DIRECT SEEDING OF RICE (DSR) (Syllabus GS Paper 3 – Agriculture)

News-CRUX-10     18th June 2024        
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Context: The Punjab government has been actively promoting the direct seeding of rice (DSR), or ‘tar-wattar’ technique, This can reduce water use by 15% to 20%.

Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR)

  • About: It is also known as the 'broadcasting seed technique,' is a water-saving method of sowing paddy.
  • Factors: Texture of the soil. Farmers should avoid DSR in light-textured soils — it is more suitable for heavy or medium-to-heavy-textured soils.

oThe iron content of the soil also determines the suitability of DSR.

  • Sowing Method: In this method, seeds are directly drilled into the fields, bypassing the need for traditional water-intensive transplanting.
  • Water Conservation: DSR saves groundwater by eliminating the need for waterlogged fields required in traditional rice cultivation.
  • Simplified Preparation: There is no nursery preparation or transplantation involved in this method.

Benefits of DSR

  • Water Conservation: Tar-wattar can reduce the consumption of water in cultivation by 15% to 20%. 

oThe traditional puddling method requires 3,600 to 4,125 litres of water to grow every kilogram of rice.

  • Reduced Irrigation: The traditional method requires 25-27 rounds of irrigation in all, while DSR significantly reduces this need.
  • Addressing Water Scarcity: This reduction in water usage is extremely important in water-scarce regions like Punjab, where rapidly plunging groundwater levels foretell a crisis of desertification.

How DSR Works

  • DSR, as the name suggests, requires no nursery preparation or transplantation. Paddy seeds are directly sown, roughly 20-30 days prior to when they would have been transplanted.
  • Field Preparation: The field is irrigated and laser-leveled before the seeding process, which is carried out using a seed drill or lucky seeder.
  • Seed Treatment: It is crucial, with seeds soaked in a fungicide solution for eight hours, then dried for half a day before sowing.
  • Irrigation Schedule: The first round of irrigation is carried out 21 days after sowing, followed by 14-17 more rounds at 7-10 day intervals, depending on soil type and the quality of the monsoon. The final irrigation takes place 10 days before harvest.
  • Comparison to Traditional Method: The traditional method requires 25-27 irrigations in total.
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