Evaluation of high altitude rice varieties under Wangdue- Punakha valley
Under national rice program and field crops sector of ARDC-Bajo activities, few high altitude rice varieties were selected for on-farm evaluation. Though Wangdue-Punakha valley falls under mid-altitude zone as per geographical map of Bhutan, there are some places with high altitude climatic conditions. Due to limited numbers of high altitude varieties for those places and low yield performances of existing local varieties, the national rice program felt the need to carry out some on farm evaluation and replace with new varieties.
Shengana gewog under Punakha dzongkhag and Kazhi gewog under wangduephodrang were selected for this program since both the gewog has some village located at hills. Two households from each gewog were identified through gewog extension agent. Free seeds were distributed and farmers were briefed on package of practices for cultivation during seeds distribution. The center supplied variety seeds; Yuesiray Maap-2 and YP/K-1/B-20 for Punakha dzongkhag and variety Chandranth-1 and YP/K-4/B-20 for wangdue dzongkhag. A field monitoring program was carried out for both the dzongkhag on 25th July and 28th july 2017. The monitoring field visit is mainly to update on the performance and growth status of the variety and also to check pests and diseases outbreak.
Field condition and observation
- The growth of all varieties was found normal in both sites with good tillers and height.
- Comparing to local varieties, the high altitude varieties were found flowering early. The panicle initiation has started in both the site, except for Samchalo village under kazhi gewog where transplantation got delayed due to irrigation water shortage.
- Due to early flowering, farmers were worried that the varieties might mature early comparing to local ones which might lead to unfavorable weather conditions for harvest and crop loss due to birds and wild animals’ damage.
- All the involved farmers shared that, they are confident with the varieties as of now and they hope for high yield potential at the end of the season.
- No pests and diseases problems were noticed for all sites during field visit
- More number of tillers/hills were found at Kazhi gewog compared to Shengana geog under Punakha village
- During field visit, number of tillers were surveyed for 3 sites (could not do for Samchalo village since the variety is still under tillering stage) as tabled below;
|SN||Farmers name||Location||Numbers of tillers/hill|
|1||Mr. Sangay Tenzin||Bara village, shengana, Punakha||10||12||8||7||6|
|2||Am Om||Phabji, Shengana, Punakha||8||9||7||11||5|
|3||Ap Dhendup||Komathang, Kazhi, Wangdue||21||19||30||19||23|
Remarks- During field visit, respective farmers were asking to approach gewog extension and the center for any queries regarding the varieties. Moreover, farmers were informed to let the center know through EAs during crop harvesting for crop cut purpose.