Crop should be cultivated preferably in medium to fine textured soils with good water retention capacity, for obtaining high yield and best quality. Coarse textured/sandy, alkali, saline and waterlogged soils are not suitable for its successful cultivation. The best quality of rice is grown in traditional areas due to an interactive effect of genotype, soil and environmental factors.
Basmati rice (Basmati 386, Basmati 370) is a short day plant and photo-period sensitive. Prolonged sunshine, high humidity and assured water supply are the basic requirements for its successful cultivation. These conditions are available only in the defined geographical area of the Indo-Gangatic Plains. Varieties like Punjab Basmati 2, Super Basmati, Pusa Basmati 1, Pusa Basmati 1121 are relatively less sensitive to photo-period. Short day length is required to facilitate flowering. Cool temperature (25-32 ºC day and 20-22 ºC night) at maturity is highly conducive for producing better aroma and ensuring superior cooking and eating characteristics in the basmati rice.
Robust, uniform and healthy nursery is the basis for higher yield of basmati crop. It depends on proper nutrition and management of nursery. It gives vigorous start to the plants during transplanting.
Optimum time for raising nursery: Since 25-30 days old or 5-6 leaf stage nursery is to be transplanted, the date of sowing seed for nursery will depend on the expected date of transplanting. In general the schedule given in Table 10 is followed.
Table 10. Time of sowing nursery of different varieties
Variety Time of sowing nursery
Dwarf varieties June 1-15
Tall varieties June 15-30
Seed-bed Preparation:
Nursery should be raised in clay loam soil which is best suited for the purpose. Fertile, well-drained thoroughly leveled fields away from shade should be selected for raising nursery. Care should be taken that the selected site was not used to grow the nursery or main crop of some other variety in the previous year. Fifteen quintals of well rotten farm yard manure (FYM) or compost should be applied in 400 m2 area which is adequate for raising nursery to be transplanted in one hectare. Irrigate the field and plough it 2-3 times to destroy weeds. Then give a heavy irrigation and puddle the field either by using puddler (Fig. 1). Apply 1.5 kg urea, 2 kg diammonium phosphate (DAP) and 3.5 kg zinc sulphate (21%) at last puddling. Subsequently apply 2.5 kg urea two weeks after sowing.
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A puddler in operation in a field
Seed Rate and Seed Treatment:
Arrange certified/quality seed having 80% or more germination for raising healthy nursery. Fifteen to twenty kilogram seed is sufficient for transplanting in one hectare. Dip the seed in 25litre water and remove immature and floating seeds after stirring. Add 25 g Bavistin (carbendazim) and 2.5 g streptocycline in the water and mix it thoroughly. Keep this seed dipped in this solution for twenty four hours. After that take out the seed and spread it uniformly on gunny bags under shade. Cover the seed with wet gunny bags for facilitating seed sprouting. Keep the gunny bags wet with water for 24-36 hrs. Alternatively the seed may be treated with 50 g Bavistin plus 2.5 g streptocycline for 12 hours. Before transplanting, dip the roots of the seedlings in 0.2% solution of Bavistin (2 g/litre) for six hours in case the variety is susceptible to bakanae disease.
Nursery raising and its Management:
There are two methods of raising nursery i.e. dry method (without puddling) and wet method (puddle conditions). Broadcast the sprouted seed uniformly in the seed bed and cover with thin layer of well decomposed and friable FYM/compost/soil to prevent bird damage. Apply light irrigation immediately after that. Subsequently, continue giving light and frequent irrigations to avoid water stress to the nursery. When seedlings reach first leaf stage, water level is raised and maintained at 2-3 cm depth. Apply 2.5 kg urea at 2 weeks after sowing.
Foot rot/ bakanae disease starts appearing in the nursery as elongated, thin and light green plants. Uproot and destroy such plants and spray the nursery with Tilt @ 500 ml or Bavistin (carbendazim) @ 500 g/ha. Treat the roots of the nursery seedlings from such places with 0.2 per cent carbendazim (2 g/litre), at least for six hours before transplanting.
Yellowing and bleaching of the young and new leaves of plants is the indication of iron deficiency in nursery. To correct it, spray the crop with 1% solution of ferrous sulphate (10 g Ferrous sulphate/litre) at weekly intervals and ensure continuous standing of water in the field. Ferrous sulphate should not be applied to soil but to foliage only.
