Why Direct Seeding of Rice matters
- The Punjab government recently announced a Rs 1,500 incentive per acre for farmers opting for Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR), which is known for saving water.
- Last year, 18% (5.62 lakh hectares) of the total rice area in the state was under DSR against the government's target of bringing 10 lakh hectares under it.
Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR)
- It is a method under which pre-germinated seeds are directly drilled into the field by a tractor-powered machine.
- There is no nursery preparation or transplantation involved in this method.
- In this water is replaced by real chemical herbicides and farmers have to only level their land and give one pre-sowing irrigation.
- The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in Ludhiana has developed a ‘Lucky Seed Drill’ that can both sow seeds and simultaneously spray herbicides to control weeds.
How is it different from the conventional method?
- In transplanting paddy, farmers prepare nurseries where the paddy seeds are first sown and raised into young plants.
- The nursery seedbed is 5-10% of the area to be transplanted. These seedlings are then uprooted and replanted 25-35 days later in the puddled field.
Need & Objective
- The government is promoting DSR to conserve 10 to 15 per cent of irrigation water as compared to the puddle transplanted rice.
- In Punjab, 32% area is under the long duration (around 158 days) of paddy varieties, and the rest comes under paddy varieties that take 120 to 140 days to grow.
- On an average 3,900 to 4,000 litres of water is required to grow one kg of rice in the state.
- The promotion of DSR will lead to the conservation of groundwater, therefore, reducing power consumption and saving farmers from a labour shortage.
- DSR technique can help save 15% to 20% of water. In some cases, water-saving can reach 22% to 23%.
- With DSR,15-18 irrigation rounds are required against 25 to 27 irrigation rounds inthe traditional method.
- It can solve the labour shortage problem because like the traditional method it does not require a paddy nursery and transplantation of a 30-day old paddy nursery into the main puddled field.
- With DSR, paddy seeds are sown directly with the machine.
- It can help in groundwater recharge as it prevents the development of hard crust just beneath the plough layer due to puddled transplanting and it matures 7-10 days earlier than puddle transplanted crop, therefore giving more time for management of paddy straw.
- According to research, yield, after DSR, is one to two quintals per acre higher than puddled transplanted rice.
- Reduce methane emissions due to a shorter flooding period and decreased soil disturbance compared to transplanting rice seedlings.
- The main issue is the availability of herbicides.
- The seed requirement for DSR is also higher than transplanting.
- Land levelling is compulsory in DSR, which increases the cost.
- In the DSR technique plants have to come out properly before the monsoon rains arrive, early sowing is required.
- The DSR method is not suitable for certain types of soil and in such fields only transplanting methods work.
- Farmers must not sow it in the light-textured soil as this technique is suitable for medium to heavy textured soils including sandy loam, loam, clay loam, and silt loam which account for around 80% area of the state.
- It should not be cultivated in sandy and loamy sand as these soils suffer from severe iron deficiency, and there is a higher weed problem in it.
- DSR should be avoided in fields which are under crops other than rice (like cotton, maize, and sugarcane) in previous years as * DSR in these soils is likely to suffer more from iron deficiency and weed problems.
Prelims take away
- Direct seeding of Rice
- Rice - conditions for cultivation, area, Major producing States
- Cropping season