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Reduced Water Use and Labor Cost and Increased Productivity of Direct Seeded Basmati Rice in Punjab, Pakistan

Reduced Water Use and Labor Cost and Increased Productivity of Direct Seeded Basmati Rice in Punjab, Pakistan

Muhammad Usman Saleem, Nadeem Iqbal, Shawaiz Iqbal*, Usama Bin Khalid, Adila Iram, Muhammad Akhter, Tahir Latif and Tahir Hussain Awan 

Rice Research Institute, Kala Shah Kaku, Punjab, Pakistan  


Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is a main staple food in Pakistan, after wheat and is generally cultivated through raising nursery seedlings and transplanting them in puddled soils. Declining surface water, high cost of pumped groundwater, high labor costs, and drudgery in manually transplanted rice (TPR) have motivated researchers to develop alternated technology such as direct seeded rice (DSR). About 30% of total water used in rice cultivation is consumed for puddling of soil (land preparation) and transplanting operations. Physical properties of soils are deteriorating due to continued puddling over the decades, resulting in structural breakdown leads to a compacted layer (the plough plate) that acts as a barrier to the infiltration of water and causes temporary waterlogging, which confines the penetration of roots and growth of a subsequent wheat crop after the harvesting of rice crop. DSR technology helps by eliminating the need for continuous ponding of water and thus lessens water use for rice production, resulting in saving of 15-20% of water over TPR. DSR is also a less labor-intensive and more farmers-friendly, time-saving and cost-effective technology than TPR. The Rice Research Institute, Kala Shah Kaku, has refined the DSR technology and production practices and conducted 20 field demonstrations of DSR with modified seed drills during 2017 in Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Narowal, Sheikhupura, and Sialkot districts. The super basmati rice variety was direct seeded in comparison with manually TPR. The DSR was carried out in well prepared dry seed bed with the help of tractor mounted rice drill. Irrigation was applied immediately after sowing and after 24 hours pendimethline was sprayed as pre-emergence weedicide. The irrigation was repeated about 4-5 days after pre-emergence weedicide application and afterwards about 3-5 days interval till tillering phase and then 5-7 days interval till crop maturity. The overall results indicated that paddy yield was 20% higher under DSR as compared to TPR. Moreover, during 2017 in Punjab Province, Pakistan, more than 2500 farmers cultivated rice using DSR on an area of about 10000 ha and found it more cost effective than manually TPR. Therefore, farmers can opt this technology to harvest maximum benefits. 


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Sarhad Journal of Agriculture


Vol. 38, Iss. 3, Pages 759-1159


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