A Technique to Grow Rice with Limited Water- Direct Seeded Rice (DSR)
Rice is the staple food of the country as well as the World’s population. In India, rice is the most important and widely grown food crop and occupies a pivotal place in Indian agriculture. Rice is a high energy source (6 to 7% protein) or high-calorie food. Rice is cultivated in India by various methods like TPR (Transplanted Puddled Rice), DSR (Direct Seeded Rice) but TPR is the traditional and conventional method of rice cultivation. 15th to 30th May is the best time for nursery preparation. Puddling is necessary for the creation of an impervious layer in the soil to prevent seepage and percolation losses. A huge amount of water is required for the preparation of a puddled bed.
The transplanting of rice seedlings requires at least 25 ha cm of water for the puddling process. The crop requires about 130 ± ha cm of irrigation in addition to suitable adoption of variety and to prevent the growth of weeds. The field is kept flooded up to two weeks after the transplanting of rice seedlings. The depth of water standing should be up to 10 cm. This method of cultivation increases excessive exploitation of groundwater and competition for freshwater is raising major concerns. DSR (Direct Seeded Rice) is an alternate technique for the cultivation of rice crops. DSR is also called “tar-water DSR”. It is very popular in the rainfed area because of its low input demand.
In DSR, direct seeding of drought-tolerant varieties into dry and undisturbed soil is done in June at the time of monsoon. Only narrow strips are opened by the openers to place fertilizer and seed in the soil. The lucky seed drill is the best machine for the seeding and application of pre-emergence herbicide (Pendimethalin @ 1 kg/ha) simultaneously. Farmers can also use the zero-till drill for the rice cultivation.
Direct seeded rice with the help of laser land leveler reduces the cost of production, improve soil health (population of soil micro-organisms), saves water, mature at the optimum time, increase yields, and income of the farmers. In DSR, only 8 to 10 kg seed rate per acre is required, which is less in comparison to the transplanting method.
Apart from pre-sowing irrigation, the first irrigation is applied at 20-25 DAS. By this method (DSR), farmers can save water ranging from 25% to 35%. It is estimated that if paddy is sown in April-May, ranging from 4500-5000 liters of water is required for the production of one kg of rice. If transplanting dates are advanced to mid-June, water requirements automatically reduced to 1500-2000 liters per kg of rice.
As a part of the Experiential Learning Program, students of B.Sc. (Hons.) Agriculture and M.Sc. Agriculture in Agronomy also practice this technique and demonstrate the benefits to the farmers.
Faculty of Agricultural Science