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Complete information about Rice

Cereals October 17, 2015

Cultivation of Rice: Complete guide on Rice farming involves in seed treatment, planting, pest management, irrigation, harvesting and benefits.

Scientific name of Rice  (Oryza sativa l.):

Rice is the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima. As a cereal grain, it is the most widely consumed staple food for a large part of the world’s human population, especially in Asia.


Nursery area:
Select 20 cents (800 m2) of land area near to water source for raising seedlings for one hectare.
Seed rate:

  • 30 kg for long duration
  • 40 kg for medium duration
  • 60 kg for short duration varieties and
  • 20 kg for hybrids
Rice Seeds

Rice Seeds

Seed treatment:

  • Treat the seeds in Carbendazim or Pyroquilon or Tricyclozole solution at 2 g/l of water for 1 kg of seeds. Soak the seeds in water for 10 hrs and drain excess water.
  • This wet seed treatment gives protection to the seedlings up to 40 days from seedling disease such as blast and this method is better than dry seed treatment.
  • If the seeds are required for sowing immediately, keep the soaked seed in gunny in dark and cover with extra gunnies and leave for 24hrs for sprouting.
  • Seed treatment with Pseudomonas fluorescens: Treat the seeds with talc based formulation of Pseudomonas fluorescens 10g/kg of seed and soak in 1lit of water overnight. Decant the excess water and allow the seeds to sprout for 24hrs and then sow.
  • Seed treatment with Azospirillum: Three packets (600 g/ha) of Azospirillum and 3 packets (600g/ha) of Phosphobacteria or 6 packets (1200g/ha)of Azophos. In bioinoculants mixed with sufficient water wherein the seeds are soaked overnight before sowing in the nursery bed (The bacterial suspension after decanting may be poured over the nursery area itself).
  • Biocontrol agents are compatible with biofertilizers
  • Biofertilizers and biocontrol agents can be mixed together for seed soaking
  • Fungicides and biocontrol agents are incompatible.

Forming Seedbeds:

  • Mark plots of 2.5m breadth with channels 30cm wide all around the seedbeds.
  • Length of the seed bed may vary from 8 to 10m according to soil and slope of the land.
  • Collect the puddled soil from the channel and spread on the seedbeds or drag a heavy stone along the channel to lower it, so that the seed bed is at a higher level.
  • Level the surface of the seedbed, so that the water drains into the channel.

Sow the sprouted seeds uniformly on the seedbed, having thin film of water in the nursery.
Water Management:

  • Drain the water 18 to 24hrs after sowing
  • Care must be taken to avoid stagnation of water in any part of the seedbed.
  • Allow enough water to saturate the soil from 3rd to 5th day. From 5th day onwards, increase the water depth to 1.5cm depending on the height of the seedlings.
  • Thereafter maintain 2.5cm depth of water.

Weed Management:

  • Apply any one of the pre-emergence herbicides viz., Pretilachlor + safener 0.3kg/ha, on 3rd or 4th day after sowing to control weeds in the lowland nursery.  Keep a thin film of water and allow it to disappear.  Avoid drainage of water.  This will control germinating weeds.
  • Butachlor 2.0 l/ha (or) Pendimethalin 2.5 l/ha (or) Anilophos 1.25 l/ha. Herbicides should be applied on 8 DAS with thin layer of water in the field.
Weeds removing in rice field

Weeds removing in rice field

Apply pre-emergence herbicides

Apply pre-emergence herbicides viz., Pretilachlor + safener 0.3kg/ha, on 3rd or 4th day after sowing to control weeds in the lowland nursery.
Nutrient management:

  • Apply 1tonne of fully decomposed FYM or compost to 20cents nursery and spread the manure uniformly on dry soil.
  • Basal application of DAP is recommended when the seedlings are to be pulled out in 20-25 days after sowing in less fertile nursery soils.
  • For that situation, before the last puddling, apply 40kg of DAP and if not readily available, apply straight fertilizers 16kg of urea and 120kg of super phosphate.
  • If seedlings are to be pulled out after 25 days, application of DAP is to be done 10 days prior to pulling out.
  • For clayey soils where root snapping is a problem, 4kg of gypsum and 1kg of DAP/cent can be applied at 10 days after sowing.

