Notes to broadcasters
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Transplanting is a valuable cultural practice for rice in the lowlands. It is especially recommended for lowland and irrigated rice. It involves uprooting young rice seedlings from a nursery (also known as a ‘seedbed’), at the 3 or 4-leaf stage (generally about 15 to 21 days old), and transplanting them into a cultivated field. This practice requires less irrigation, less weeding and fewer seeds, yet at the same time provides higher yields. However, farmers need to follow proper transplanting techniques to achieve success, and these are outlined in the following radio program.
Ways of transplanting from seedbed to field vary from one country to another. For example, some farmers use a long string that is marked at regular intervals. After each line is planted they move the string to the next row. Farmers often leave 20 centimetres between plants and 20 centimetres between rows. This depends on the type of cultivation tools available. To reduce the workload, farmers in Zeguesso, in the south of Mali, use their feet as a guide when transplanting in rows. The rows aren’t perfectly straight, but the farmers say that this method is quick and simple.
The following script is presented in two parts. You might want to use them together in one time slot, or separate them into two programs to be aired at different times.
Signature tune to introduce program
Good day dear FM listeners. Transplanting rice is a farming method used in the lowlands. It is highly recommended for irrigated rice, because it gives higher yields and makes weeds easier to manage. It involves transplanting rice seedlings that have 3 or 4 leaves from a nursery, also called a seedbed, into a specially prepared plot of land. The following program tells the story of two farmers who are learning about transplanting techniques.
Birds chirping, other sounds of the countryside
Hello Codjo. I see you’re just arriving back from the field.
Greetings Sam. Yes, I went to see my rice plots…a very good harvest…the best in years.
(surprised) Really? I’m disappointed with my yields.
Did you transplant from a nursery?
No, I sowed my seeds directly into the field…putting several seeds in each hole.
Well I don’t know for sure, but maybe that’s why your yields are disappointing.
Because since I started transplanting rice, my yields are certainly higher.
Well, my family never grew rice that way. Anyway, I don’t have time for transplanting.
Transplanting won’t take you more time.
(indignant) Excuse me for speaking directly, but I don’t believe you’re thinking straight. It must take more time! You have to prepare the seedbed. Then you have all the work of transplanting the seedlings into the field.
At the beginning of the season, it’s true, there is more work. But later in the season, you don’t have to spend so much time weeding. You gain your time back then.
Well…I do have a weed problem.
You are ALWAYS complaining about weeds! With transplanting you’ll do less weeding. You’ll use less water. You’ll need to buy fewer seeds. But the wonderful thing is that you’ll get higher yields!
You make a convincing argument. You say my yields will be higher?
I’m saying that my yields have increased, yes. But when I first tried I made some mistakes. There are some important guidelines to follow if you transplant. If you don’t follow them….you could be in trouble! But if you follow them, you will have success. What I recommend is that you start with just a small plot. Then, as you get more experienced you can use more and more of your land for transplanted rice.
Well…I’m not sure. I need some time to think about it. Maybe next year I could try.
Fade in background music and hold under host
Codjo had been very persuasive about the benefits of transplanting, so at the beginning of the next season Sam decides to follow his friend’s advice. He prepares a seedbed, and transplants young seedlings from the seedbed into the field. To find out what happens, stay tuned for the next portion of this program.
Fade out music
Fade in background music and hold under host
When we left Codjo and Sam in part 1 of this program, we heard that Codjo, who had good success with transplanting rice, was trying to convince Sam to use this method too. At the beginning of the next planting season, Sam actually did prepare a nursery and later transplanted the seedlings. But, success did not follow immediately, as you are about to hear….
Fade out background music
Sound of footsteps
(calling out) Hey Sam! Over here. Where have you been? I haven’t seen you for a while.
(grumpy) I’m not sure I want to talk to you. I don’t want any more of your advice.
What do you mean? What did I do?
(angry) You convinced me to try transplanting my rice. Well, it didn’t work. Some of the seedlings dried up. The ones that I was able to move didn’t do well. My yields were lower, not higher!
Did you water the seedbed regularly?
: Did you transplant the seedlings when they had 3 or 4 leaves?
When you transplanted the seedlings did you make sure that the green part of the plant remained above the soil?
Sam, you have to understand that when you transplant rice you are going to have to follow the proper procedures. Only then will you get higher yields. You need to start with good quality seeds. The nursery needs to be well watered. Transplant the seedlings when they are at the 3 to 4-leaf stage, not later. When you plant them into the field, don’t plant them too close together. Young seedlings, when given enough space in the field, will produce many tillers. And each tiller will produce rice.
There are so many things to remember.
Yes, but it will get easier once you have experience and you know what you’re doing. Believe me, I know from my own trials. Now that I have experienced a better harvest with transplanting I will never go back to direct seeding. I am earning more money now and I have top quality rice.
Fade in background music and hold for five seconds under host
Many farmers listening to this program probably sow rice with sticks or hoes…often placing too many seeds into each hole. But if you transplant seedlings into the field from a seedbed, you are sure to get a better harvest, if you follow the right steps.
I am going to take a moment now to remind you of these important steps.
- First, a word about seed quality. Only top quality seeds will give you top quality rice.
- Secondly, don’t sow seeds too close together in the nursery. Seeding too densely will not allow the seedlings to grow strong enough for transplanting. Or, by the time they are strong enough, they are already too old and will not produce as many tillers.
- Water the nursery well.
- When the plants have 3 or 4 leaves it is time to remove them and transplant them to the field. These plants are generally 15 to 21 days old. It is important to transplant them at this stage…not later. This is because old seedlings give fewer tillers and lower yields.
- When it’s time to transplant, be sure to water the seedbed well, because the seedlings will lift out more easily when the soil is wet.
- When you transplant the seedlings into the field, plant them approximately 2 to 3 centimetres deep. Keep the green part of the plant above the soil surface. If the green part of the plant is under the soil, the recovery of the plant will be slower.
- Don’t plant the seedlings too close together in the field…they will not be able to grow properly and will stay small. Some farmers transplant using a long string that is marked at regular intervals. After each line they move the string to the next row. Leave about 20 centimetres between plants and 20 centimetres between rows. This may also depend on the type of cultivation tools that you have. Some farmers use their feet or hands as a guide when transplanting to keep equal distances between plants. The rows aren’t perfectly straight, but it’s a quick and simple method.
Remember, transplanting is recommended for lowland and irrigated rice. You’ll use less water and fewer seeds AND you’ll save time weeding. Best of all…you will enjoy higher rice yields.
Thanks for listening to the program today. If you would like a copy of the video programs about nursery bed preparation, transplanting and other rice technologies you can contact [radio broadcaster should give name of local contact person distributing rice videos].
Contributed by: Felix S. Houinsou, Rural Radio Consultant/Africa Rice Center (WARDA)
Reviewed by: Paul Van Mele, Program Leader, Learning and Innovation Systems/Africa Rice Center (WARDA)
Radio broadcasters can click on this link to see a list of rice video distribution sites or see the list that is included with this script package.