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ICM (26 June 2012)

ICM Technology for revival of Rice cultivation in Pathanamthitta District

Rice the most important cereal crop grown in Kerala is cultivated  in an area of about 2.89 lakhs ha with 6.67 lakhs tones production. The figure is well short of the actual demand of over 40lakhs tones. The area under rice cultivation in 1970s was 8.7 lakhs ha which declined by 66.7 percent by 2004-2005.The major reason being the  rice cultivation becomes less remunerative due to  high cost of cultivation forcing farmers to leave paddy fields fallow for years making it difficult for revival. Further the present Paddy production situation in the state is alarming with resultant threat to food security of the state by itself. Also recently the availability of rice from other states has witnessed difficulties due to demand exceeds supply in those states. Hence, introduction of suitable locally adoptable technologies with appropriate refinement at local level would be an apt option to make paddy cultivation more remunerative, their by bring back substantial paddy fallows under cultivation. The ICM technology evolves the integrated use of compatible technologies that meet farmer’s needs and improve their productivity and income. According to new technology (ICM) farmer has the choice of selection of suitable practices from the basket of options such as selection of locally adapted rice varieties, use of good quality seeds, practices in raising seedlings for transplanting, crop need based nutrient application, irrigation scheduling, Integrated pest management etc.

ICM technology

As ICM integrates all possible best management practices, seed treatment is done   to ensure discarding  half filled and chaffy grains ,seeds were soaked in saline water (500 common salt mixed in 10 lit water). All the floating seeds were removed and those settled down are taken out and washed in fresh water and used for incubation. This ensures good quality and robust seedlings for planting.

 In traditional practices the seedling are raised in ordinary nursery bed while in ICM the seedlings of locally adaptable varieties of rice are raised in modified mat nursery @10to 12 kg seeds /ha which saves  the seed rates by  85 % as compared to 60-85 kg/ha seeds requirement of traditional nursery.

Preparation of mat nursery is very simple, where the seedlings are raised in 4 cm layer of soil mix ( 80% top soil and 20 % well decomposed manure) spread over 300 gauge thick and 1 meter wide plastic sheet .we can also use coconut  fronds and banana leaf instead of plastic sheet which in turn reduce cost to raise seedlings. For an ha , 100 m2 mat nursery is required The seeds after sowing in the bed are covered with thin layer of soil mix to maintain the moisture level to  avoid seed drying , the mat nursery are covered( mulched)with paddy straw or banana leaves for 3-4 days. The beds needs watering regularly until it is ready for transplanting

In case of traditional practices the seedlings of 25-30 days are transplanted at a very close spacing ( 10 x15cm) and 5 to 6 seedlings are planted per hill. While the unique feature of ICM is that the only 2 seedlings of 14-18 days  old are used and are planted at a spacing of 20x20 cm @ 25 hills per m2. In case of transplanting to counter act labour shortage we can resort to mechanized transplanting by using rice   transplanter which saves 90% of labour requirement as against 60 man days required in manual transplanting/ha. For mechanised transplanting 30Kg/ha is the seed rate/ha and 30m2 modified mat nursery is required for one hectare. Using paddy transplanter one hectare can be covered by seven hours, thus ensures timely planting in larger area.

The incubated seeds are then treated with azospirillum, (it is a free living nitrogen fixing bacteria) @500g culture /10 kg seeds and left as such for 30 minutes before sowing. Use of azospirillum and leaf colour chart for deciding the time and quantity of nitrogenous fertilizers could reduce the nitrogenous fertilizer by 25 %. The resulted reduction of total application of urea by 146.25 kg /ha as against recommended dose of 195 kg/ha which saves Rs 268/ha from reduced application of urea. Site Specific Nutrient Management is recommended based on soil analysis Integrated use of Organic manure along with chemical fertilizer is recommended than either alone. Nitrogen use is recommended   based on use of Leaf Color chart (LCC) which help farmer to optimize the use of nitrogenous fertilizer .Kerala soils being acidic in nature Lime application is recommended based on soil test data . The practice of intermittent irrigation during the vegetative phase will save water as well as enhance yield. It saves over 50 % irrigation water.   An integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM) practice is incorporated in ICM by use of bio control agents and natural enemies for control of disease and pest.