Dry nursery:

  • Dry ploughed field with fine tilth is required.
  • Nursery area with sand and loamy soil status is more suitable for this type of nursery.
  • Area 20cents.
  • Plots of 1 to 1.5 m width of beds and channels may be formed. Length may be according to the slope and soil.
  • Raised beds are more ideal if the soil is clayey in nature.
  • Seed rate and seed treatment as that of wet nursery.
  • Sowing may be dry seeding. Seeds may be covered with sand and finely powdered well decomposed farm yard manure.
  • Irrigation may be done to wet the soil to saturation.
  • Optimum age for transplanting – 4th leaf stage
  • This type of nursery is handy in times of delayed receipt of canal water.

Land preparation:

  • Plough the land during summer to economize the water requirement for initial preparation of land.
  •  Flood the field 1 or 2 days before ploughing and allow water to soak in. Keep the surface of the field covered with water.
  •  Keep water to a depth of 2.5cm at the time of puddling.
Paddy Land preparation

Paddy Land preparation

Special technologies for problem soils:

  • For fluffy paddy soils: compact the soil by passing 400kg stone roller or oil-drum with stones inside, eight times at proper moisture level (moisture level at friable condition of soil which is approximately 13 to18%) once in three years, to prevent the sinking of draught animals and workers during puddling.
  • For sodic soils with pH values of more than 8.5, plough at optimum moisture regime, apply gypsum at 50% gypsum requirement uniformly, impound water, provide drainage for leaching out soluble salts and apply green leaf manure at 5 t/ha, 10 to 15 days before transplanting. Mix 37.5kg of Zinc sulphate per ha with sand to make a total quantity of 75kg and spread the mixture uniformly on the leveled field. Do not incorporate the mixture in the soil. Rice under sodic soil responds well to these practices.
  • For saline soils with EC values of more than 4 dS/m, provide lateral and main drainage channels (60cm deep and 45cm wide), apply green leaf manure at 5 t/ha at 10 to 15 days before transplanting and 25% extra dose of nitrogen in addition to recommended P and K and ZnSo4 at 37.5 kg/ha at planting
  • For acid soils apply lime based on the soil analysis for obtaining normal rice yields. Lime is applied 2.5t/ha before last ploughing. Apply lime at this rate to each crop up to the 5th crop.
Sowing Rice

Sowing Rice

Rice Seedlings

Rice Seedlings

Optimum age of seedlings for quick establishment:

Optimum age of the seedlings is 18-22 days for short, 25-30 days for medium and 35-40 days for long duration varieties.

Pulling out the seedlings:

  •   Pull out the seedlings at the appropriate time (4th leaf stage).
  • Pulling at 3rd leaf stage is also possible. These seedlings can produce more tillers, provided enough care taken during the establishment phase (See section 1.8 Integrated Crop Management (ICM) – Rice-SRI) through thin film of water management and perfect leveling of main field.
  • Transplanting after 5th and higher order leaf numbers will affect the performance of the crop and grain yield. Then they are called as ‘aged seedlings’. Special package is needed to minimize the grain yield loss while planting those aged seedlings.
Pulling out the seedlings

Pulling out the seedlings

Root dipping:

  • Prepare the slurry with 5 packets (1000 g)/ha of Azospirillum and 5 packets (1000g/ha) of Phosphobacteria or 10 packets of (2000g/ha) of Azophos inoculant in 40 lit. of water and dip the root portion of the seedlings for 15 – 30 minutes in bacterial suspension and transplant.

Planting seedlings in the main field:

  • Transplant 2-3 seedlings/hill for short duration and 2 seedlings/hill for medium and long duration varieties
  • Shallow planting (3 cm) ensures quick establishment and more tillers.
  • Deeper planting (> 5cm) leads to delayed establishment and reduced tillers.
  • Line planting permits rotary weeding and its associated benefits.
  • Allow a minimum row spacing of 20 cm to use rotary weeder.
  • Fill up the gaps between 7th and 10th DAT.
Planting seedlings in the main field

Planting seedlings in the main field

Management of Aged seedlings*
* Which developed tillers / underwent node elongation in the nursery itself and
* About half of its leaf producing capacity may be already over.

  • Follow the spacing recommended to medium and low fertility soil.
  • Plant one or two seedlings per hill.
  • Avoid cluster planting of aged seedlings, which are hindering the formation of new tillers.
  • New tillers alone are capable of producing normal harvestable panicle. Weak panicle may appear in the mother culm within three weeks after transplanting and vanishes well before harvest.
  • To encourage the tiller production, enhance the basal N application by 50% from the recommended and thereafter follow the normal schedule recommended for other stages.

