S.V.S. GOPALA SWAMY* AND V. MAHESWARA PRASAD
Post Harvest Technology Centre, Agricultural College Campus, Bapatla, Guntur Dt. – 522 101, Andhra Pradesh
Different rice establishment techniques were tested against traditional method of transplanting for feasibility in upland rice farming situation in Krishna district during rabi, 2012-13. The techniques comprised direct seeding through broadcasting, sowing of sprouted seed using drum seeder, System of Rice Intensification and System of Rice Intensification under mechanization (MSRI) along with conventional transplanting. Rice variety; MTU 1010 was used in all the trials. Costs involved for each operation were collected and returns per rupee of expenditure were worked out. For crop establishment under drum seeding (` 657) and broad casting (` 750) methods, the cost involved was very less. Direct sowing through broadcasting realized higher gross return (` 98500) and net income (` 72475) with higher returns per rupee expenditure (3.78). The study emphasizes the need of alternate methods of rice crop establishment for reducing cost of cultivation in uplands considering the factors such as weather conditions, type of soil, availability of water and labour.
Rice, Broadcasting, Drum seeding, System of Rice Intensification.
Rice (Oryza sativa), the staple food for most of the Indians occupies a significant position in the agricultural economy of the country. West Godavari, East Godavari and Krishna are three most important rice producing districts of Andhra Pradesh and account for over 7 per cent of the total rice production of the country. The topographical area of Krishna district can be divided into delta area with black heavy soils that receives canal irrigation and upland area with light soils which is dependent on tube wells and tanks for irrigation. Though rice is grown by adopting various crop establishing techniques; transplanting of seedlings is the traditional method followed from many years in Krishna district, which involves various operations. This is a time consuming, labour intensive method which requires more water for land preparation as well as for the establishment of crop. Transplantation is mostly done by contract labour by random planting often with sub optimal plant density per unit area. Availability of farm labour is also drastically reduced, especially for operations like transplanting and weeding. Delayed planting affects crop growth and yields and thereby reduces system productivity and profitability. Owing to these problems, the rice farmers adopting transplantation are inclining towards alternate methods which are economical and environmentally appropriate for rice crop production. Direct seeding can reduce labour
needs by more than 20 per cent in terms of working hours required (Santhi et al., 1998). The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) has been successfully used in a number of countries. The SRI system saved about 64% of water compared with the conventional paddy system (Mwatete et al., 2015). Similarly, the benefits of various cost reduction technologies like machine planting (Venkateswarlu et al., 2011) and drum seeding (Manoranjan et al., 2011; Sucheta and Hensel., 2012) have been reported.
Different rice establishment techniques were tested against traditional method of transplanting for feasibility in upland rice farming situation on farmers fields of Krishna district during rabi season, 2012-13. The techniques comprised direct seeding through broadcasting (2 locations), sowing of sprouted seeds using drum seeder (2 locations), System of Rice Intensification (4 locations) and System of Rice Intensification under mechanization (MSRI) (4 locations) along with conventional transplanting. Rice variety; MTU 1010 was used in all the trials. In direct sowing, seeds were sown straight in the main field by broadcasting. For wet drum seeding, paddy seeds were soaked in water for 24 hours and incubated for 24-48 hours. These sprouted seeds were sown in puddled field, 1-2 days after puddling using
perforated drum seeder. The SRI system involved different practices, while it was slightly modified by involving machine planting as MSRI. Due to delay in onset of monsoons and release of canal water, sowing of paddy crop during kharif was delayed with consequent delay in rabi sowings. Hence, all the trials were sown only during the month of December, 2012. Yield attributing plant characters such as number of hills/ m2, number of tillers/ 5 hills, number of panicles/ 5 hills, per cent filled grains/ panicle and yield (q/ha) were recorded. Costs involved for each operation i.e., from land preparation to harvesting in each trial were collected and averaged. Returns per rupee of expenditure in each establishment method were worked out and compared.
