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Direct Seeding of Rice

  • Category
    Ecology and Environment
  • Published
    18th Jun, 2020

The Punjab government has decided to deploy direct seeding of rice (DSR) technique instead of the traditional transplantation of paddy this year due to the shortfall of agricultural labourers triggered by reverse migration in the wake of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Context

The Punjab government has decided to deploy direct seeding of rice (DSR) technique instead of the traditional transplantation of paddy this year due to the shortfall of agricultural labourers triggered by reverse migration in the wake of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

About

  • Direct Seeding of Rice refers to the process of establishing a rice crop from seeds sown in the field rather than by transplanting seedlings from the nursery.
  • It has been recognized as the principal method of rice establishment since 1950’s in developing countries. 
  • The cultivation technique involves fertilising and planting directly into the soil in one or two steps. The soil is mildly disturbed by the seeding machine.
  • Direct seeding is can be done by sowing of pre-germinated seed into a puddled soil (wet seeding) or standing water (water seeding) or prepared seedbed (dry seeding).

Quick facts of rice

  • Rice (Oryza sativa) is the seed of the grass species Oryza glaberrima or Oryza sativa. 
  • With a high carbohydrate content, rice is known to provide instant enery.
  • Rice consumes about 4,000 - 5,000 litres of water per kg of grain produced. But it is no aquatic crop: it has great ability to tolerate submergence. Water creates unfavourable conditions for weeds, by cutting off sunlight and aeration to the ground. 
  • India is the largest consumer of rice crop. Not only this, India is also the second largest producer of rice, after China.

What is the conventional method of growing rice?

  • Transplanting after repeated puddling is the conventional method of rice (Oryza sativa) growing which is not only intensive water user but also cumbersome and laborious.
  • Different problems like lowering water table, scarcity of labour during peak periods, deteriorating soil health demands some alternative establishment method to sustain productivity of rice as well as natural resources.

The concern                                                        

  • Farmers and agricultural economists, however, expressed reservations about the shift.
  • From the lack of know-how among farmers to rampant problem of weeds — they are sceptical if the new method would be feasible. 
  • There are several constraints associated with  shift from PTR to DSR, such as high weed infestation, evolution of weedy rice, increase in soil borne pathogens (nematodes), nutrient disorders, poor crop establishment, lodging, incidence of blast, brown leaf spot etc.
  • One another major issue with the DSR is that of weeds. In traditional system, the sapling is taller than the weeds right from the time of transplanting and there is no problem at the time of harvest.
  • But in DSR both the weeds and the plant grow simultaneously and it is bound to cause major problem at the time of harvest

Significance of DSR

  • Improved short duration and high yielding varieties, nutrient and weed management techniques encouraged the farmers to shift from traditional sytem of transplanting to DSR culture.
  • Direct seeding offers certain advantages like saving irrigation water, labour, energy,time, reduces emission of greenhouse-gases, better growth of succeeding crops, etc.
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