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DSR technique not gaining ground in Punjab

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Major cropping patterns in various parts of the country


Source: Indian express

Context: Despite the Punjab government’s Rs 1,500 per acre incentive to farmers for adopting the DSR method, farmers are returning to the traditional method of puddled transplanting of rice in the majority of the paddy area (87% decline in DSR over last year)

What is DSR?

DSR is the direct seeding of rice in which seeds are sown in the field rather than by transplanting seedlings from the nursery. It aims to sow short-duration and high-yield varieties. It is done through DSR machines which are used for planting seeds of rice directly into the fields.

Why does Punjab incentivise DSR?

  • To save groundwater: Experts say that around 15% to 20% of groundwater can be saved by adopting DSR.

Reasons for the decline in DSR:

  • Lack of power and adequate water: Officials said that this year there were erratic power cuts. Also, canal water was not available in an adequate amount during the sowing time of DSR.
  • Varied results: Both experts and farmers said that the results of the DSR depend on the farmer to farmer and soil types. Some farmers are getting more yield from this method, while some are getting less.
  • Light soils are bad and heavy soils are good for DSR.
  • Lack of technical know-how: The majority of the farmers in the state are still not much well-versed in the technique and after facing huge losses in wheat yield this year, they prefer the assured traditional method, instead of the experimental DSR.
  • Need for weedicide: Though DSR does not need labour, it needs several sprays of weedicides to control weeds. In traditional agriculture, flood irrigation acts as a weedicide.
  • Low incentive: Many farmers complain that the losses due to the adoption of DSR are over 6000 per acre, but the incentive with DSR sowing is just Rs 1,500 per acre.


What should be done:

Experts say DSR won’t help much in saving Punjab’s water: While traditional methods take around 5,000 litres to grow 1 kg of rice, with 15% to 20% water saving DSR will take around 4,000 to 4,200 litres which is also huge.


Haryana Model to save water: Government should adopt the Haryana government model to save groundwater wherein the Haryana government under its scheme “Mera Pani Meri Virasat” is offering Rs 7,000 per acre (along with insurance cover) to the farmers who will shun paddy crop and adopt other alternative crops like fruit and vegetables.

Benefits of DSR

Other methods of Rice cultivation:

  • Transplantation: Seeds are first shown in the nursery and seedlings are transplanted to the main field.
  • Drilling Method: Seeds are put in the soil which has been drilled.
  • System of Rice intensification: It is a farming methodology aimed at increasing the yield of rice produced in farming. It is a low-water, labour-intensive method that uses younger seedlings singly spaced and typically hand weeded with special tools.


Insta Links:

Direct seeding of Rice


Practice Questions:

Q. What is/are the advantage/advantages of zero tillage in agriculture? (UPSC 2020)


Sowing of wheat is possible without burning the residue of the previous crops.

  1. Without the need for a nursery of rice saplings, direct planting of paddy seeds in the wet soil is possible.
  2. Carbon sequestration in the soil is possible.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: D

No-till farming is an agricultural technique for growing crops or pasture without disturbing the soil through tillage. No-till farming decreases the amount of soil erosion tillage causes in certain soils, especially in sandy and dry soils on sloping terrain.

Wheat can be grown without burning residue e.g. using happy seeders. DRS allows direct seeding of rice without the need for transplantation. Carbon sequestration is also possible (Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. )


With reference to the cultivation of Kharif crops in India in the last five years, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2019)

  1. Area under rice cultivation is the highest.
  2. Area under the cultivation of jowar is more than that of oilseeds.
  3. Area of cotton cultivation is more than that of sugarcane.
  4. Area under sugarcane cultivation has steadily decreased.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2, 3 and 4 only

(c) 2 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Answer: A

The question is year specific (take data from economic survey), but do keep watch on the trends of cropping patterns.