Growing Paddy for Self Sustainable Organic Harvests
Rice is the basic and most superior food which is making people secure on this globe. Due to the supply chains and highly supportive governments, it is reaching everyone at a nominal cost of drinking water in most parts of the world. However, there are premium rice varieties which are in the market, costing ten times the normal.
God has given most of you a wonderful opportunity as it is for me. So this piece of article will help you to think and act on growing your food in your vicinity. It is an opportunity to grow one’s food not only for the family but also for friends and relatives. Some of the farmers are doing it as a ritual offered by them to the Mother Earth, someone does it as their duty and responsibility, someone for livelihood, someone for profit earning, someone as a business, someone as punishment and some as a hobby. Ultimately there is whooping global production of more than 750 million tonnes of paddy and more than 500 million tonnes of rice every year to feed all.
Anyone can try for a golden harvest provided there is a wish to go forward. What is most essential is the water source and good soil. Of course, sunlight is everything for paddy.
Natural farming for healthy harvests
Oryza sativa seeds are very important to start paddy crop. We cannot bring seeds from anywhere because reliable seeds are very important to get a good crop. Always ensure that either you get the seeds from your neighbours or reliable persons who have been growing paddy and have a good knowledge, how to keep the seeds. Otherwise, buy the seeds from government agencies or certified seed selling agencies.
Low-quality seed material due to common problems associated with paddy seeds:
- Poor germination
- Pathogen content
- Weed seed contamination and
- Mixing other variety of seed.
There are thousands of varieties in paddy and which one to grow in your locality can be very well understood by interacting with paddy growers nearby.
A high yielding variety seed, free from disease pathogens and can germinate to produce seedlings is important. Old seeds cannot germinate and produce a good number of seedlings.
Once we have good seeds we can cultivate paddy for 4-5 years using the seeds obtained from the harvest, if there is no major disease problem. Subsequently, if the yield decrease is noticed, it is good to change seed variety.
Biodynamic farming advocates proper planning at the time of seed sowing, which can ensure a good harvest. There are different seasons of cropping in different parts of the globe. Following the cropping practice according to the seasons is always good. Seasonal vagaries are the biggest natural enemies of the paddy farmer.
Apart from the seeds, the other requirements are soil preparation before ploughing, adding manure, proper watering, ploughing to the correct depth and the soil pH.
Seeds can be soaked and germinated before sowing. It is good to do seed priming with Trichoderma or Bacillus and Pseudomonas consortium for enhancing the seedling growth and containing the disease pathogens associated with seeds.
The different methods of cultivation suggest broadcast sowing, drum seeder sowing and transplanting cultivation. The last method, which is most scientific and can produce the best harvest. Owing to various reasons, people resort to other methods. One of the reason is the timely labour requirement.
The duration of paddy cultivation may vary according to the variety. It may be from 60 days to 180 days. Two methods of cultivation are practised mainly. The first is puddling cultivation, another is the dryland cultivation. When there is ample water availability, puddling cultivation is the best. But if the water availability is low and the crop is mainly dependant on the rainwater, then dry land cultivation is feasible. Many methods of dryland cultivation are popular among cultivators, which are making into blocks for growing in furrows or clumped cultivation. Paddy is a highly versatile crop, which can adjust to various kinds of cultivation. If you have a scarcity of land, you can go grow paddy even in containers in a vertical garden. In that event, dryland cultivation methods can be adopted for easiness and success.
Ploughing was done by bullocks in the earlier days. At present, it is done with the help of tiller or tractor machines.
In the case of paddy, seeding is done for transplantation, seedings will be ready by about 20 days for transplantation. Transplantation can be done by planting seedlings with a gap of 6-8 inches between the rows and between the plants. Transplantation is usually done manually, for which, the second round of ploughing is required. In about 40 to 45 days of seeding, if there are weeds, weeding has to be done. At present, there are weeding machines available for mechanical weeding, only if transplantation gap is good and even.
Continuously visit the paddy field and observe for ensuring proper growth. In case if there is any indication of pest occurrence or disease sign, take immediate action otherwise the crop will be at risk.
To the extent possible organic or natural cultivation is the best because there will not be any problems of pesticide residue in the rice. Use mild pesticides, if essential, with advice from the farmers' service centres.
Major problems with paddy cultivation
- Soil salinity or acidity
- Leaf roller worms, gall midge, root grub, mealybug, sucking pests, etc.
- Bacterial, viral and fungal diseases
- Drought influence
- Flood damage
- Wild animals attack
Depending on the length of the cropping duration, harvesting can be done when the crop is ripe.
Trap cropping and ecological engineering technics and spray of repellants as mentioned in my natural farming article are helpful for organic harvest.
Manual harvesting and mechanical harvesting are the different methods used by the cultivators.
After the harvest, the paddy has to be threshed and winnowed to obtain clean paddy. For the next season seed storage, paddy has to be dried to 5-7% moisture content level and has to be stored properly, safeguarding against attack by storage pests.
For milling, the paddy has to be dried, up to three to four per cent moisture content. It can be milled for obtaining raw rice. In certain parts of the world, people use parboiled rice. To prepare this the paddy has to be first boiled and then dried in the shade. The dry paddy can be milled to obtain parboiled rice.
In the market, we can obtain organically grown rice of different varieties as well as organically cultivated parboiled rice. Parboiled rice is very good to prepare kanji or healthy rice gruel.
From raw rice, rice powder is prepared, which is useful for making batter or food preparations using rice powder. Puffed rice is also prepared from paddy. Boiled paddy is used to make beaten rice. There are thousands of varieties of rice preparations.
Azadiractin emulsion 0.3% can keep paddy away from pathogens and pests
Proper irrigation is an important activity for success in paddy cultivation.
If you produce your rice for the basic food needs, it is the way for achieving reliable supply of organic food. So take a bold step to ensure your food security and burden on food supply from the market. This is the foremost self-reliance and the most essential step for attaining self-sustainability.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Halemane Muralikrishna