1.Punjab farmers’ to go for direct seeding of rice

  • What is Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR)?

  • How is it different from conventional method?

  • What are the advantages of DSR?

  • What are the limitations of DSR?

UPSC Can list these Questions under

GS paper 3 (Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related con)

What is the context about?

  • As the labour shortage is imminent owing to exodus of migrant labourers amid the ongoing lockdown, farmers in Punjab seem all set to go for direct seeding of rice (DSR) this khairf season, moving away from the traditional practice — of sowing nursery and then transplanting it.

What is Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR)?

  • Here, the 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. Farmers have to only level their land and give one pre-sowing irrigation.

How is it different from conventional method?

  • In transplanting paddy, farmers prepare nurseries where the paddy seeds are first sown and raised into young plants.
  • The nursery seed bed is 5-10% of the area to be transplanted. These seedlings are then uprooted and replanted 25-35 days later in the puddled field.

What are the advantages of DSR?

  • Water savings. The first irrigation (apart from the pre-sowing rauni) under DSR is necessary only 21 days after sowing. This is unlike in transplanted paddy, where watering has to be done practically daily to ensure submerged/flooded conditions in the first three weeks.
  • Less Labour. About three labourers are required to transplant one acre of paddy at almost Rs 2,400 per acre.
  • The cost of herbicides under DSR will not exceed Rs 2,000 per acre.
  • Reduce methane emissions due to a shorter flooding period and decreased soil disturbance compared to transplanting rice seedlings.

What are the limitations of DSR?

  • Non-availability of herbicides.
  • The seed requirement for DSR is also high,8-10 kg/acre, compared to 4-5 kg/acre in transplanting.
  • Further, laser land levelling is compulsory in DSR. This is not so in transplanting.
  • The sowing needs to be done timely so that the plants have come out properly before the monsoon rains arrive.