This is my 3rd year of learning to grow rice.

The first year by default things went very smoothly & we got a decent harvest of the local variety of rice called ‘taambda saal’. ‘Though we could only cultivate it  in half an acre.

The second year more land was prepared, which meant we had 1.25 acres for paddy cultivation, immense planning had gone into the preparations of the rice fields….. again ‘taambda saal’ grew well, but the seeds which we got from the seed shops were below average.

This year again the ‘taambda saal’ is doing fine, apart from that we also have ‘Kaali saal’ growing. The seeds were from a farmer organisation in Sangamner, Nashik. More seeds were expected from farmer contacts, but they never came & we ended up buying a bag from the seed shop, which again has flopped.

The ‘kaali saal’ is giving me a bit of a scare because the inflorescence has started to come & also its uneven. Whereas the taambda saal is as usual going steady.The plants are nice & tall, ‘though the size & colour of the leafs are only average. The lush growth which i am seeing in the neighbourhood is not visible in our farm. While we prepared the soil, a mix of cow & goat dung, along with top soil sweepings were added on the rice fields, but still it is very obvious to one & all that my rice harvest is going to be below average. There is something missing in the soil. All & sundry has been telling me for the last 3 years to use chemical fertilizers………bhau, tumcha  poora saal cha mehanat fukhat jaanar aahe (your efforts for the whole year is going to go waste).

Now that one can see a same pattern emerging for the last two years & it’s a cause of real worry for me. The type of the soil we have is Laterite soil & in general these soils are rich in iron, and aluminium but poor in nitrogen, potash, potassium, lime and organic matter. Although they are of poor fertility but respond favourably to manuring.

What are the choices that i have ??

1. Continue in the same vein for a few more years till the soil improves in its vitality & settle for low yields till then.

2. Or continue in the same vein for a few more years till the soil improves in its vitality & settle for low yields till then, but do it only in a lesser area like quarter acre

3. Or use a couple of doses of chemical fertilizers like DAP, Urea etc

3. Or stop growing rice & wheat for a few years & allow nature to recharge the fertility requirements & also by growing nitrogen-fixing grasses & shrubs

peace, luuvre & some keys to unlock