Why Direct Seeding of Rice matters

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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.

Exam track

Prelims take away

  • Direct seeding of Rice
  • Rice - conditions for cultivation, area, Major producing States
  • Cropping season