[Answered] Evaluate the potential benefits and challenges of the Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR) method in the context of water consumption and climate change.

Introduction: Explain the DSR method.

Body: What are its benefits and challenges?

Conclusion: Way forward.

Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR) is an alternate method of rice cultivation technique which is different from the conventional method of transplanting paddy. In DSR paddy is grown directly in the field without any nursery preparation, pudding or flooding. The main difference between the two is in the conventional method water acts as a natural herbicide in denying oxygen to the weed seeds in the soil, thus preventing their germination. On the other hand in DSR, chemical herbicides replace water.

What are the benefits of DSR?

  • Water: DSR techniques save water as compared to the transplanting method. Experts say that around 15% to 20% of groundwater can be saved by adopting DSR.
  • Labour: DSR technique has reduced the cost of labour as it takes 4-5 labourers to transplant an acre of paddy, for which they charge Rs 4,000. A DSR machine on the other hand can cover the same area in 1.25-1.5 hours, burning up to 3 litres of diesel at Rs 90/litre. It has considerably reduced the cost of cultivation.
  • Other benefits: DSR method saves less power in comparison to the traditional method. Reduced weed problems and reduced incidence of nutrient deficiency especially iron, owing to lesser leaching of nutrients and deeper root development, have made the DSR method more popular among the farmers of Haryana and Punjab.
  • Climate: It has been analysed from various experiments from the field that DSR is a feasible alternative to mitigate methane emission in comparison to the conventional method of planting paddy which is a major source of methane, a major greenhouse gas.

What are the challenges associated with DSR?

  • Subsidized electricity: A key reason for farmers of Punjab not adopting DSR is subsidized or free electricity in the state which offers little incentive for them to adopt DSR or less water technique.
  • Weed: In the conventional method sapling is taller than the weed from the start of the process while in DSR both plants and weeds grow simultaneously which causes major problems during harvest.
  • Lack of awareness: There is a lack of awareness and guidance highlighting the importance of DSR. Farmers are confused about the yield using the DSR method. There is also evidence that good result using the DSR method is based on soil types and are different for every farmer.
  • Cost: The biggest disadvantage is in terms of the rising cost of DSR machines which is beyond the reach of small and marginal farmers. DSR technique would also harm the migrant population from Eastern UP, Bihar who act as skilled migrant labourers for transplanting paddy.


Union Government should support the efforts of state governments in making efforts to popularize this method using training sessions and awareness. State Governments is providing subsidy on DSR Seeder machines and financial incentives per acreage cultivated through the DSR method. Finally, the main push for DSR will come from Government policy on water, power and labour.

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