IARI trying higher yield in short-duration rice varieties to stop stubble burning
Stubble burning by farmers in Punjab and other parts significantly contributes to air pollution in north India during winters
New Delhi: To prevent stubble burning in Punjab, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) on Monday said it is trying a breeding programme to get higher yield in the short-duration rice varieties to help farmers easily shift from the long-duration PUSA-44 variety.
Stubble burning by farmers in Punjab and other parts significantly contributes to air pollution in north India during winters.
Speaking to PTI, IARI director AK Singh said stubble burning in Punjab is because long-duration paddy varieties, especially PUSA-44, are grown in the state, which matures in 155 days, offering less time for crop residue management.
While IARI’s short-duration varieties -- PR126, Pusa Basmati-1509, Pusa Basmati-1692 -- that matures in 120 days are released in Punjab, it has been taken up in only 5-6 lakh hectares out of the total paddy area of 31 lakh hectares in the state.
“It is because PUSA-44 variety gives a yield of 8 tonnes per hectare. If duration is reduced by a month, yield loss is one tonne per hectare, meaning a loss of about ₹20,000 per hectares to farmers as against a long-duration variety,” he said.
Singh said the farmers’ perception of incurring loss from growing a short-duration variety does not hold true when the economics of growing these varieties are evaluated by taking into account various inputs and operations.
Growing a short-duration variety not only gives the farmers 25 days time to manage the stubble but also save irrigation water and input cost, he added.
Short-duration paddy varieties are ready for harvesting in mid-September or October-end, providing one month window to prepare the fields for wheat sowing. Whereas the long-duration paddy varieties are harvested in October-end or first week of November.