The Telegraph
Monday , June 23 , 2014
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Varsity tips to boost rice yield

Ranchi, June 22: Birsa Agricultural University (BAU), Ranchi, is advising farmers to plant paddy seeds directly in fields, instead of going for the traditional method of rice cultivation, to reap the maximum benefit of monsoon that has finally arrived in the state.

“Jharkhand is located on a plateau and around 74 per cent of its farmland have gentle slopes. Here water does not accumulate but causes soil erosion. Through our Krishi Vigyan Kendras located in each district, we are telling farmers to sow paddy seeds directly in their fields, instead of growing them in nurseries and later transplanting them in submerged field. Farmers can utilise every drop of rainwater by following this method,” BAU’s chief scientist D.N. Singh told The Telegraph.

In low land, however, farmers can still follow the traditional process, Singh added.

Rice cultivation needs huge amount of water but in Jharkhand, assured irrigation is available only in 10 per cent of the total cultivable areas. Therefore, it is imperative to make maximum use of the monsoon rains. “This can be achieved only if rice is grown like wheat and paddy seeds are directly sown in the fields,” he added.

Jharkhand is likely to witness normal or at least 98 per cent of the normal rainfall this monsoon.

Under the traditional method, to grow one kilo of rice, an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 litres of water is required. The direct seedling method can help save at least 40-50 per cent of water.

“Most importantly, there is no adverse effect on the productivity. Even with less use of water, yields are at par with that achieved in the traditional method,” the BAU chief scientist pointed out.

One of other advantages of direct seedling method is that it is cheaper vis-ŕ-vis the traditional method as labour costs involved in land preparation, initial sowing of seeds and transplanting the grown stalks in submerged fields can be avoided.

Around a month ago, the agriculture varsity has asked farmers to undertake deep ploughing of their fields and leave them to soak the summer heat. The process helps destroy weeds and diseases hidden deep in the soils.

“More than 80 per cent of the farmers heeded to our advice. With the advent of monsoon, we expect a good crop this year,” Singh said.