Gap filling:

  • Fill the gaps if any within 7 – 10 days after planting.

Nutrient management:
Application of organic manures:

  • Apply 12.5 t of FYM or compost or green leaf manure @ 6.25 t/ha.
  • If green manure is raised @ 20 kg /ha in situ, incorporate it to a depth of 15 cm using a green manure trampler or tractor.
  • In the place of green manure, press-mud / composted coir-pith can also be used.

Stubble incorporation:

  • Apply 22 kg urea / ha at the time of first puddling while incorporating the stubbles of previous crop to compensate immobilization of N by the stubbles.
  • This may be done at least 10 days prior to planting of subsequent crop.  This recommendation is more suitable for double crop wetlands, wherein, the second crop is transplanted in succession with short turn around period.

Biofertilizer application:

  • Broadcast 10 kg of soil based powdered BGA flakes at 10 DAT for the dry season crop. Maintain a thin film of water for multiplication.
  • Raise azolla as a dual crop by inoculating 250 kg/ha 3 to 5 DAT and then incorporate during weeding for the wet season crop.
  • Mix 10 packets (2000 g)/ha of Azospirillum and 10 packets (2000g/ha)of Phosphobacteria or 20 packets (4000g/ha) of Azophos inoculants with 25 kg FYM and 25 kg of soil and broadcast the mixture uniformly in the main field before transplanting and
  • Pseudomonas fluorescens (Pf 1) at 2.5 kg/ha mixed with 50 kg FYM and 25 kg of soil and broadcast the mixture uniformly before transplanting.

Application of inorganic fertilizers:

  • Apply fertilizer nutrients  as per soil test recommendations
  • N dose may be through Leaf Color Chart (LCC)
  • P & K may be through Site Specific Nutrition Management by Omission plot technique.

Split application of N and K:

  • Apply N and K in four equal splits viz., basal, tillering, panicle initiation and heading stages.
  • Tillering and Panicle initiation periods are crucial and should not be reduced with the recommended quantity.
  • N management through LCC may be adopted wherever chart is available as given below.

N management through LCC:

  • Time of application is decided by LCC score
  • Take observations from 14 DAT in transplanted rice or 21 DAS in direct seeded rice.
  • Repeat the observations  at weekly intervals up to heading
  • Observe the leaf colour in the fully opened third leaf from the top as index leaf.
  • Match the leaf color with the colours in the chart during morning hours (8-10 am).
  • Take observation in 10 places.
  • LCC critical value is 3.0 in low N response cultures like White Ponni and 4.0 in other cultivars and hybrids
  • When 6/10 observations show less than the critical colour value, N can be applied as per the following recommendation : Application of 25 kg N ha-1 (1 bag urea) at 7 DAT followedby N @ 40 kg ha-1 each time for kuruvai/ short duration rice / 30 kg ha-1 each time for medium & long duration rice as and when the leaf colour value falls below the critical value of 4 for varieties and hybrids and critical value of 3 for white ponni, monitored from 14 DAT.
  • For aged seedlings : Basal application of 35 kg N per ha is recommended to avoid yield loss when seedlings aged 35 – 45 days are used for transplanting and the LCC based N management can be followed from 14 DAT.

Application of P fertilizer:

  • P may be applied as basal and incorporated.
  • When the green manure is applied, rock phosphate can be used as a cheap source of P fertilizer. If rock phosphate is applied, the succeeding rice crop need not be supplied with  P. Application of rock phosphate + single super phosphate or DAP mixed in different proportions (75:25 or 50:50) is equally effective as SSP or DAP alone.

Application of zinc sulphate:

  • Apply 25 kg of zinc sulphate mixed with 50 kg dry sand just before transplanting.
  • It is enough to apply 12.5 kg zinc sulphate /ha, if green manure (6.25 t/ha) or enriched FYM, is applied.
  • If deficiency symptom appears, foliar application of 0.5% Zinc sulphate + 1.0% urea can be given at 15 days interval until the Zn deficiency symptoms disappear.

Application of gypsum:
Apply 500 kg of gypsum/ha (as source of Ca and S nutrients) at last ploughing.
Foliar nutrition:
Foliar spray of 1% urea + 2% DAP + 1% KCl at PI and 10 days later for all varieties.

