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1. Mat nursery is used, if the crop is to be transplanted using manual or self propelled paddy transplanter. To plant 1 ha (with 2 seedlings/hill at 20 x 15 cm spacing), use 30-35 kg good quality seeds (i.e., >80% germination and establishment).
2. Good seeds result in more uniform germination, better vigour of plant, less incidence of micro nutrient deficiency and insect-pests, good smothering effect on weeds and ultimately improved yields.
3. Prepare 40-45 m2 nursery for each 1 ha to be planted. Select a levelled area near the house and/or a water source. Spread a plastic sheet or banana leaves on the marked area to prevent roots growing into soil.Mix 70- 80% soil + 15-20% well-decomposed organic manure + 5-10% rice hull or rice hull ash.
4. Incorporate around 20 kg N/ha (1.5 kg powdered diammonium phosphate or 2.0 kg 15-15-15 powdered NPK fertilizer for every 100 m2 of nursery area).
5. Soak the seeds for 8 h for seed treatment. Cover the soaked seeds for 24 hours in wet gunny bags. In this time, the seeds sprout (bud) and the first seed root grows to 2-3 mm length.
6. Place one or more iron frames having compartments of size 40 x20 x2 cm for manually operated transplanter, 45 x21 x2 cm for engine manually operated transplanter and 58 x28 x2 cm for self propelled transplanter over the polyethylene sheets.
7. Number and size of compartments vary according to nursery box of transplanter. Fill the frame almost to the top with the soil mixture.Sow the pre-germinated seeds uniformly and cover them with a thin layer of dry soil. (Approximately 1-2 seed/cm2).
8. Sprinkle water immediately to soak the bed. Remove the frame and continue the process until the required nursery area is completed.
9. Water the nursery as needed to keep the soil moist. Protect the nursery from heavy rains for the first 5 DAS. If the nursery can be flooded then at 7 DAS, maintain a 1-cm water level around the mats. Drain the water 1-2 days before removing the seedling mats for transplanting.
Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana