Direct-seeded rice culture in Sri Lanka: Lessons from farmers uri icon

abstract

  • About 95% of the rice grown in Sri Lanka is direct-seeded (wet- and dry-seeding). The average rough rice yield in irrigated predominantly direct-seeded dry zone (DZ) is about 5.0 t ha(-1) and in the wet zone (WZ) it is about 3.3 t ha(-1). However the average realizable yield in DZ and WZ are 8 t ha(-1) and 5 t ha(-1) respectively. A survey was conducted to understand the cultural practices, farmers' perceptions and the reasons for the yield gap in direct-seeded rice culture in Sri Lanka. Farmers' seed rate ranged from 87 to 220 kg ha(-1) for intermediate bold-type varieties and from 71 to 176 kg ha(-1) for varieties with short round grains. About 90% of the farmers in the DZ and the intermediate zone (IZ) consider both yield potential and duration as criteria in selecting a variety. Among the farmers surveyed, only 21% of the farmers in the DZ, 13% of the farmers in the IZ, and 29% of the farmers in the WZ adhered to the recommended method of basal fertilizer application. Farmers did not adhere to the correct timing of fertilizer application. More than 50% of the cost for rice farming goes to labor, followed by cost of inputs in all climatic zones. Farmers reported that the most important production constraint for direct-seeded rice in the DZ and IZ is the non availability of reliable labor followed by soil problems and weeds. While in the WZ, it is the soil problems specially iron toxicity followed by lower soil fertility. The survey revealed that smaller land holding size, non adherence to the optimum time of farm activity initiation, less efficient use of rain water, higher seed rate and higher cost of production are a few reasons for the existing yield gap. Location-specific technologies for different agro-ecological zones of Sri Lanka should be developed to reduce the cost of production and to increase resource-use efficiency and should be transferred to the farmers to achieve sustainable optimum direct-seeded rice yields. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2011
  • 2011
  • 2011