Farmers in at least six districts, who were affected by deficient rainfall this year, have come forward to cultivate a hybrid variety of paddy, KRH-4, developed by the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bangalore, which requires less water compared to other varieties.

The paddy variety, developed after several years of research and field trials, is expected to yield 7.8 tonnes a hectare, which is more than double the yield from traditional varieties, according to UAS-B authorities.

Hundreds of farmers have expressed their willingness to cultivate KRH-4 paddy in over 5,000 acres of land in Mandya, Mysore, Hassan, Tumkur, Shimoga and Ramanagaram districts, N. Shivakumar, a breeder at the Paddy Division at the V.C. Farm here, told The Hindu on Sunday.

Promoting the variety

To promote the KRH-4 paddy, the UAS-B is cultivating the variety in 125 acres of land in various districts using the innovative and water saving method of System of Rice Intensification. Standing crop in most of the fields is in the ‘milky’ stage, which will be followed by grain-filling and maturity stages.

Scientists at the Zonal Agricultural Research Station, V.C. Farm, are expecting that yield from the KRH-4 variety to be at least two times more than that from the other varieties.

Crop demonstrations

UAS-B and V.C. Farm authorities have conducted live crop demonstrations in several villages in the six districts which were attended by hundreds of farmers cultivating traditional paddy varieties.

Mr. Shivakumar said more than 20 districts in the State had been badly affected owing to deficient rainfall. KRH-4 was a boon for farmers as it requires less water and fertilizer.

Cultivation of the variety in the 125 acres had been taken up in association with V.C. Farm, Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and Karnataka State Seeds Corporation, he said.

“Hundreds of farmers have placed orders for the KRH-4 variety to take up sowing in about 5,000 acres in the next season. The variety may be cultivated in over 15,000 acres in the next two seasons,” he said. The variety has also evoked curiosity among researchers in different parts of the country.

The paddy variety is being cultivated in 15 acres of land at Matada Doddi village near Malavalli.

Puttaswamy, who has been growing traditional paddy varieties since the last 19 years, is cultivating the KRH-4 variety in nearly 4 acres. He said the new variety had drastically reduced the input costs as it requires less water. The yield was expected to be three times more than that from the traditional varieties, he said.

“Farmers in Hadya, Katte Doddi, Channanke Gowdana Doddi, Kyathanahalli, Naguvanahalli and others villages have decided to take up cultivation of the KRH-4 variety in a big way. In Matada Doddi itself at least 100 farmers are ready to sow the hybrid variety,” Mr. Puttaswamy said.

Farmers in the surroundings of Malavalli and Mandya cultivate paddy varieties such as MTU 1001, BPT 5204, IR 64, Thanu and IR 3864. With uncertainty over the release of Cauvery water and owing to deficient rainfall many of them were willing to opt for the new hybrid variety, scientists at the V.C. Farm said.