Why in news?
Many farmers in Punjab chose the direct seeding method for the crop during COVID-19.
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Farmers and agricultural experts say that large scale use of DSR to plant paddy could solve the staggering problem of stubble burning, a key cause of air pollution across the northern region.
What is ‘Direct Seeding of Rice’ (DSR)?
- In transplanting, farmers prepare nurseries where the paddy seeds are first sown and raised into young plants.
- These seedlings are then uprooted and replanted later in the main field.
- In DSR, there is no nursery preparation or transplantation. The seeds are instead directly drilled into the field by a tractor-powered machine.
What is the main advantage of DSR?
- The most important advantage is water saving. Unlike in transplanted paddy, where watering has to be done practically daily to ensure flooded conditions in the first three weeks.
- The second savings, relevant in the present context, is that of labour. About three labourers are required to transplant one acre of paddy at almost Rs 2,400 per acre.
- As against this, the cost of herbicides under DSR will not exceed Rs 2,000 per acre.
Limitations of DSR
- The main issue is the availability of herbicides.
- The seed requirement for DSR is also higher, at 8-10 kg/acre, compared to 4-5 kg in transplanting.
- Further, laser land levelling, which is expensive is compulsory in DSR. Whereas it is not so in transplanting.
- The yields are as good as from normal transplanting, but one need to sow by the first fortnight of June. The plants have to come out properly before the monsoon rains arrive.
- There is no such problem in transplanting, where the saplings have already been raised in the nursery.
The kharif crops include rice, maize, sorghum, pearl millet/bajra, finger millet/ragi (cereals), arhar (pulses), soyabean, groundnut (oilseeds), cotton etc.
The rabi crops include wheat, barley, oats (cereals), chickpea/gram (pulses), linseed, mustard (oilseeds) etc. Kindly make a note of this.