Common   weeds in Paddy such as Monochoria vaginalis, Fimbristylis miliacea, Schoenoplectus articulates,Ludwigia perennis,limnocharis flava and other minor weeds in the field could be effectively controlled by the  use  of Herbicides. Application of 2,4-D @ 1kg/ha ,after 25 days of application . The field is drained prior to herbicide application and was subsequently reflooded after 48 hour of herbicide application could totally control the weeds. The manual weeding requires 62-65 labour /ha which cost Rs 8125/ha while the use of herbicide cost Only Rs750/ha( includes labour) . Application of herbicides at correct time and dose and method could reduce major part in the cost of cultivation besides this use of rotary weeder after  10 days of transplanting  could  augment better aeration in the soil at the same time  effectively incorporated  decaying weeds to soil avoiding further growth of the weeds. The incidence of sheath rot and other fungal diseases have been common in paddy  fields in Kerala. The bacterial bio agent pseudomonas was used as a prophylactic measure against the sheath rot and other fungal disease could effectively control the disease incidence. Application of Pseudomonas @ 1 %( it requires 2.5 kg in 250 lit water for application in 1 ha) at 30 to 35 days after transplanting and later same dose at boot leaf stage ( 75 to 85 days of transplanting)was very effective and no fungicides were used for disease control. The cost of disease control was about RS 1150/ha as against Rs 1450/ha for chemical method showing 20% reduction in cost.

Similarly, the use of predatory insects have been proven potential in the rice IPM.   Trichogramma chilonis and Trichogramma japonicum egg parasitoids (Trichocard) are used for control of leaf folder ,rice stem borer ,skippers and cutworms   in the field. The recommend practice is placing trichocards  (Trichogramma chilonis and Trichogramma japonicum)  @5 cc /ha 6 to 8 times in the field. In this case the women group midified the application . As the stem borer incidence is common during early stage of crop , based on field monitoring  on the pest incidence,Trichocard containing  Trichogramma japonicum  was placed in the field  @3 cc /ha on 30 days after transplanting . subsequently the trichocard containing both  Trichogramma chilonis and Trichogramma japonicum are to be  placed in the field @3cc/ha respectively at maximum tillering stage( 40 days), subsequently  both  @ 5 cc/ha  at primordial stage( 50 days) , booting stage( 60 days),and panicle initiation stage( at 70 days). As leaf folder have been recorded during panicle initiation stage Trichogramma chilonis  @ 5cc/ha has to be  placed on 75th day. As the use of predatory insects were based on field monitoring and assesement of pest population the 3rd crop season required only 45cc of trichocard for entire crop season for the 3rd crop season. The control pests in rice  with natural enemies will be possible with RS 1500/ha where in for chemical control its cost about Rs 2500/ha .The reduction in cost is by 40% .Further this eco- friendly practice also  augment the  population of natural enemies in the rice ecosystem.

KVK followed cluster approach in disseminating the technology. Various extension approaches like training, On Farm Testing , method demonstration, Front Line Demonstration were used to transfer the technology to farmers. CARD-Krishi Vigyan Kendra has set up a pertinent model for the revival of the Paddy fallows in the district which can be adopted in similar situation. The assessment and refinement of ICM technology under the project funded by State Planning Board, Government of Kerala, which is evolved at IRRI, Philippines promises its wider suitability and could be well adopted under Kerala condition on larger scale.As ICM requires less input and cost effective compared to conventional method its suitability is much better. The technology is well accepted by the farmers of the district in view of its economic viability and social feasibility


  • Seed rate was brought down from 65-80Kg/ha to 12Kg/ha in manual ICM transplanting and 30Kg/ha in mechanised transplanting
  • Nursery area was brought down from 1000m2/ha to 20m2 /ha in manual ICM and 40 m2 in mechanised transplanting
  • Tricho-cards were used for control of pest like leaf folder and stem borer replacing chemical pesticides application
  • Site Specific Nutrient Management based on soil analysis and use Leaf Colour Chart (LCC) could reduce fertilizer application by18- 25 %.
  • The practice of intermittent irrigation during the vegetative phase will save irrigation water by over   50 %.

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