Rice Plant – A Complete Guide

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Rice is a cereal belonging to the grass family of Graminae. The rice plant is native to the deltas of the great Asian rivers, the Ganges, the Chang (Yangtze), Tigris, and the Euphrates. The rice plant grows around 2 ft to 6 ft tall. It has a round, jointed stem with long pointed leaves. The edible seeds are borne on the dense head on separate stalks.

The rice plant is one of the most cultivated grain crops in Asian countries. Rice is a staple diet of a significant part of Asia. China and India are the two important centers for rice plant cultivation and consumption. After China, India stands in the second position in the production of rice. 

The methods of growing rice differ significantly in different regions. The traditional hand cultivating and harvesting rice are still practiced in many Asian countries. Modern rice farming has started in most countries, drastically reducing the labor problems and cost of cultivation.

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Now, machines are available from planting to harvesting the rice crop. You can produce Rice bran oil from its husk apart from using it for regular culinary purposes. Several varieties of rice cultivated across the world. With proper field management practices and irrigation facilities, rice farming would be profitable in a short period. 

Health Benefits and Nutrient Values of Rice

The health benefits of rice are as follows.

  • Rice is a good source of energy.
  • It is a cholesterol-free food.
  • Rice helps in blood pressure management.
  • It helps in cancer prevention.
  • It can also help prevent chronic constipation.
  • Rice bran oil supports cardiovascular health.
  • It helps in preventing skin problems.

Rice is an excellent natural source of fiber, calcium, fiber, niacin, vitamin D, Iron, thiamine, and riboflavin.

Climate Requirements for Rice Plant Cultivation

Farmers can grow rice plants under widely varying conditions of altitude and climate. Farmers can cultivate them as high as 3000 m (mean sea level). Rice plant requires humid and hot climatic conditions for their successful cultivation. Rice plant needs regions with abundant water supply, high sweltering, and prolonged sunshine. The ideal temperature required is about 20°C to 40°C. However, it can tolerate temperatures up to 42°C.

Soil Requirement for Rice plant Cultivation

Farmers can cultivate rice plants on various soils such as silts, loams, and gravel. It can also tolerate acidic and alkaline soils. Loamy soils or the deep fertile (rich in organic matter) clayey or loamy soils are ideal for growing rice plants. Moreover, the soil can easily be puddled into the mud and develop cracks in drying conditions. These types of soils are considered to be ideal for growing rice crops. Propagation is done through seeds.

Cultivation Methods in Rice plant Farming

There are basically four methods of cultivation in rice plant farming.

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  • Broadcasting method: Seeds are sewn by hand in this method. This technique is suitable in areas where the soil is not fertile and the land is dry. This method requires minimum inputs and labor. This technique produces a meagre yield as compared to other sowing methods.
  • Drilling method: This method involves ploughing of land, and the sowing of seeds can be carried out by two persons. The farmers in the Indian peninsula generally follow this method of sowing.
  • The transplantation method is the most commonly practiced method in regions where the soil has good fertility and abundant rainfall or irrigation. You sow the paddy seeds in nursery beds in this method. Once the seeds germinate, you can uproot the seedlings  and transplant them in the main field. This will happen after five weeks. This method requires heavy labor and inputs. This method gives the best yields.
  • Japanese method: High-yielding varieties are included in this method, and it requires a heavy dosage of fertilizers. Subsequently, the seeds are sown on raised nursery beds. The seedlings transplantation occurs in rows. Weeding and fertigation are carried out as per schedule. This method has been successfully adopted for high-yielding hybrid crops.

Seed Selection in Rice Plant Cultivation

Seed selection in rice plant cultivation plays a significant role in getting a good yield. The choice of the best quality seeds to raise healthy seedlings.

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You must follow the below mentioned steps while selecting the seeds for quality.

