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Alangudi Perumal, a farmer from Alangudi near Kuthalam block of Kumbakonam, has come up with an innovative method of rice transplantation. His method has the objective of using fewer seeds and is based on five core principles: selection of quality seeds, preparation of nursery seed bed, maintenance of nursery and seed bed, square planting of seedlings at the distance of 50cm x 50cm, and crop management.

Perumal emphasizes seed selection. “This has to be done with utmost care. Though the seed quantity is just 250 gram per acre, the selection of each and every seed is important.  Otherwise, it will be a total failure,” says Perumal and suggests that farmers should maintain and use their own seeds.

The seeds should be matured grains.  They should be selected from the rice plant that has more tillers. The rice plant should be free from pest and disease attack.  The seeds should be selected from the earhead which has more number of grains. They should be selected and separated manually. The seeds should be pure, identical without mixing with other varieties. They should be of same size. To obtain this, we can use a sieve.

Further, seeds should be dried properly and then stored in a safer place. “The points that we discussed above are relevant when the farmer is planning to use his/her own seeds.  If a farmer is unable to use his/her own seeds and buys from other farmers or from other outside sources, the following points should be taken into consideration.

  • The farmer should prepare a salt solution using 150 gram of salt diluted with 1 litre of water.  By doing this the density of water will increase and it will be appropriate to select good seeds.
  • Normally, farmers are asked to use freshly laid country hen egg and add salt in the water until the egg floats on top of the water contained in a vessel. Instead of using this indirect method, they can use the ratio of 150 g of salt in 1 litre of water
  • The unmature and half-mature seeds settle at the bottom of the salt solution. The fully mature seeds will float on top of the water.
  • Take out the fully matured seeds and rinse them in fresh water at least two or three times. By doing this, we can prevent the salt content getting into the seeds.

After this, we need to do the seed germination test.  For that, 100 seeds should be taken and tied in wet cloth kept in a pot and left undisturbed for 24 hours. After 24 hours, open the wet cloth and count how many seeds have germinated. If more than 90% of the seeds have germinated, then the seed is of good quality. Seed germination test is not required if farmers use their own seeds, says Perumal.

Seedbed preparation

To plant one acre of paddy, a three-cent nursery is sufficient.  The nursery plot should be prepared well using green manure and compost and the land should levelled properly without water stagnation.  The land area selected for a nursery plot should be free from weeds.

Alangudi Perumal

If it is fine variety, 250 gram seeds are enough.  If the variety is a coarse one 500 grams of seeds can be taken.  This is because the weight of grains will differ from one variety to the other.

Seed treatment

It is a good practice to treat the seeds in panchakaviya mixture before sowing in the nursery. Allowance must be given for damage from flood or birds. To compensate for such a loss, as a precautionary measure, it is advisable to have a separate nursery with 1 kg of seeds from where the seedlings can be taken.

Seedbed maintenance

After the seed is sown in the nursery, the irrigation can be done for first 5 days and then drained.  The water level in the nursery could be just 1 to 2 inches. On the 7th and 12th day, amirtha karaisal (mixture) can be used as growth promoter. Each clump should have 3 to 4 tillers.  Otherwise, the dosage should be increased. If necessary, the herbal pest repellent mixtures can be used to prevent diseases.

Main field preparation

First, ploughing should be done on the main field in order to remove the weed. After that, green manure seeds like daincha should be sown. Before the flowering, the land should be ploughed back in order to incorporate the green manure into the soil.  Otherwise, the land should be ploughed using 4-5 tonnes of farm yard manure. The main field should be levelled properly.  Otherwise, the irrigation time will increase two-fold.  After land levelling, we should not walk on the main field as we can accidentally step on the germinated seedlings.

Square planting

The planting should be happen in a square-shaped area. Using a rope and marking a point for every 50 cm, the square planting can be carried out. Seedlings that are 15 to 20 days old should be taken for transplanting. The seedling should have three to four tillers.

While transplanting, the person should move from back to front.  By doing so, we can prevent furrows in the levelled main field. Planting should be shallow and not in depth.  If we do depth planting, the root tip could bend and rise upward, which will affect plant growth.

Water management

For efficient growth of transplanted seedlings and producing more tillers, appropriate water management practices are very essential. Drying and wetting are important while irrigating the field. This could be followed for a certain period of the crop.

About 5 cm of water should be available in the main field for the first 15 days after transplanting. This controls weed growth as well as boosts paddy plant growth.  During that period of time, the plants need more water.

After 15 days of transplanting, drying and wetting can be implemented. This depends upon the nature of the soil in the main field. After 55-60 days, the irrigation should be in the cycles of drying and wetting. During the young stage, milky stage and grain formation stage, ensure that there is no water shortage.

“This has to be done with utmost care. Though the seed quantity is just 250 gram per acre, the selection of each and every seed is important.  Otherwise, it will be a total failure,” says Perumal

Advantages of wider spacing: Planting the seedlings with wide spacing has numerous benefits. It helps for good aeration and gets more sunlight to the plants.  This wider spacing also helps to reduce pest and disease attack, especially the rice brown hopper.  At the same time it helps for more predator population in the rice ecosystem.  Moreover, it is easy to identify the pest-affected plants and remove them.

Wider spacing helps farmers to freely walk in the field and the weed can be controlled by walking and make it mulch.  The use of cono weeder is not required if we do frequent walking on the field.  Weed can be controlled by cultivating azolla.

From each clump, we can get 120 tillers at an average.   The ear heads are much longer than in the normal method. The wider spacing makes the plant sturdy and the lodging effect is minimal.  Harvesting is easier too.

The damage due to rat menace is minimal. Grain yield is more due to more sunlight and aeration. We can get a yield of minimum 3.5 tonnes per acre. In total, an amount of Rs 5000 can be saved per acre using this method.

Based on the type of soil and the variety of paddy, we can adjust the distance between plants.  For varieties which have more than 120 days, the distance can be 50 cm x 50 cm.  For varieties less than 120, the distance can be 40 cm x 40 cm, 50 cm x 25 cm or 30cm x 30cm.  With experience this decsion becomes easier.

For any queries contact R Perumal,  Main Road, 34, Alangudi P.O,Kuthalam Taluka, Nagapattinam District,Tamil Nadu, mobile: 9486835547, 9486525672.

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