Case Study on Direct Seeded Rice

Visualizing the present scenario of changing climate, sky rocketing food prices and energy crisis, major emphasis is being given on conservation agriculture in improving efficiency, equity and environment that can be realized with application of resource conservation technologies such as utilization of on-farm resources, zero-till, laser leveling, raised bed techniques, direct seeding of rice, managing crop residues, etc. Among Resource Conservation Technologies (RCTs) z direct seeding of rice, is gaining momentum particularly in Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) where rice-wheat is a predominant cropping system. Generally manual transplanting of Rice after 2–3 paddling operations with 21 – 35 days old rice seedling is common in the District. This age-old method of planting is used to reduce water percolation and also help in weed control. However, this system is labor intensive, requires huge tractor usage which often delays transplanting of paddy up to second week of August, it ultimately lead is poor tillering, poor grain formation and low yields of rice. Delayed harvesting of rice also delays sowing of wheat that ultimately reduce wheat grain yield. On the negative side, puddling degrades the soil physical properties resulting into poor soil physical conditions for establishment of the next upland crop such as wheat. There has been a lot of research in the region to look at the possibility of establishing rice without puddling. The major hurdle has been paucity of knowledge in the area of good weed management. A total of 1382 mm to 1838 mm water is required for the RW system at different locations in the IGP, accounting to more than 80% for the rice growing season. Thus to save on water, saving must be effected during the rice growing season, the major water user in the RW system. The winter season is short in Eastern Uttar Pradesh. Long-term analysis of the rainfall data clearly indicates that there are three distinct periods of moisture availability. The early moist period (evaporation exceeds rainfall) extends over 12-18 days followed by 93-139 days of a humid moist period wherein precipitation exceeds potential evapo-transpiration. This is followed by a moist period of 17-22 days where once again rainfall is less than evapo-transpiration. If the rice crop can be established early in the first moist period, before the humid period, the rice crop can benefit from the monsoon rain and grow without the need for irrigation. RW system productivity was nearly 12-13 tons per ha when rice was transplanted before 28th June. This was reduced by more than 40% when fields were planted after 15th August (to 6-7 tons/ha). The key issue is if higher system productivity is desired, the rice crop must be planted early with the onset of monsoons by raising rice nurseries with ground water and vacating the main fields early in the season for the succeeding wheat or other crop.

To overcome these problems in rice-wheat cropping system, direct seeded rice (DSR) was demonstrated at farmers’ fields of Kushinagar of U.P along with KVK Farm, Sargatia (Kushinagar) for adoption and promotion of this technology among the farmers. Apart from this technology, improved varieties coupled with integrated plant nutrient management and integrated pest management technologies were also included under Resource Conservation Technology.