Direct-seeding method gains currency in India’s paddy growing regions

Farmers in many of the leading rice-growing countries are switching to direct sowing as rains lag and labor availability becomes a challenge.

This method, popular in small pockets across the country, allows farmers to proceed with sowing seeds without having to wait for rains and without having to spend a month planting and cultivating rice nurseries—both tasks that require heavy labor.

“Using the drum seeder, two workers can complete the seeding on one acre per day. In the traditional method of planting seedlings, you will need at least 25-30 workers. Besides, you will save at least 30 days required for seedling development,” he said. Dr Mahendra Kumar, a senior scientist at the Indian Institute of Rice Research (IIRR), Business line.

Work with NGOs

Reports indicate that the total paddy area under the new method is 10 thousand hectares (lh), including 6-6.5 lh in Punjab and one lh in Telangana. Farmers in some pockets of Andhra Pradesh also follow this method.

“We are working with an NGO in Andhra Pradesh, which is using the direct sowing method on an area of ​​about 4,000 hectares. This method will result in savings of up to 10,000 rupees per acre.”

The new method reduces the need for water by about 15 percent because tree cutting does not occur until after a month or so.

way forward

Dr J Hemanth Kumar, Program Coordinator and Head of Krishi Vigyan Kendra at Wyra, says this method shows promise.

“This is the way forward for the rice crop. Besides addressing the shortage of labor, which has become a major challenge for farmers, this method will allow farmers to proceed with sowing, without having to wait for heavy rains as required by the traditional method.

He cited the example of Kandokoro where the tanks are only filled in late July and August due to the delay in the rains. “The direct sowing method allows them to save time because the initial growth requires much less water than conventional sowing. In general, it reduces the crop life by 10 days,” he notes.

This, in turn, allows farmers to start the spring season early and harvest by the end of March, saving farmers from early precipitation until the harvest stage. He feels this is in line with the recent decision of the Government of Telangana to bring forward the autumn and spring seasons by 3 to 4 weeks to reduce crop losses due to rains and hailstorms earlier as happened this year.

Ch Ravinder Reddy, a farmer in Kandkur in Khammam district, agrees. Almost all farmers Mandal I followed this method for the past few years. There is no change in yields, he says.

Weed challenges

However, the biggest challenge with the direct seed method is the weed problem.

“The weeds begin to grow along with the rice. In the traditional method, the seedlings are about 3-4 weeks old, allowing them to outgrow the weed growth. Watering the trees from day one also gives a little room for weeds to grow. But the good news is There are good herbicides available to deal with this problem,” says Jagadeshwar, former director of research at the Telangana University of Agriculture Jayashankar Statia.