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Partially mechanized non-puddled rice establishment: on-farm performance and farmers’ perceptions

Haque, M.E. and Bell, R.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-7756-3755 (2019) Partially mechanized non-puddled rice establishment: on-farm performance and farmers’ perceptions. Plant Production Science, 22 (1). pp. 23-45.

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Transplanting rice (Oryza sativa L.) seedlings into non-puddled soils with minimum soil disturbance (by mechanized strip tillage) is an opportunity to expand Conservation Agriculture (CA) adoption in rice-based cropping systems. However, the farmer acceptance and on-farm profitability of this technology has not been assessed. Here, we analysed farmer-managed non-puddled transplanting (NT) of rice seedlings in paired comparisons with rice seedlings transplanted in puddled (PT) soil. Sixty-six rainfed monsoon (aman) and 84 dry-season irrigated (boro) rice crops were established by NT and compared with paired PT crops during 2013–2015 in north and north-west Bangladesh. Non-puddled fields were prepared by firstly making 40–60-mm-wide tilled strips with a Versatile Multi-crop Planter, then by 18–24-h inundation with water to soften soils in the strip, followed by transplanting seedlings into strips. The NT crops produced similar or significantly greater grain (boro season of 2015) and straw yields than paired PT crops. The minimum soil disturbance NT did not hinder seedling transplanting of rice or increase the total labour costs for transplanting and weeding compared to PT, rather it reduced the cost of production, and increased net benefit for rice in both seasons relative to PT. Under farmer management on a range of soils and in the two main rice-growing seasons, NT performed as well or better than PT suggesting that this is a feasible option for farmers planning to adopt CA in rice-based cropping systems. Over 3 years, farmers’ perception of NT performance shifted from scepticism to mostly favourable.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Crop Science Society of Japan
Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s).
United Nations SDGs: Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
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