Direct Seeding of Rice

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Direct Seeding of Rice

Source-This post on Direct Seeding of Rice has been created based on the article “Why direct seeding of rice (DSR) is yet to pick up in Punjab” published in “The Indian Express” on 18 June 2024.

Why in the news?

The Punjab government has been actively promoting the DSR or ‘tar-wattar‘ technique for rice cultivation. Despite its benefits and government incentives (Rs 1,500 per acre this year), DSR adoption remains low in Punjab.

What is Direct Seeding of Rice?

Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR), also known as the ‘tar-wattar’ technique, is a method of rice cultivation where paddy seeds are directly sown in the field, instead of the traditional method of transplanting seedlings from a nursery into the main flooded field. Direct Seeding of Rice

Features of DSR are-

A) No nursery preparation or transplantation is required in DSR.

B) Paddy seeds are simply sown directly in the field, usually 20-30 days earlier than they would have been transplanted in traditional methods.

C) The field is irrigated and laser levelled before seeding, which is carried out using a seed drill or lucky seeder machine.

D) Seed treatment with fungicides is important before sowing.

E) The first irrigation is done 21 days after sowing, followed by 14-17 more rounds every 7-10 days. This  is less frequent than the 25–27 irrigations needed in the traditional method.

What are the advantages of Direct Seeding of Rice as compared to traditional methods?

1) It can reduce water usage by 15-20% compared to the traditional puddling method of rice cultivation. The traditional puddling method requires 3,600-4,125 litres of water to grow a single kilogram of rice.

2) It requires less labour, as it eliminates the need for nursery preparation and transplantation of seedlings.

3) It helps replenish groundwater because it prevents the formation of a hard crust beneath the plough layer, which occurs in the traditional transplanting method and hinders water percolation.

4) It helps control stubble burning, which causes air pollution, because crops grown using this method mature earlier than transplanted crops. This early maturity allows more time for effective management of paddy straw.

5) It conserves up to 27% of energy by reducing the need for pumping energy used in field preparation and irrigation.

6) It reduces methane emissions as there is no need to flood the paddy field.

What are the disadvantages of Direct Seeding of Rice?

1) Controlling weeds in Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR) is challenging because severe weed infestation occurs when there is no standing water layer during plant growth.

2) It requires large amounts of seeds.

3)It requires laser land levelling, which can be expensive.

4)It is susceptible to rain. Seeding must be done prior to the onset of the monsoon, and sudden rain immediately after seeding can have adverse effects.

5) The method relies on extensive use of herbicides for weed management, which has resulted in herbicide resistance developing in certain weed species.

Read more-Increasing rice prices in India

Why has the adoption been low in Punjab?

1) Lack of awareness and understanding is holding back DSR adoption.

2) Negative outcomes resulting from unsuitable soil conditions cause concerns and prompt farmers to return to traditional methods. This discourages others from adopting new practices.

UPSC Syllabus-Indian Economy(Agriculture)

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