New rice variety developed for water-logged areas

The variety, christened "CR Dhan-501", was developed at the Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) here in Orissa. It can withstand static water-logging of up to 50-75 cm of water depth. The rice variety is expected to be notified soon.

The seeds provided to select rice farmers all over the country for testing exhibited yield superiority over the seeds recommended for existing semi-deep ecologies, CRRI Director Tapan Kumar Adhya told IANS in an interview.

"During the test and development periods that lasted for about five years we saw it withstood static water-logging of up to 50-75 centimetres water depth" he said.
"It also delivered a desired yield potential of 4 tonne per hectare with a duration of 155-160 days which was more than the existing variety," Adhya said.

He said the new variety is superior in yield to rice varieties grown under similar ecological situation. It is moderately resistant to leaf blast.

"It also has good morphological features for submergence and grain quality."

In India, around three million hactares are under similar type of submergence in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam and Orissa. Due to water-logging the production loss range about 30 per cent depending upon the degree of submergence.

"But we can safely put a saving in at least 50 per cent yield in those submergence affected areas where the new variety is targeted," Adhya said.

Uttar Pradesh, one of India's major rice growing states contributes about 21 percent to the national production of food grain. Currently, the variety may cover around one million hactares in this state where semi-deep situation exist, he said.

India produced 99.5 million tonnes of rice during 2008-09, but in the subsequent year the yield was affected due to unprecedented drought.

As the country aimed to produce 130 million tonnes of rice by 2025 to feed its growing population, climate resilient varieties like the latest one are likely to help farmers to boost productions.

The new variety with good potential to give high yield under adverse conditions will support the initiative of the country to feed its hungry millions in the face of climatic onslaught, Adhya said.

Since its inception in April 1946, CRRI has released 73 rice varieties for different ecologies.

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