Rice cultivation – The process that Farmers need to know
Rice is the most important food crop of India covering about one-fourth of the total cropped area and providing food to about half of the Indian population.
This is the staple food of the people living in the eastern and the southern parts of the country, particularly in the areas having over 150 cm annual rainfall. There are about 10,000 varieties of rice in the world out of which about 4,000 are grown in India.
Rice is life for thousands of millions of people. In Asia alone, more than 2,000 million people obtain 60 to 70 per cent of their calories from rice and its products. Recognizing the importance of this crop, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2004 as the “International Year of Rice” (IYR).
Rice is grown under varying conditions in India from 8° to 25° N latitude and from sea level to about 2,500 metre altitude. It is a tropical plant and requires high heat and high humidity for its successful growth. The temperature should be fairly high at mean monthly of 24°C. It should be 20°- 22°C at the time of sowing, 23°-25°C during growth and 25°-30°C at the harvesting time. The average annual rainfall required by rice is 150 cm.
It is the dominant crop in areas of over 200 cm annual rainfall and is still an important crop in areas of 100-200 cm rainfall. The 100 cm isohyet forms the limit of rice in rainfed areas. In areas receiving less than 100 cm annual rainfall, rice can be grown with the help of irrigation, as is done in Punjab, Haryana and western U.P. About 40 per cent of rice crop in India is raised under irrigation.
The fields must be flooded under 10-12 cm deep water at the time of sowing and during early stages of growth. Therefore, the fields must be level and have low mud walls to retain water. This peculiar requirement of rice makes it primarily a crop of plain areas. Rice grown in well watered lowland plain areas is called wet or lowland rice.
In hilly areas, the hill slopes are cut into terraces for the cultivation of rice. Such a cultivation in which the hill slopes are cut into terraces is called terraced cultivation. The supply of water to the hill terraces is not as much as in the plain areas and the rice grown in hilly areas is called dry or upland rice.
Rice can be grown on a variety of soils including silts, loams and gravels and can tolerate acidic as well as alkaline soils. However, deep fertile clayey or loamy soils which can be easily puddled into mud and develop cracks on drying are considered ideal for raising this crop.
Methods of Rice Cultivation:
Following methods of rice cultivation are practiced in India.
- Broadcasting method
- Drilling method
- Transplantation method
- Japanese method
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