Why grain yield of transplanted rice on permanent raised beds declines with time uri icon


  • Permanent raised beds are being promoted as a resource conservation technology for ricewheat systems in Indo-Gangetic plains (IGP) to improve the water productivity of rice and wheat in addition to other benefits, as furrow irrigation can be more efficient than flood irrigation. However, several studies carried out in the NW IGP have shown rice grain yields to decrease with the increasing age of the beds. The present study was conducted on a deep alluvial loam (Ustochrept) in a farmer's field at Phillaur, Punjab, India, to identify possible reasons for the declining grain yield of rice on the permanent raised beds (37.5 cm wide alternating with 30 cm wide furrows 15 cm deep) in comparison to fresh raised beds. The beds were formed with a bed planter drawn by a 35-hp 4-wheel tractor, which was also used to direct drill wheat on the permanent beds each year, and to reshape the beds prior to each rice crop. This paper reports a study of rice root distribution and mass at the end of the vegetative stage, and soil bulk density after harvest, for transplanted rice on permanent beds (4th rice crop, 8th crop) in comparison with transplanted rice on fresh beds (1st crop).
  • Rice grain yield declined linearly with increasing age of the permanent beds. It decreased by 19% in 2004, 45% in 2005 and 59% in 2006 from 4.64 t ha(-1) in 2003. In situ exposure of root profiles on permanent and fresh beds revealed that the horizontal spread of roots on permanent beds (6 cm from the base of the plant at 18 cm depth and 12 cm at 27 cm depth) was much less than on fresh beds (12 cm at 18 cm, depth and 18 cm at 27 cm depth). The root mass density in at 0-15 cm the middle of the fresh beds was 59% higher than on the permanent beds. Bulk density was significantly higher under the shoulder and side of the permanent beds to the depth of sampling (0-15 cm) than under the fresh beds at the same positions across the furrow. The decline in performance of rice on beds as the beds aged was at least partly due to compaction of the permanent beds by the tractor tyres, which had width similar to that of the top of the furrow. This hindered the spread of the roots particularly towards the beds. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2008
  • 2008