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Iron deficiency in rice plant Zinc deficiency in rice plant
If the nursery suffers from zinc deficiency, the old leaves of plants look rusty and the plants have stunted growth and poor tillering. Sometimes the whole plant looks rusty brown and burnt. This deficiency can be corrected by spraying the crop with 0.5 per cent solution (5 g/litre) of zinc sulphate (21%) or through soil application of 25 kg zinc sulphate (21% Zn)/ha.
Weed Control:
Apply 115 ml of Butachlor 50 EC or Thiobencarb 50 EC by mixing with 5-6 kg soil at 3-7 days before or 7 days after sowing seed for nursery in 400 m2 area. Alternatively, apply 50 ml Sofit (pretilachlor) 37.5 EC or 6g Sathi (Pyrazosulfuron) three days after sowing.
Remove weak, diseased plants and admixtures along with weeds while uprooting nursery. Transplanting of healthy seedlings with optimum age ensures proper growth and tillering leading to better yield and quality.
Time of Transplanting:
Timely sowing and transplanting of basmati rice is an important factor in determining yield and quality. If the nursery plants have more height, the primary tiller buds often degenerate and produce fewer tillers resulting in poor yield. Hence, it is necessary to transplant the nursery in time to obtain optimum yield of good quality produce. Transplant 25-30 days old healthy and uniform nursery at the appropriate time as given in table 11.
Table 11. Time of transplanting nursery of different varieties
Variety * Time
Dwarf July 1-15
Tall July 15-30
Field Preparation:
Level the field thoroughly, if possible with laser leveler (Fig. 2), to ensure better water management. Leveling with laser leveler can save 20-25% water. After wheat harvest sow green manure crop or apply 10 trolleys of FYM or compost/ha. Six to eight weeks old green manure crop should be incorporated well before transplanting. It improves crop yield and quality. Make strong bunds around the field and puddle it thoroughly with a puddler.
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A laser leveler in operation
Method of Transplanting:
Plant two seedlings per hill at 20 cm x 15 cm spacing to ensure 33 plants/m2.. Seedlings should be transplanted upright and 3-5 cm deep for better establishment and tillering. In case of late planting, ensure 44 seedlings/m2 at 15 cm x 15 cm.
To ensure judicious and balanced use of fertilizer, soil test-based recommendations should be followed. However, the general recommendations for different states are as shown in Table 12.
Table 12. Fertilizers nutrients for dwarf and tall varieties in different states
  • In fields with green manuring or FYM application, reduce the dose of N by 25-30%
  • Apply N in two equal splits at 3 and 6 weeks after transplanting to tall and in three equal splits at transplanting, 3 and 6 weeks after transplanting to dwarf varieties.
  • Apply the whole dose of P, K and Zn at last puddling or immediately after transplanting
Weeds, if not controlled, can cause 20-30% reduction in yield. Remove the weeds manually or with paddy weeder at 15 and 30 days after transplanting if transplanted in lines. However, use of the herbicides mentioned in Table 13 is more efficient and economical.
Table 13. Recommended herbicides and their doses
In case the above mentioned herbicides have not been used, and weed infestation is there, spray Bispyribac (Nominee Gold) @ 250 ml in 400 litre water/ha at 20 to 25 days after transplanting. Do ensure that no water is standing in the field at the time of spray.
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With Weedicide Without Weedicide
Control of Broad-leaf weeds
If broad-leaf weeds are present in the field, spray Metsulfuron 20 WP @ 75 g/ha at 20-25 days after transplanting or 100 g Bensulfuron 60 DF at 15-20 days after transplanting. Remember that no water should be standing in the field at the time of spray.
Keep the water (5-7 cm) standing in the crop for the first 2-3 weeks after transplanting to ensure efficient weed control and establishment of the seedlings. Continuous submergence during this time helps suppress the weeds. Subsequent irrigations should be given 2 days after the water has infiltrated into the soil. However, care should be taken to avoid cracking in soil. Discontinue irrigation 10-15 days before harvesting of the crop to facilitate early ripening and timely sowing of following crop.
The tall growing varieties like Basmati 370, Basmati 386, Taraori basmati, HBC 19 and CSR 30 are prone to lodging. It is, therefore, recommended to lop the upper half of the crop canopy at 40-50 days after transplanting to avoid lodging in these varieties. It also helps reduce the stem borer damage on the crop. Lopping dislodges eggs of many insects and thus helps reduce insect damage to the crop.
