Explained: Why Punjab’s DSR push matters, how much groundwater will it save

Why in the News?

Punjab government announced Rs 1,500 incentive per acre for farmers opting for Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR).

What is Direct Seeding of Rice(DSR)?

Direct seeding is a method under which pre-germinated seeds are directly drilled into the field by a tractor-powered machine. DSR is also called the ‘broadcasting seed technique’. 

How is DSR different from Normal Transplantation?

There is no nursery preparation or transplantation involved in DSR. In transplanting, farmers prepare nurseries where the paddy seeds are first sown and raised into young plants. These seedlings are then uprooted and replanted 25-35 days later in the main field.

What are the advantages of DSR?

Saves Water: DSR technique can help save 15% to 20% of water. In some cases, water-saving can reach 22% to 23%.

Less Number of Labours: DSR can solve labour shortage problems because like the traditional method it does not require a paddy nursery and transplantation of a 30-day old paddy nursery into the main puddled field.

Avenues for Groundwater Recharge: It offers avenues for groundwater recharge as it prevents the development of hard crust just beneath the plough layer due to puddled transplanting. It matures 7-10 days earlier than the puddle transplanted crop, therefore giving more time for the management of paddy straw.

Higher Yield: According to the results from research trials and farmers’ field surveys, after this technique, the yield is one to two quintals per acre higher than puddled transplanted rice.

What are the disadvantages of DSR?

Not suitable for certain types of Soil: The DSR method is not suitable for certain types of soil and in such fields only transplanting methods work.

It is recommended to avoid DSR in fields which are under crops other than rice (like cotton, maize, and sugarcane). This is because in previous years as DSR in these soils is likely to suffer more from iron deficiency and weed problems.

Land levelling is compulsory in DSR, therefore, increasing the cost.

Spraying of herbicides must be done simultaneously along with sowing and the first irrigation.

Source: The post is based on the articleExplained: Why Punjab’s DSR push matters, how much groundwater will it savepublished in Indian Express on 6th May 2022. 

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