Nutrient deficiency / toxicity symptoms:

  • Nitrogen deficiency: Plants become stunted and yellow in appearance first on lower leaves. In case of severe deficiency the leaves will turn brown and die. Deficiency symptoms first appear at the leaf-tip and progress along the midrib until the entire leaf is dead.
  • Potassium deficiency: Bluish green leaves – when young, older leaves irregular.  Chlorotic and necrotic areas – grain formation is poor – weakening of the straw which results in lodging.
  • Magnesium deficiency: Leaves are chlorotic with white tips.
  • Iron toxicity: Brown spots on the lower leaves starting from tips and proceeding to the leaf base and turns into green or orange purple leaves and spreading to the next above leaves.
  • Zinc deficiency: Lower leaves have chlorotic particularly towards the base. Deficient plants give a brown rusty appearance.
  • Copper deficiency: Leaves develop chlorotic streaks on either side of the midrib and appearance of dark brown necrotic lesions on leaf tips. Unfolding of the new leaves will also be seen.

Neem treated urea and coal-tar treated urea:
Blend the urea with crushed neem seed or neem cake 20% by weight. Powder neem cake to pass through 2mm sieve before mixing with urea. Keep it overnight before use (or) urea can be mixed with gypsum in 1:3 ratios, or urea can be mixed with gypsum and neem cake at 5:4:1 ratio to increase the nitrogen use efficiency.  For treating 100 kg urea, take one kg coal-tar and 1.5 litres of kerosene. Melt coal-tar over a low flame and dissolve it in kerosene. Mix urea with the solution thoroughly in a plastic container, using a stick.  Allow it to dry in shade on a polythene sheet. This can be stored for a month and applied basally.

Neem treated urea and coal-tar treated urea

Neem treated urea and coal-tar treated urea

N management through LCC:

For sodic soil:
In the case of sodic soils, LCC critical value is 4.0 for varieties and 5.0 for the hybrids.

Other special cultural practices (Contingent Plan):
Application of Pink Pigmented Facultative Methylotroph (Methylobacterium sp.) as seed treatment (@ 200 g / 10 kg seeds), soil application (@ 2 kg / ha) and foliar spray (@ 500 ml / ha) at panicle initiation and flag leaf stages for alleviation of water stress effects in both SRI and transplanted system of rice cultivation

 Weed management:

  • Use of rotary weeder from 15 DAT at 10 days interval. It saves labour for weeding, aerates the soil and root zone, prolongs the root activity, and improves the grain filling though efficient translocation and ultimately the grain yield.
  • Cultural practices like dual cropping of rice-azolla, and rice-green manure (described in wet seeded rice section 2.5 & 2.6 of this chapter) reduces the weed infestation to a greater extent.
  • Summer ploughing and cultivation of irrigated dry crops during post-rainy periods reduces the weed infestation.

Pre-emergence herbicides:

  • Use Butachlor 1.25kg/ha or Anilophos 0.4kg/ha as pre-emergence application. Alternatively, pre-emergence application of herbicide mixture viz., Butachlor 0.6kg + 2,4 DEE 0.75kg/ha,  or Anilophos + 2, 4 DEE ‘ready-mix’ at 0.4kg/ha followed by one hand weeding on 30 – 35 DAT will have a broad spectrum of weed control.
  • Any herbicide has to be mixed with 50kg of dry sand on the day of application (3 – 4 DAT) and applied uniformly to the field with thin film water on the 3rd DAT. Water should not be drained for next 2 days from the field (or) fresh irrigation should not be given.
  • Pre- emergence application of pretilachor at 1.0 kg a.i. ha-1 on 3 DAT + weeding with Twin row rotary weeder at 40 DAT.
  • PE Pyrazosulfuron ethyl 10 % WP @ 150 g ha-1 on 3 DAT + hand weeding (HW) on 45 DAT.
  • PE butachlor 0.75 kg a.i. ha-1 + bensulfuron methyl 50 g ha-1 on 3 DAT + HW on 45 DAT.
  • PE Oxadiazon 87.5 g a.i. ha-1  followed by Post emergence (POE) 2,4-D 1 kg a.i. ha-1 along with hand weeding on 35 DAT.
  • PE butachlor 0.75 kg per hectare + bensulfuron methyl 50 g ha-1 on 3 DAT followed by mechanical weeding on 45 DAT is effective for broad spectrum weed control.
  • Crop growth and yield were enhanced by butachlor 1.2 + 2,4-DEE 1.5 lit ha-1 with 100% inorganic nitrogen.
  • Conventional tillage of one dry ploughing and two passes of cage wheel puddling combined with pre-emergence application of butachlor at 1.25 kg ha-1 under lowland situation.
  • Stale bed preparation by pre-puddling minimum tillage with glyphosate combine with post-plant pre emergence butachlor 1.25 kg ha-1 resulted in increased rice grain yield, net income and B: C ratio in rice-rice cropping.
Herbicide mixed with 50kg of dry sand