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Crop lopped at 45 days Crop without lopping
About a dozen insect-pests are reported to cause damage to basmati rice crop in India. Basmati varieties are highly susceptible to stem borers, leaf folder and rice hispa. Whorl-maggot, case worm, gall midge, thrips, root weevil, white backed plant hopper, brown planthopper, grasshoppers, gundhi bug, and rice ear-cutting caterpillar may also damage the crop sometimes. The identifying characteristics of different insect-pests as well as the damage symptoms due to their incidence along with the control measures are described hereunder.
Stem Borers:
The larvae of these insects bore into the stem and cause damage from July to October. The affected plants show dead-hearts (yellowing and drying of central shoot) at the vegetative stage. When crop is attacked at panicle initiation or late, plants produce empty ear heads which turn white and stand erect. These affected tillers are pulled out easily. If there are more than 2 per cent dead hearts (economic threshold level in Punjab) in the field, apply the insecticides to control the borers. Sprayable insecticides are triazophos 40 EC, one Litre; monocrotophos 36 SL, endosulfan 35 EC 1400 ml; chlorpyriphos 20 EC, 2.5 litre; or flubendiamide 480 SC, 65 ml per acre. Granular insecticides are cartap hydrochloride 4G, 10kg; fipronil 0.3G, 15 kg; carbofuran 3G, 30 kg; chlorpyriphos 10G, 10 kg/ha.
Leaf Folder:
The larvae fold the leaves, eat out the green tissue and produce white streaks. Heavy infestation gives a whitis appearance to the field. The damage is generally observed from July to October. Incidence of leaf folder is generally low when there are frequent rains. If the leaf damage reaches 10 per cent, spray the crop with insecticides. Insecticides recommended against stem borer also control leaf folder.
Rice Hispa:
The grubs of this pest tunnel into the leaves and produce bold, white streaks. The adult is bluish black recognized by short spines on the body. They are exposed feeders, scrap green tissues and produce narrow white streaks on the leaves. If the attack is observed in the nursery, clip-off and destroy the leaf tips of the seedlings before transplanting. Spray the crop with insecticides when minimum leaf damage reaches 10 per cent. Insecticides recommended against stem borer also control rice hispa.
Whorl Maggot:
Maggots of this pest eat out tissues of central shoot growing inside the plant. Damaged inner side of the emerged leaf and rotten look are the characteristic symptom of the attack of this pest. The attack of the pest is more in the flooded fields. Damage generally occurs from seedling to maximum tillering stage. Spray the crop, if more than 20% leaves are damaged, with any of the insecticides recommended to control stem borer.
These are small, often overlooked, elongated and fast moving insects. Tips of damaged leaves roll longitudinally, giving it a yellowish to reddish look, and consequently the plant dies. Usually the magnitude of damage is more in nursery and the young crop. Incidence of thrips is more serious under dry conditions. Spray the crop with monocrotophos or chlorpyriphos, or quinlphos or endosulfan at the rates mentioned earlier.
Root Weevil:
Its white, legless grubs feed on roots in the soil from July to September. The attacked plants turn yellow, remain stunted and produce only a few tillers. Apply phorate 10G @ 10 kg or carbofuron 3G @ 30 kg/ha to control this insect.
Green leaf hoppers:
These insects suck the sap of leaves and are also the vector of tungro disease of rice. To control this insect, spray the crop with any of the insecticides recommended for the control of plant hoppers but only when the population of insects reaches two per hill in tungro endemic area or ten per hill in non-tungro endemic area.
Plant hoppers:
These hoppers include, white backed plant hopper and brown plant hopper. Both nymphs and adults of these insects suck the cell sap of the plant. The damage is severe from August to October. The crop dries-up in patches. Fields having 5-10 hoppers or more/hill should be sprayed. Insecticides recommended to control it include imidacloprid 17.8 EC, 100 ml; monocrotophos 36 SL, 1400 ml; endosulfan 35 EC, 1400 ml; quinlphos 25 EC, 2 litre ml or chlorpyriphos 20 EC 2.5 litre/ha.
Gundhi bug:
Adult bug is slender about 15 mm long, brownish green with long legs and antennae. The newly hatched nymph is green and the older one is brown in colour. Damage is done both by adults and nymphs by sucking sap of developing grains. The attacked grains show brown spots around the hole punctured by the bug. Severely attacked panicles show empty and half filled grains. Destroy weeds and grasses which act as alternate source to check multiplication of the bug. To control this insect, dust the crop with malathion 5% dust or methyl parathion 2% dust @ 25 kg/ha.
