Sufficient number of healthy seedlings

Seeds Land Planting Nutrient Water Pest Harvest

Sufficient number of
healthy seedlings.

Sufficient number of healthy seedlings leads to a good canopy that maximizes photosynthesis and enables better competition against weeds. Healthy seedlings have better root growth that improves nutrient uptake and nutrient use efficiency.
To obtain this:

  • sow the right amount of high quality seeds;
  • transplant the right amount of seedlings; and
  • provide the right kind and amount of nutrients at the right time.

KEY CHECK 3: Crop Establishment – Practiced synchronous planting after a fallow period.


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For transplanted rice (TPR):

  • Seed rate: 20 to 40kg/ha for inbred; 15 to 20 kg/ha for hybr
  • Replant missing hills within 7 days after transplanting (DAT)
  • Assess health status of seedlings at 10 DAT
  • Randomly select 3 sampling sites in a diagonal line across the field. The sampling sites should be at least 1 m from the edge of the field.
  • Count the number of hills/m2 using a 1 m x 1 m quadrat. Add the number of hills and divide the total by 3 to get the average number of hills/m2.

For direct wet-seeded rice (DSWR):

  • Fifteen days after seeding pre-germinated seeds, plant density should be at least 150 plants per meter square, for a rate of 40kg seeds/ha,
  • For a seed rate of 80kg/ha, plant density should be at least 300 plants per meter square.
  • To asses plant density, use 1 m x 1 m quadrant.
  • Randomly select 3 sampling sites in a diagonal line across the field. Each sampling site should be at least 1 m from the edge of the field

In every parcel for TPR and DWSR, randomly select 10 hills. Each hill should have at least one healthy seedling. A healthy seedling is:

  • green;
  • with good growth; and
  • free from pest and disease.


Sow the right amount of seeds to have strong and healthy seedlings.
Resulting seedlings have higher survival rate and easily recover from transplanting shock. Sowing a higher amount of seeds results in thin and weak seedlings. Proper spacing enables the crop to develop a good ground cover and helps control weeds.

    • For transplanted rice, establish seedbed near a water source and protect it from pests, particularly birds and rats. It should have a good drainage. Proper water and pest management are important at this stage. If the germinated seeds are covered too deeply with water, this will result in weak seedlings with poor root growth because of lack of air in the soil. Birds and rats feed on seeds directly and pull up germinating seeds and so it is important to guard the seedbed against these pests.
    • Apply the organic materials before leveling the seedbed. For fine-textured soil, incorporate 10-15 bags organic material or 3-4 bags commercial organic fertilizer in a 400 m2 seedbed before sowing the seeds. Organic materials help loosen the soil. Thus, it makes pulling of seedlings easier and minimizes root damage. Use compost or any fully decomposed organic materials such as dried animal manure, carbonized rice hull, or rice straw.
    • For medium-textured soil, you may not apply organic materials.
    • For direct wet-seeded rice,the field is ready for seeding after land preparation and leveling as described in the recommendation for Key Check 2. Pre-germinated seeds/seedlings should be protected from birds, rats, snails and weeds following the standard practices described in the pest management section. Broadcast pre-germinated seeds evenly onto the leveled field.
    • Sow extra pre-germinated seeds (1 kg) on the side of the field for replanting. Replant bare patches 7-10 DAS.

Table 1. Recommended Seedbed Practices

Variety Seeding Rate (kg/ha) Minimum Seedbed Area m2 Age of Seedlings (days) No. of Seedlings (per hill) Planting Distance (cm x cm)
INBRED 20-40 400-600 20-25 1-3 20 x 20
HYBRID 15-20 400-600 20-25 1-2 20 x 20