Integrating Mechanical Weeding and Planting for Reduced Labour Input in Paddy Rice under System of Rice Intensification (SRI)

The most notable [SRI benefits] are savings on water use and increase in yield. Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) has also paved way for mechanical weed control in paddy fields. One of the major constraints to adoption of SRI is the perceived increased labour input due to the careful transplanting and frequent weed control. This paper evaluates the effect of mechanization on labour input in SRI in comparison to the less mechanized farmer practice. In attempt to reduce drudgery in transplanting under SRI, the drum seeder was used to establish the rice crop by direct seeding. This was then followed by using SRI practices i.e. AWD and mechanical weeding. Direct seeding using a drum seeder was compared to transplanting in both SRI and the common farmer practice. Hand weeding was also evaluated and compared to mechanical weeding. Labour input cost was also compared to the income accrued from the yields. From the study, it was noted that direct seeding using the drum seeder reduced labour input by 97% compared to transplanting. This was possible in that in direct seeding, and there was no nursery preparation and management as in transplanting. The use of a mechanical weeder reduced labour input by 28.3% in relation to hand weeding. Labour input cost for SRI was cheaper (Kshs. 124,080 per hectare) compared to the common farmer practice (Kshs. 139,117.50 per hectare). There was more yield from the SRI practice (2.75 Ton/ha) compared to the common farmer practice (1.88 Ton/ha).

Integrating Mechanical Weeding and Planting for Reduced Labour Input in Paddy Rice under System of Rice Intensification (SRI) https://www.scirp.org/Journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=90555