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Direct Seeding of Rice

  • 14 May 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Due to labour shortage in two granary states of Punjab and Haryana, farmers are now being encouraged to adopt ‘Direct Seeding of Rice’ (DSR) in place of conventional transplanting.

  • Covid-19 pandemic has led the labourers to reverse migrate to their villages, which has created a shortage of labourers.

Key Points

  • Normal Transplanting of Paddy vs Direct Seeding of Rice
    • Transplanting Paddy:
      • In transplanting paddy, farmers prepare nurseries where the paddy seeds are first sown and raised into young plants.
      • The nursery seed bed is 5-10% of the area to be transplanted.
      • These seedlings are then uprooted and replanted 25-35 days later in the puddled field.
    • Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR):
      • In DSR, the pre-germinated seeds are directly drilled into the field by a tractor-powered machine.
      • There is no nursery preparation or transplantation involved in this method.
      • Farmers have to only level their land and give one pre-sowing irrigation.
  • Protection against the weeds
    • Transplanting Method: In transplanting for the first three weeks or so, the plants have to be irrigated almost daily to maintain a water depth of 4-5 cm.
      • Water prevents growth of weeds by denying them oxygen in the submerged stage, whereas the soft ‘aerenchyma tissues’ in paddy plants allow air to penetrate through their roots. Water, thus, acts as a herbicide for paddy.
      • DSR Method: In DSR as flooding of fields is not done during sowing, chemical herbicides are used to kill weeds.
  • Advantage with Direct Seeding of Rice
    • Water savings.
    • Less numbers of labourers required.
    • Saves labour cost.
    • Reduce methane emissions due to a shorter flooding period and decreased soil disturbance compared to transplanting rice seedlings.
  • Drawbacks of Direct Seeding of Rice
    • Non-availability of herbicides.
    • The seed requirement for DSR is also high, 8-10 kg/acre, compared to 4-5 kg/acre in transplanting.
    • Further, laser land levelling is compulsory in DSR. This is not so in transplanting.
    • The sowing needs to be done timely so that the plants have come out properly before the monsoon rains arrive.


  • Rice is a staple food for the overwhelming majority of the population in India.
  • It is a kharif crop which requires high temperature, (above 25°C) and high humidity with annual rainfall above 100 cm.
    • In the areas of less rainfall, it is grown with the help of irrigation.
  • In southern states and West Bengal the climatic conditions allow the cultivation of two or three crops of rice in an agricultural year.
    • In West Bengal farmers grow three crops of rice called ‘aus’, ‘aman’ and ‘boro’.
  • About one-fourth of the total cropped area in India is under rice cultivation.
    • Leading producer states: West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab.
    • High Yielding States: Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal and Kerala.
  • Punjab and Haryana are not traditional rice growing areas.
    • Rice Cultivation in the irrigated areas of Punjab and Haryana was introduced in the 1970s following the Green Revolution.
    • Almost the entire land under rice cultivation in Punjab and Haryana is irrigated.
  • India contributes 21.6% of rice production in the world and ranked second after China in 2016.

Source: IE

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