Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Rice Crop Manager helps farmers increase harvest through planting in healthy soil

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), with support from the Department of Agriculture (Government of Odisha), is implementing a 5-year project that aims to increase the productivity and income of farmers in 30 districts of Odisha, using cutting-edge, scientific agricultural technologies and innovative delivery systems. 
To achieve said goals, five key areas of impact were identified -- Strengthening seed systems; Efficient management of rice fallows; Raising productivity & profitability for farmers using Rice Crop Manager (RCM) by more efficient use of inputs; Enhancing farmer access to knowledge and technologies through Rice Knowledge Bank (RKB) and Rice Doctor; and satellite-based rice crop monitoring for seamless claim settlement using geographic information systems and science-based crop insurance. 

As part of celebrating World Soil Day 2018, IRRI and the Department of Agriculture, Government of Odisha organised a crop cut and field-day in a farmer’s field selected under the Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI) scheme. The event was held in Cuttack district where 13 soil and agri-scientists, academicians, senior leaders from Odisha government with 55 farmers participated. 
Agri-extension officials from Department of Agriculture commended IRRI for interventions in rice and rice-based agriculture in Odisha and highlighted the importance of planting in healthy soil and advocating for sustainable management of soil resources. “Use of balanced nutrients along with stress-tolerant varieties are the two key factors for improving production and productivity in rice crop” said Kailash Chandra Samantaray, a senior agri-extension officer from the government. In the field day, participants compared yields and crop management practices between farmer’s practice plot and RCM-intervention plots.  Farmers present were provided RCM recommendations for their crops and encouraged to implement these for the next Rabi season. 
The crop-cut demonstrated the impact of using Rice Crop Manager (RCM), a tool developed by IRRI that facilitates crop management decision-making logic, to help in effective nutrient-advisory practise. RCM provides recommendations on major (NPK) and minor nutrient (Zn) applications needed in farmer plots. These recommendations are customised to farmer and plot needs based on parameters like season, variety being grown and target yield that the farmer is aiming for. RCM advisories result in providing solutions by way of balanced and efficient fertilizer applications in fields, leading to cost savings, better economic returns and overall sustainable farming. 
World Soil Day was first adopted as a resolution, proposed by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) in 2002, and since, is celebrated annually on 5th December to highlight the importance of soil as a critical component of our ecosystem and overall well-being. 
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