Rice ear-cutting caterpillar:
The larvae of this insect are gregarious in habit and are commonly known as ‘armyworm’. The young larvae feed on leaves, leaving only the midribs, whereas old larvae cut the panicles and hence the name “rice ear cutting caterpillar”. The larvae are shy of sunlight and generally feed at night. The damage to Basmati crop is caused mostly during September to November. To control this insect, spray the crop, preferably during evening hours, with any of the insecticides used for the control of stem borer.
These insects eat out the leaves of the crop. It has not been not been observed to cause economic damage and hence no control measures are generally required. If necessary, dust the crop with methyl parathion 2% @ 25kg/ha.
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Yellow stem borer Dry head Dry ear
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Rice Leaf Folder
Foot rot/Bakanae:
It is a seed-borne disease and appears in nursery as well as the crop. Affected seedlings/plants are taller than the normal plants with thin pale yellow green leaves. Infected plants in the field show adventitious roots on the lower 3-4 nodes of the stem. Infected plants also show rotting at the base and profuse pinkish white growth becomes visible. Severely infected seedlings/plants die. Infected plants which survive until maturity show empty panicles. White growth of the fungus appears on the plants near the baseline of water. Such infected plants must be uprooted in order to avoid further spread of the organism.Treat the seed as mentioned under Seed Treatment to disinfect the seed. Remove the bakanae-affected plants from three weeks old nursery when they become visible and destroy them. After that spray the nursery with carbendazim or Tilt @ 0.1% .
Field view of Bakanae-affected plants
Symptoms of blast on leaves Neck Blast Symptoms on panicle
This disease starts appearing in the nursery and continues to cause damage till the maturity of the crop. Blast has two phases: leaf blast and panicle blast. Leaf blast is characterized by spindle shaped lesions with whitish grey centres and brown or purple margins with yellow halo. Panicle blast is more damaging and appears as dark necrotic lesions covering partially or completely the panicle base or secondary branches, which lead to breaking of panicle base or secondary branches. Breaking of panicles results in few or no grain setting. Excessive use of nitrogen results in more incidence of this disease. Spray the crop with Zineb 75WP @ 1.25 kg/ha before the appearance of the disease when the crop is 60-day old. Second spray of Carbendazim/Tilt 1% must be carried out when the crop is 80-day old in order to avoid panicle or neck blast.
Bacterial Blight:
Bacterial blight appears both in nursery as well as the crop. Kresek phase or wilt is characterized by wilting of seedling that normally occurs soon after transplanting. In mature plants, lesions usually start near the leaf tip or margins or both and extend down the outer edges. Young lesions are pale green to grayish green, later turning yellow to grey necrotic. Lesions further extend to entire leaf length. The disease is more serious under high nitrogen application, water ponded conditions and shade. Splashes of rain along with wind increase the disease incidence. Do not use more than recommended fertilizers and give light irrigation only, if the disease appears. No fungicide spray is effective against this disease.
Sheath Blight:
Typical symptoms of this disease are oblong to irregular brown grey lesions on leaf sheaths. Lesions may join together covering the entire sheath. Disease continues to appear up to the uppermost leaves and even panicles. It is more serious in fields with bunds infested with weeds which are primary source of infection. Spray the crop with 0.1% Tilt or Carbendazim on the appearance of disease.
Brown Leaf Spot:
This disease appears as small oval or circular dark brown spots on the leaves and glumes. Spots are generally evenly distributed. It is seed-borne disease and is aggravated under low soil fertility conditions. Seed treatment with fungicides given earlier also reduces this disease. On appearance of the disease, spray the crop with Zineb 75% WP @ 1.25 kg/ha to control the disease.
False Smut:
Infected grains are transformed into yellow greenish or greenish black velvety looking spore balls. Cloudy and rainy days with high humidity and high nitrogen are more favourable for the development of this disease. High nitrogen application and lodging of the crop also favour the incidence of this disease. Spray the crop with Blitox @ 250 g/ha first at flowering and then 10 days thereafter.
When this disease appears, a part of grain and sometimes the whole of the grain gets converted to black sooty powder mass of fungus which falls on other grains and becomes cause of further spread. This is not a serious problem and no specific spray of fungicide is required. Avoid application of excess nitrogen.
Sheath Rot:
Sheath of the top leaf gets rotten and panicle does not appear. In case the panicle appears, it does not bear grain which is replaced by whitish growth of the fungus. Control measures for the disease are the same as for sheath blight
Basmati Profile Package of Practices - Seed Profile

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