Everytime I look at this photo, it breaks my heart. What you see on the left is a healthy, well planted saplings. What you see on the right are bunches of dried-up nursery saplings.
If these had been planted, they would have covered about an acre of land. That’s at least 30 bags of paddy which when processed would yield at-least 15 bags of rice.
So, how did we let this happen? A strange series of incidents that led us to make this mistake.
When we cultivated the nursery bed, we sowed enough and more seeds to cover 2 acres of land. Its standard practice to always have extra saplings. In this case, we clearly over-estimated by 50%. After planting 2 acres of paddy, we realized we had enough saplings to cover one more acre.
While we had extra land to cultivate, it takes time to plough the field and flood it with water. To get water to this extra land, we had to lay water pipelines and so hired a JCB to dig the land. Just when the digging was about to finish, down came the rains which flooded the trenches. Ironically, this meant we had to wait until the water drained out before we could lay the water pipes. This stole precious few days.
At around the same time, the motor-pump that’s used to pump out the water from the well, went kaput. We lost a few days trying to get it repaired. We finally decided it was wiser to buy a new submersible pump.
All this delay meant that the saplings started to wilt. Planting them at this stage will result in a risk of getting a sub-par crop. We took a hard decision of skipping the extra acre.
This was my first experience in planting paddy and learned some valuable lessons.
1) Always plan for extra acerage when it comes to paddy.
2) Do all the piping work before planting. Not after.
3) The main problem was the slow-decision making. I’m in the city all week and only visit the fields during weekends. This has resulted in bad super-vision and communication gap. The solution is to keep a daily track of activities over phone.
4) I never really realized the impact of the loss. 15 bags means 1125 kgs of rice. This could have sufficiently fed our six member family for three years. Agriculture is serious business and I need to start respecting it like one.