International Journal of Agricultural and Applied Sciences, December 2020, 1(2): 34-44
Yield and economic advantage of direct seeded rice: empirical evidence from Nepal
Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU), Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal
*Corresponding author e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Received: 30/08/2020; Revised: 12/09/2020; Accepted: 28/09/2020)
Puddled transplanted rice (TPR) has been gradually replaced by direct-seeded rice (DSR) because of its low labor requirements and less cost of cultivation. Whether and how DSR can be as productive and profitable as TPR has received widespread attention. Thus a comprehensive analysis was made to quantify the effects of direct seeding on rice yield and profitability under different tillage, residues, varieties, and nitrogen management options. The results revealed that, overall, the yield of DSR was 2.4% lower than that of TPR due to a significant reduction in the number of grains per panicle and a significant increment of sterility percentage. However, the yield loss of DSR relative to TPR was highly variable depending on different tillage and residue management options, ranging from yield advantage of +6.0% to yield penalty of 16.0%. The yield gap between CT-DSR and TPR could be narrowed by not incorporating the residues while more yield could be obtained with the residues retention on the ZT-DSR. Among the different forms of the DSR, ZT with residue retention and CT without residue retention were better in terms of profitability. Adoption of improved or hybrid varieties played the less important role in yield gain and loss under DSR. With respect to nitrogen levels, the yield penalty was eliminated by the higher nitrogen application (>120 kg N ha-1) resulted in the yield advantage of 6.6% for the DSR as compared to the puddled TPR. In conclusion, DSR could produce comparable yields and more profits to TPR, but special attention should be given to optimizing management practices to improve DSR yield performance and narrow down the yield gap. Therefore, there is an urgent need to test, verify, and scale-out the DSR technologies across the different agro-ecologies of Nepal through a farmer-centered partnership among the international institutions, public and private sectors of Nepal.
Keywords: direct-seeded, puddled transplanted, rice yield advantage, economic advantage of DSR