Direct seeding of rice (DSR) has the ability to offer many advantages to farmers and the climate over traditional puddling and transplanting methods. Direct seeded rice (DSR), the most ancient method of crop establishment, is gaining popularity due to its low input requirement. Different challenges, such as lowering the water table, labour shortages during peak times, and declining soil quality, necessitate an alternative establishment approach to maintain rice production as well as natural resources. The advantages and drawbacks of the DSR establishment process are described below.
Advantages of Direct Seeding Rice (DSR):
- The most significant is water conservation. Under DSR, the first irrigation (aside from pre-sowing rauni) is allowed only 21 days after sowing.
- It differs from transplanted paddy, where watering is needed almost constantly to ensure submerged/flooded conditions within the first three weeks.
- It would save more labours, as approximately three labourers are expected to transplant one acre of paddy at a cost of nearly Rs 2,400 per acre.
- Eliminate methane pollution by using a shorter flooding cycle and less soil disruption than transplanting rice seedlings.
- There has been no nursery preparation or planting. Instead, the seeds are immediately drilled into the field by a tractor-powered vehicle.
- DSR can assist in reducing output risks in potential drought situations and when rainfall at planting time is variable(Kumar and Ladha, 2011);
- DSR can facilitate crop intensification. For example, the spread of direct seeding has resulted in a two-fold increase in rice cropping (Pandey and Velasco, 2002);
- DSR is effective in water-stressed areas, especially in the uplands. DSR has a shorter crop length, uses less water, and hence has a better water-use performance than PTR(Ali et al., 2006);
- Complete farm production has improved as a result of double cropping of rice made possible by the DSR system.
- Sowing can be done in a stipulated time frame because of easier and faster planting
- Crop maturity is 7-10 days sooner, allowing for timely planting of subsequent crops.
- More productive water usage and greater resistance to water stress.
- More profitability especially under assured irrigation facilities.
- Improved physical soil conditions.
Disadvantages of Direct Seeding Rice (DSR):
- Weeds are the most significant impediment to DSR performance. Weeds are more likely to be a problem in DSR than in puddled transplanting. Weed control in DSR is difficult due to the variety and severity of weed infestation caused by the lack of a standing water layer at the time of rice emergence.
- The seed demand for DSR is also greater, at 8-10 kg/acre versus 4-5 kg for Transplanting.
- Direct Seeded Rice needs laser land levelling, which costs Rs 1,000 per acre. This is not the case of transplantation.
- the yields are comparable to regular transplanting, but sowing must be completed by the first two weeks of June. The plants must fully emerge before the Monsoon Rains arrive. There is no such difficulty in Transplanting since the samplings have already been grown in the Nursery.
- Herbicide resistance: The tradition of large-scale direct seeding expanded herbicide used for weed control in rice, which gradually culminated in the emergence of resistance in weeds to some herbicides.
- Higher nitrous oxide emissions: Though direct seeding can help reduce CH4 emissions, aerobic soil conditions can also increase N2 O emissions. Nitrous oxide production
- Nutrient disorders, especially N and micronutrients: Nutrient dynamics vary in both DSR and PTR regimes, owing to differences in land preparation and water management techniques. In the case of DSR, the soil remains aerobic due to dry land planning, as opposed to PTR, where the soil is kept flooded and puddled.
- Sudden rain immediately after seeding may have a negative impact on crop establishment.
- An uneven crop stand also results in a failure to achieve the potential DSR yield.