Harvesting of Paddy (Oryza sativa L.)
- Timely harvesting ensures optimum grain quality, higher market and consumer acceptance, since the grain is less likely to break when milled.
- When harvesting is not done in time, grain may be lost due to shattering, lodging, damage by rats, birds and insects etc.
- Timely harvesting also keeps seed dormancy within safe limits.
Sign of the crop to harvest
- Depends on photoperiod sensitivity of the variety.
- The average growing period of a variety may serve as guide in deciding when to harvest.
Steps to be followed for harvesting
- Drain the field 7 to 10 days before the expected harvest date or when the upper grains in most of the tillers are in the hard dough stage and turning from green to yellowish. This operation hastens maturity of crop.
- Dehull a few grains from the upper portion of the matured panicles and observe their translucence and firmness. Grains when ready for harvest are clear and firm. The upper portion (80%) of the spikelets should be straw coloured.
- Inspect the same from the base of the panicles. When most grains (20%) at the base of the panicle are in hard dough stage, the panicles are ready to harvest.
- About 80 per cent panicles should have 80 per cent ripened spikelets at the time of harvest.
- At the time of harvest the grains should contain about 21% of moisture. High or low moisture content at the time of harvest later on badly affects the rice recovery.
- The crop is generally harvested by cutting the crop with serrate edged sickles by hand.
- The plants should be cut quite close to the ground and left in the field for a few days to dry.
- If the threshing can not be done immediately, the harvested rice stem should be bundled and stacked in a dry place.