Herbicide mixed with 50kg of dry sand

Post – emergence herbicides:

  • If pre-emergence herbicide application is not done, hand weeding has to be done on 15th DAT.
  • 2,4-D sodium salt (Fernoxone 80% WP) 1.25 kg/ha dissolved in 625 litres with a high volume sprayer, three weeks after transplanting or when the weeds are in 3 – 4 leaf stage.
  • Early post emergence application of Bispyripac sodium 50 g a.i. ha-1 (2-3 leaf stage of weeds) + Hand weeding on 45 DAT.

 Water management:

Water Management in Transplanted Rice

Water Management in Transplanted Rice

  • Puddling and leveling minimizes the water requirement
  • Plough with tractor drawn cage wheel to reduce percolation losses and to save water requirement up to 20%.
  • Maintain 2.5cm of water over the puddle and allow the green manure to decompose for a minimum of 7 days in the case of less fibrous plants like sunnhemp and 15 days for more fibrous green manure plants like Kolinchi (Tephrosia purpurea).
  • At the time of transplanting, a shallow depth of 2cm of water is adequate since high depth of water will lead to deep planting resulting in reduction of tillering.
  • Maintain 2 cm of water up to seven days of transplanting.
  • After the establishment stage, cyclic submergence of water (as in table) is the best practice for rice crop. This cyclic 5cm submergence has to be continued throughout the crop period.
  • Moisture stress due to inadequate water at rooting and tillering stage causes poor root growth leading to reduction in tillering, poor stand and low yield.
  • Critical stages of water requirement in rice are a) panicle initiation, b) booting, c) heading and d) flowering. During these stages, the irrigation interval should not exceed the stipulated time so as to cause the depletion of moisture below the saturation level.
  • During booting and maturity stages continuous inundation of 5cm and above leads to advancement in root decay and leaf senescence, delay in heading and reduction in the number of filled grains per panicle and poor harvest index.
  • Provide adequate drainage facilities to drain excess water or strictly follow irrigation schedule of one day after disappearance of ponded water.  Last irrigation may be 15 days ahead of harvest.

Precautions for irrigation:

  • The field plot can be 25 to 50 cents depending on the source of irrigation.
  • Field to field irrigation should be avoided. Field should be irrigated individually from a channel.
  • Small bund may be formed parallel to the main bund of the field at a distance of 30 to 45cm within the field to avoid leakages of water through main bund crevices.
  • To minimize percolation loss, the depth of stagnated water should be 5cm or less.
  • In water logged condition, form open drains, about 60cm in depth and 45cm width across the field.
  • Care should be taken not to allow development of cracks.
  • In canal command area, conjunctive use of surface and ground water may be resorted to for judicious use of water.
  • In double cropped wetland of command area, raise groundnut / pulse in the place of Kuruvai rice if water is a constraint or go for rice cultivation as described in 5. Dry Seeded Irrigated Un-Puddled Lowland Rice.


Harvesting Paddy Fields

Harvesting Paddy Fields

  • Taking the average duration of the crop as an indication, drain the water from the field 7 to 10 days before the expected harvest date as draining hastens maturity and improves harvesting conditions.
  • When 80% of the panicles turn straw colour, the crop is ready for harvest.  Even at this stage, the leaves of some of the varieties may remain green.
  • Confirm maturity by selecting the most mature tiller and dehusk a few grains. If the rice is clear and firm, it is in hard dough stage.
  • When most of the grains at the base of the panicle in the selected tiller are in a hard dough stage, the crop is ready for harvest. At this stage harvest the crop, thresh and winnow the grains.
  • Dry the grains to 12% moisture level for storage. Grain yield in rice is estimated only at 14% moisture for any comparison.
  • Maturity may be hastened by 3-4 days by spraying 20% NaCl a week before harvest to escape monsoon rains.


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