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System of Rice Intensification Method

Context:

According to experts in Punjab, the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) Technique is as good as the Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR) Technique for the land, environment, and farmers.

Relevance:

GS III- Agriculture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About System of Rice Intensification method:
  2. How does it take place in the field and in which soil?
  3. Does the SRI method require continuous flooding after transplantation of nursery?
  4. Challenges

About System of Rice Intensification method:

  • System of Rice Intensification (SRI) was first developed in Madagascar in the 1980s and since then several countries in the world have been practising it, including India.
  • It promises to save 15 to 20% ground water, improves rice productivity, which is almost at a stagnant point now.
  • Experts said that it gives equal or more produce than the conventional rice cultivation, with less water, less seed and less chemicals.
  • The net effect is a substantial reduction in the investments on external inputs.

How does it take place in the field and in which soil?

  • First, the field is prepared by ploughing.
  • It should be laser levelled before transplanting for proper water management and efficiency for a good crop stand.
  • Then irrigation is applied in the field which is not a flooding of field like traditional methods but less than that of a well irrigated field.
  • Then 10-12 days old nursery (young paddy plants) along with soil particles around the root with minimum disturbance to the roots are transplanted in lines, which are marked at a distance of 10 inches from each other with the help of a rope meter.
Benefits:
  • Experts said that unlike DSR, which is suitable only for mid to heavy textured soils, SRI is suitable in all types of soil including less fertile soil as in such soil the number of seedlings can be increased to double.
  • Under SRI 2kg seed is required to grow a nursery for one acre against 5kg seed required in the traditional method.

Does the SRI method require continuous flooding after transplantation of nursery?

Traditional sowing:

  • In traditional sowing from the day of transplanting till the crop turns 35-40 days fields are kept under flood-like conditions.
  • And then fields are filled every week till a few weeks before harvesting.

SRI method

  • It doesn’t require continuous flooding, it needs intermittent irrigation.
  • Indeed the plants’ roots should not be starved for oxygen through flooding.
  • Irrigation is given to maintain soil moisture near saturation initially, and water is added to the field when the surface soil develops hairline cracks.
  • Irrigation intervals will vary according to field conditions.

Challenges:

  • Increased weed growth, if left unchecked, will result in a significant loss of yield.
  • Except for demonstration plots planted over a decade ago, it is not promoted by the Punjab government.
  • If organic inputs in the soil structure are maintained, it can be sustainable.

-Source: Indian Express


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