Higher yields and less weeding if you transplant rice from a nursery

    | January 20, 2014

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    This week’s story from Ethiopia recommends planting wheat in rows to ease the challenge of weeding. Our script of the week also suggests a best practice to ease weeding, but this time in rice.

    Transplanting is an important agricultural practice for rice, especially lowland and irrigated rice. It involves uprooting young rice seedlings from a nursery or “seedbed” at the 3 or 4-leaf stage (generally about 15 to 21 days old), and transplanting them into a cultivated field. Transplanting reduces the requirement for weeding, reduces the need for irrigation, and requires fewer seeds. At the same time, it gives higher yields. But farmers must follow proper transplanting techniques to achieve success. These techniques are outlined in the script.

    Practices for transplanting from seedbed to field vary from one country to another. For example, some farmers use a long string that is marked at regular intervals. After each line is planted, they move the string to the next row. Farmers often leave 20 centimetres between plants and 20 centimetres between rows. But this depends on the type of cultivation tools available. To reduce the workload, farmers in Zeguesso, in southern Mali, use their feet as a guide when transplanting in rows. The rows aren’t perfectly straight, but farmers say the method is quick and simple.

    This script is presented in two parts. You might want to use them together in one time slot, or separate them into two programs to be aired at different times.