Direct Seeding of Rice: Recent Developments and Future Research Needs
- Additional Document Info
- View All
Rice (Oryza sativa L.), a staple food for more than half of the world population, is commonly grown by transplanting seedlings into puddled soil (wet tillage) in Asia. This production system is labor-, water-, and energy-intensive and is becoming less profitable as these resources are becoming increasingly scarce. It also deteriorates the physical properties of soil, adversely affects the performance of succeeding upland crops, and contributes to methane emissions. These factors demand a major shift from puddled transplanting to direct seeding of rice (DSR) in irrigated rice ecosystems. Direct seeding (especially wet seeding) is widely adopted in some and is spreading to other Asian countries. However, combining dry seeding (Dry-DSR) with zero/reduced tillage (e.g., conservation agriculture (CA)) is gaining momentum as a pathway to address rising water and labor scarcity, and to enhance system sustainability. Published studies show various benefits from direct seeding compared with puddled transplanting, which typically include (1) similar yields; (2) savings in irrigation water, labor, and production costs; (3) higher net economic returns; and (4) a reduction in methane emissions. Despite these benefits, the yields have been variable in some regions, especially with dry seeding combined with reduced/zero tillage due to (1) uneven and poor crop stand, (2) poor weed control, (3) higher spikelet sterility, (4) crop lodging, and (5) poor knowledge of water and nutrient management. In addition, rice varieties currently used for DSR are primarily selected and bred for puddled transplanted rice. Risks associated with a shift from puddled transplanting to DSR include (I) a shift toward hard-to-control weed flora, (2) development of herbicide resistance in weeds, (3) evolution of weedy rice, (4) increases in soil-borne pathogens such as nematodes, (5) higher emissions of nitrous oxide a potent greenhouse gas, and (6) nutrient disorders, especially N and micronutrients. The objectives of this chapter are to review (1) drivers of the shift from puddled transplanting to DSR; (2) overall crop performance, including resource-use efficiencies of DSR; and (3) lessons from countries where DSR has already been widely adopted. Based on the existing evidence, we present an integrated package of technologies for Dry-DSR, including the identification of rice traits associated with the attainment of optimum grain yield with Dry-DSR.
has subject area