  • You must select the seed belonging to  improved high-yielding variety.
  • The farmer should select a fully matured, and plump in size seed.
  • It must be clean and free from mixtures of other seeds.
  • You must select a seed that must be free from signs of age or bad storage.
  • The selected seed should have a high germinating capacity for getting higher yields.

Note: Before sowing the seeds in the field, they should be treated with fungicides to protect them from soil-born fungi disease and boost the seedlings.

Seed Treatment in Rice Plant Cultivation

You must treat the seeds  with Agrosan @ 100 gm/50 Kg of seeds for preventing seed-borne diseases. The farmer should soak the untreated high-yielding rice varieties for 12 hours in a solution of ceresin (0.1%). After this, make sure to thoroughly dry in the shade before sowing in the field or nursery bed.

Land Preparation, Sowing in Rice Plant Cultivation

Basically, the dry and semi-dry methods of cultivation depends on rains. It does not depend on any other  additional irrigation facilities. On the contrary, in wet cultivation system, the rice crop has assured and abundant water supply. This water source can be  either rain or irrigation systems.

  • Dry and Semi-dry system: for this system of rice crop, the field should have good tilth that the farmer can achieve by giving a couple of ploughings & harrowing. You must supplement the field with farmyard manure /compost uniformly two to four weeks before sowing or planting. The farmer should sow the seeds by broadcasting or drilling, and line sowing would help in weeding and intercultural operations. The row to row spacing in the case of the drill sowing method is 20 cm to 25 cm.
  • Wet system: When following the wet system method, the land should be ploughed thoroughly and puddled with 3cm to 5 cm of standing water in the field. The ideal depth of puddling in clay soils and clay-loamy soils is 10 cm. The farmer should level the land after puddling to facilitate a uniform distribution of water and fertilizers. The farmer should sow paddy seeds after sprouting or transplant rice seedlings in the main field.

Seed Rate in Rice Plant Cultivation

The seed rate is dependant on the variety and method used. The seed rate for direct sowing by dibbling is 70 to 75 Kg/ha, whereas broadcasting is 90 to 100 Kg/ha. Consequently, you must use viable and well-filled seeds.  Moreover, you must reject the  lighter seeds that float on a solution of common salt.

Irrigation in Rice Plant Cultivation

With water scarcity becoming a significant issue in agriculture, studies are already drip irrigation for paddy cultivation. The rice intensification “SRI” method uses around 120 to 150 lakhs liters per hectare to produce 7 tones of rice. In the initial period, the paddy field requires an abundant water supply, especially in wetlands. Subsequently, the farmer should reduce the water supply periodically before harvesting the crop.

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Intercultural Operations in Rice Plant Cultivation

In rice cultivation, you must prefer mechanical or manual weeding methods. You must ensure that the  rice fields remain weed-free up to 45 days after sowing the seeds. You must carry out the weeding with a hoe or rotary-weeders.

Fertilizers and Manures in Rice Plant Cultivation

As rice plants respond very well to manure and fertilizers, it is essential to fo for proper manures and paddy cultivation.

  • Farmyard manure/Compost: 10 to 15 cartloads.
  • Nitrogen: 100 to 150 Kg/Ha.
  • Phosphorous: 50 to 60 Kg P2O5/Ha.
  • Potash: 40 to 50 Kg KO/Ha.
  • Zinc Sulphate: 25 Kg/Ha.

Bottom Line

Harvesting on time is essential for avoiding the shedding of grains in rice farming. The later stage of grain ripening is a process of dehydration. When you withdraw the water from the field at the hardening stage of the rice plant yield, the rice matured faster. Consequently, for early or medium varieties, harvesting must be done 26 to 30 days post flowering.

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Similarly, for tall types harvesting should be done 36 to 40 days post flowering. Therefore, paddy fields must be harvested when the moisture content of the rice grain is 20 to 25 percent. Post harvesting, gradual drying should be carried out in the shed for better recovery. Consequently, the yield depends on variety, soil type, cultivation method, and farm management practices. With good sort, the farmer can achieve an average gain of 2500 kg/ha. 

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