:290-301.
  16. Kumar V, Bellinder RR, Brainard DC, Malik RK, Gupta RK. 2008. Risks of herbicide-resistant rice in India: a review. Crop Prot. 27:320-329.
  17. Kumar V, Brainard DC, Bellinder RR. 2008. Suppression of Powell amaranth (Amaranthus powellii), shepherd’s-purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris), and corn chamomile (Anthemis arvensis) by buckwheat residues: Role of nitrogen and fungal pathogens. Weed Sci. 56:271-280.

 Virender Kumar

Virender Kumar
Senior Scientist - Weed Science

International Rice Research Institute
Los Baños, Laguna

+63 2 580 5600
ext 2704