Short season rice varieties allow third crop cultivation in Faridpur, Bangladesh
Rice is the dominant food crop of Bangladesh. In Faridpur region, growing Aman Rice followed by Boro Rice is a popular cropping pattern. The time between Aman rice harvest in December and Boro Rice transplanting in February is not sufficient to grow a crop and therefore the land remains unused for two months. Replacing traditional Aman rice varieties with varieties which mature 30 days earlier without significant yield loss would allow farmers to grow a short season crop such as oil seed mustard between the Aman and Boro rice crops. Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia in Bangladesh (CSISA-BD) has been working in Faridpur region from its inception to introduce oil seed mustard. Farmers were initially reluctant to adopt this crop as they feared cultivating a third crop would delay the transplanting of the Boro rice. Therefore, to popularize this third crop, CSISA-BD conducted field demonstrations in 34 farmers’ field at Faridpur Sadar and NagarkandaUpazilas showcasing Aman-Mustard-Boro cropping patterns compared with an Aman-Boro cropping pattern. In the demonstration plots, short duration mustard verities Tori-7, BARI Sarisha 14 and BARI Sarisha 15 were grown after new short duration Aman rice varieties such as BBRI Dhan49 and Bina Dhan7. To save time the mustard was sown onto the wet paddy soils just before the harvest of the aman rice crop. By the time the aman crop was harvested, the mustard seed had germinated and the crop was established. Using conventional tillage systems would have required delaying sowing the mustard seed after the harvest of the rice crop and after the rice fields had dried out sufficiently to allow power tillers to till the land. The two or three passes of the power tiller required to achieve a fine enough tilth for mustard seed sowing would have further delayed planting. By using this relay system at least 20 days are saved which is vital if the mustard crop is to be harvested before the optimal time for Boro rice transplanting. Since it is not necessary to hire power tillers to prepare the land for mustard seed sowing and the system takes advantage of residual moisture from the rice crop to induce mustard seed germination, this eliminates most land preparation and irrigation costs. The yield and production costs from the demonstration plots were carefully collected by the Faridpur team and showed that farmers earned an extra $316 / ha from the plots growing the best yielding mustard, BARI Sarisha 14. This variety produced 0.94 t/ha grain in 80 days. The demonstrations showed farmers that by planting early maturing, high yielding aman rice varieties it was possible to grow a dry season cash earner such as oil seed mustard without delaying boro rice transplanting and as a result many farmers are now adopting this cropping system.
Tags: Aman-boro cropping pattern, CSISA Bangladesh, Mustard crop