There were significant differences in the performance of different crop establishment techniques in terms of yield and yield attributing characters (Table 1); also in terms of economic returns (Figure 1). The cost of field preparation (` 9500) was higher for the broadcasting method followed by drum seeding (` 7750) as they required fine tilth compared to transplanting and MSRI methods (Table 2). The field preparation cost involved for SRI method of planting was the least (` 5156), whereas, for crop establishment (i.e., planting or seeding) both MSRI and SRI methods required higher costs (` 12938 and ` 11003 respectively) compared to other three methods of planting as these techniques involved skilled/ trained labour. For drum seeding (` 657) and broad casting (` 750) the cost involved was very less. Fertilizer costs ranged from ` 6625 in drum seeding to a maximum of` 8954/- in SRI method.
In transplanting method, the cost involved for crop establishment was ` 9416 while the total cost of cultivation was ` 36999. The mean yield was 59.3 q/ha which helped to realize a gross return of ` 74125 and net income of
` 37126 with minimum returns per rupee of expenditure (2.0). In the broadcasted trial plot, yield attributing plant characters such as the number of hills/m2, no. of tillers and panicles/5 hills, per cent filled grains and yield were higher compared to transplanting. However, the total cost of cultivation (` 26025) was low and the yield obtained was higher. Hence, direct sowing through broadcasting realized higher gross return (` 98500) and net income (` 72475) with higher returns per rupee of expenditure (3.78). During the initial period of crop establishment though weeds became problematic, farmers were able to manage them successfully with the available new herbicides and cultural methods. For weed management, more amount was incurred in transplanting (` 4505) while other methods MSRI (` 4313), drum seeding (` 3850) and SRI (` 3713). During kharif, broadcasting method though required significantly less cost for establishment, it required significantly higher expenditure towards weed management compared with other methods of establishment (Prasad and Swamy, 2015).
In Drum seeder technique, though, the cost of field preparation (` 7750) was little higher, the cost of crop establishment (` 657) and the total cost of cultivation (` 28232) were low. Hence, direct sowing through drum seeder technique resulted in a gross return of ` 62125 and net income of ` 33894 with returns per rupee of expenditure (2.20) . As the trial plots were surrounded by sugarcane fields, the rice crop was damaged due to rodents. In spite of more amount spent towards rat control, the yields obtained were low. Still direct sowing through
drum seeder realized higher returns per rupee of expenditure compared to transplanting. Similarly, higher yields with low cost of cultivation and higher benefit cost ratios were recorded in drum seeded rice compared to transplanted rice in Vizianagaram (Visalakshi and Sireesha, 2014) and Krishna (Prasad and Swamy, 2015) districts during kharif and in Chittoor district (Sreenivasulu and Reddy, 2015) during rabi. In SRI plots, as the growth of seedlings in the nursery was not encouraging due to cold weather aged seedlings had to be transplanted. In addition, the crop also suffered from terminal moisture stress which resulted in low yields and realized only a marginal increase in gross return, net income and returns per rupee of expenditure compared to transplanting. The total cost of cultivation (` 38045) was little higher as the cost of field preparation (` 5156) and crop establishment (` 11003) were higher in SRI plot. The findings are in agreement with the observations of Prasad and Swamy, (2015) during kharif.
In MSRI system, nursery raising and machine planting was carried through a private firm on contract basis. Though the cost of establishment (` 12938) increased the total cost of cultivation (` 37857), lesser cost for fertilizers, plant protection and weed management and higher yields increased the gross return (` 92000), net income (` 54144) and returns per rupee of expenditure (2.43) compared to transplanting. The broadcasting method was also tried in coastal sandy loams; though the number of hills/m2 and number of tillers/ 5 hills were higher, the number of productive tillers was less compared to conventional method. The reason was that the farmers had taken a crop during kharif with long duration variety BPT 5204 in the same field. There were many volunteer plants of BPT 5204 and consumed more inputs, but they did not mature along with the short duration rabi variety
MTU 1010. This problem was not raised with conventional planting after puddling. As the result, yield as well as gross return, net income and returns per rupee of expenditure were very less in the trial plot compared to transplanting.
Though the costs vary with location, labour demand and management, it is clearly evident from these trials that the alternate methods for rice crop establishment are to be encouraged for reducing cost of cultivation particularly in uplands. However, the choice of a technique should be done based on the type of soil, availability of water and labour duly taking the prevailing weather conditions into account.