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Is Paddy Planted using DSR method more vulnerable to rodent attacks?

What is DSR method?

DSR Method

  • In normal 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.
  • In DSR method, there is no nursery preparation or transplantation. The paddy seeds are, instead, directly drilled into the field by a tractor-powered machine. The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) at Ludhiana has developed ‘Lucky Seed Drill’ which can sow seeds and simultaneously also spray herbicides to control weed growth.
  • Punjab needs at least 6 lakh migrant labours to transplant paddy on 27-28 lakh hectares with traditional method which is highly labour intensive. DSR method requires neither nursery sowing nor transplanting, which itself entails minimum labour requirement.
  • Also, in traditional method, plants are transplanted in 6-inches deep water and have to be irrigated almost daily (if there are no rains) to ensure water depth of 4-5 cm, but in DSR, water is replaced by herbicides.

What is the damage percentage of the crops?

 

  • In Punjab on an average 2 to 15 per cent damage is caused to every crop in Kharif and Rabi season by rodents. Even in the case of Sugarcane, we have seen damage up to 25 per cent. They are a danger to every crop, including wheat, paddy, pulses, vegetables, melons etc.

 

Which crops are mostly damaged by rodents?

  • According to experts, rodents threaten every crop in the state including rice sown with the usual flooding method. In Punjab, mostly paddy is grown by transplanting paddy seedlings in flooded fields. While rats do not survive in flooding, but the crop is vulnerable to attacks close to harvesting as rodent attack the roots
  • Barring paddy all crops in Punjab are sown in moist fields just like DSR sowing, which needs irrigation around the third week of sowing. So DSR as a technique cannot be blamed for making the crop vulnerable to rodent attacks.
  • If the rodent control campaign would have been launched this time before paddy sowing with DSR, then the damage, which was reported from some places to the young plants of paddy could have been stopped.

Is the problem of rodents serious in Punjab?

  • If it is not controlled periodically then the population would increase manifold. They breed in vacant fields very fast after harvesting of any crop, especially where stubble remains in the fields. Rodents give birth after three weeks and litter 5 to 10 pups but sometimes they litter even more pups and can reproduce up to 10 times or more per year