Thursday, August 15, 2013

Some thoughts on cover crops for rice

I have been looking for growing a leguminous cover crop which can co-exist with rice like Fukuoka san used clover with rice/barley/wheat. The following are the advantages of cover crop for rice.

1. Established leguminous cover crop prevents weeds 
2. Cover crop fixes nitrogen from atmosphere and hence makes rice crop healthy
3. During uncultivated period, the cover crop should establish themselves so that weeds are held  

After comparison with clover, according to me, these are the features the cover crops should have

1. Cover crop should have a lower height so that it won't compete with rice for sunlight
2. It should be a good nitrogen fixer
3. Its root system should not interfere with rice root system
4. It should grow like a carpet so that weeds can not emerge

Some possible cover crops which I am looking for..

1. Desmodium Scorpiurus

Still don't know the local name of this plant, first I spotted this on road sides. On some visits to my wife's house, I found this legume on road sides, initially I thought this one same as one legume which we call 'kattupayar' which vigorously climbs all over the nearby plants. Even though Desmodium Scorpiurus looks similar, it is not a climber and could see that it establishes well.

The name of this plant was identified by posting it to the following web site

I am growing couple of this plants with rice to see how they co-exist.

2. Alyce clover

This plant was found growing in my farm and later it was identified to be Alyce clover. I was surprised to see a type of clover growing on my farm. The plant with small flowers is Alyce clover.

3. Arachis Pintoi

I first spotted this in front of a house on the way to Trichur from Palakkad. Later some body forwarded an article about this, this being used as a cover crop in vietnam in plantations. To my surprise it was available in the local nursery, they call it 'Arachis' or 'Kappalandi (peanut) Chedi (plant)'.

Arachis Pintoi seen in Tony Thomas farm, Irumbakan chola, Palakkad. He had planted cuttings at one feet and it established well.

I am trying all these with rice to see which suits best.



I started readying your blog. Did you get a chance with using any of the above as cover crops in the Rice field. I didn't see any in your latest posts

Nandakumar said...

I haven't started using them..I have collected seeds of Desmodium Scorpiurus, will be trying it out in the next season. While watching their growth on road sides even when all the grasses gets dried in summer, they remain green.