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News: Recently, the state of Punjab was unable to achieve its target in the water-saving method (direct-seeded rice).
• Also known as Broadcasting seed technique, it is a water-saving method of sowing Paddy.
• Here, seeds are directly drilled into the fields. In contrast to the traditional water-intensive method of transplanting rice seedlings from a nursery to waterlogged fields, this method saves groundwater.
• There is no nursery preparation or transplantation involved in this method.
• Farmers have to only level their land and give one pre-sowing irrigation.
• Requires fewer manpower - DSR can solve labour shortage problems because like the traditional method it does not require a paddy nursery and transplantation of 30 days old paddy nursery into the main puddled field.
• Increase in Yield - According to the results from research trials and farmers’ field survey, after this technique the yield is one to two quintals per acre higher than puddled transplanted rice.
• Improves Groundwater Level - It offers avenues for ground water 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 management of paddy straw.
Why Punjab could not achieve its target?
• Warmer months - High temperatures and deficient rainfall are mainly to blame. The temperature was in the range of 47-48 degrees Celsius on some days, whereas the ideal temperature is 42-43°C during the period.
• Hesitance shown by Farmers - Due to a lack of support from the government in the form of providing a good variety of weeds, and unable to supply uninterrupted electricity during the sowing season of DSR that’s why farmers found it very difficult to irrigate the field using an electric motor. Also, because the wheat crop had already failed the farmers in Punjab were reluctant to show their support for DSR.
• Other issues - It includes closed canals, erratic electricity supply for operating tube wells for irrigation, and issues of weeds and rats. Water availability was a challenge due to deficient to no rainfall in many parts of the state of Punjab during May.