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Agric. sci. dev., Vol(4), No (4), December, 2015. pp.


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Agriculture Science Developments


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Documentation of Rice Production Process in Semi-Traditional and

Semi-Mechanized Systems in Dargaz, Iran
Ghorbanali Rassam *
Department of Plant production, Higher Education Complex of Shirvan, Iran.

Shabnam Poorshirazi
Young Researchers and Elite Club, Mashhad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Mashhad, Iran.

Alireza Dadkhah
Department of Plant production, Higher Education Complex of Shirvan, Iran.

Benjamin Torabi
Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, Vali-e-Asr University of Rafsanjan, Iran.
*Corresponding author: rassammf@yahoo.com




Documentation of production process in agriculture contains: collection, processing, and providing all information
and activities that reflect the path leading to the production of an agricultural product. For this purpose, Dargaz rice
farms, located in the North East of Iran, were surveyed using semi-traditional (25 farms) and semi-mechanized (30
farms) from transplanting to harvesting stage in the 2012-2013 growing season. The amount of inputs and method of
doing any of the agricultural operations were collected and analyzed. The results showed that transplanting is done
on semi-traditional rice farms between 31st May 17th June and on semi-mechanized farms it is done between 26th31 May. Seed rate consumption was varied from 90 KGs in semi-traditional to 60 KGs in semi-mechanized farms
per hectare. In both systems the use of Urea fertilizer in two phases, tillering and stem elongation, was recorded as 70
KGs per hectare. The total amount of water used in semi-traditional and semi-mechanized farms was, 20,000 and
30,000 cubic meters per hectare respectively. For controlling Barnyard grass and nut grass weeds, Exadiazon and
Bentazon herbicide were applied respectively at a rate of 4 liters per hectare. Semi-traditional and semi-mechanized
farmers used Tilt fungicide in amount of 1 liter per hectare in order to fight rice Blast. Using the labor force in semitraditional system was 66% more than semi-mechanized system per hectare. Rice harvest in semi-traditional and
semi-mechanized farms began from mid-September and October respectively. The average yield of paddy in semimechanized was recorded 4760 KGs per hectare and for semi-traditional it was recorded as 3700 KGs per hectare.



Manufacturing process management in agriculture systems has a direct effect on the performance quantity, production efficiency, efficient use of
inputs, and finally environment. Therefore, the need to monitor and improve the processes leading to the production of agricultural products in
order to reduce the challenges associated with crop management in agricultural system is unavoidable. Scientifically, the improvement of such
management processes is possible by using different techniques the most important ones of which are continuous improvement and
reengineering processes [18]. Common understanding on how to carry out activities in the current situation or the so-called document processes
is one of the first and of course essential steps in improving such processes [19].
Undoubtedly, the situation could be detected based on the knowledge required to design and implement the optimal situation. In the projects of
evaluation and process improvement, documentation is one of the activities that include much of the default time. Assigning 70% of the total
project time in some cases to documentation of the activities evaluation and process improvement indicates the significance of this part [18].
Documentation of production process in agricultural systems includes collecting, processing, classification and providing all the information and
activities that show the line leading to the production of an agricultural product. In such an approach, the farm is assumed as a production unit,
therefore, the entire process from the preparation of this production unit for planting until the withdraw of the product from the farm after harvest
placed is assumed in the range of documentation. Documentation effectively helps to avoid duplication and empiricism in running the future
designs and research projects. The most important role of documentation can be outlined as follows [18]:
Maintaining the data sources used in the plan or projects: If the information resources, used based on the objectives of the project, are
documented at every stage, they avoid duplication and will complete the next period statistics and data.
Matching actual and estimated costs: Mismatch of the estimated and actual costs is considered one of the issues of project
implementation. Documentation of the reasons for this, may lead to making a correct decision for other projects.
Avoiding fragmentation and duplication: documentation of studying materials in many things can avoid doing the same studying for
same issues.
Specifying administrative and operational policies: Having a clear policy like lightening up the overall activity is very important.
Documentation of these policies in various stages can clarify and simplify the thinking path of decision-making in projects for the
Revealing the flaws and statistics and data needs: Stats and data are always the basic needs of every project and the lack of data and
thematic projects make difficulty for the executives and associated colleagues. This problem will be solved by documentation of
statistical and data defects and summarizing them.
A look at the history of the documentation in our country shows that although in many sciences documentation has been used as an effective tool
in implementing and maintaining multiple systems, especially quality management, and has always been as essential step to improve the systems
of the major international organizations like ISO [1], but its place in the cycle of improvement in agricultural production processes is not
suitable. In this study, an attempt has been made to document the processes of rice production systems in semi-traditional and semi-mechanized
systems in Dargaz region and provide the possibility of using these tools in improving rice production processes.


Documentation of Rice Production Process in Semi-Traditional and Semi-Mechanized Systems in Dargaz, Iran
Agriculture Science Developments Vol(4), No (4), December, 2015.



2.1 Characteristics of the area under study

Dargaz is one of the cities of Khorasan Razavi province which is located in northeastern of Iran. The city is located in '58 29 - '59 37 N and
longitude '37 43 - '36 55 E. It covers an area of 4194 square kilometers which is 4.1% of the total area of the province. It has an altitude of 1480
meters above sea level, annual average temperature of 16 C, the annual mean maximum and minimum temperatures are 23 and 11 C, the
average annual sunshine is 2794 hours, and the average annual rainfall is 250 mm. The region has more than 17,151 hectares under irrigated
farming and 18,016 hectares under drying farming and about 7713 farmer are working on the farms. About 2000 hectares of agricultural land is
devoted to rice cultivation annually from which 8000 tons of rice is produced. The region with an annual average rice production of 4081 kg per
hectare has the first rank in the province. In terms of mechanical strength the city has 611 types of tractors and 29 combine machines.
Agricultural mechanization level is estimated 1%.
2.2 Systems under study
The study was conducted in 2013-2014 crop year. Rice cultivation in this region is mainly done through two production systems: semitraditional and semi-mechanized. The semi-traditional system includes the fields in which all the agricultural operations from planting to
harvesting was done by the human labor and only the bed preparation is done by using the Plough, ridging and a leveler connected to the tractor
[5] . The semi-mechanized fields refer to the farms in which a part of the process is done by machine and the other part is done by the human
labor [5, 13]. Thus, in these lands the process of bed preparation is done by a Plough, ridging and a leveler connected to the tractor and the
transplanting is done by a transplanting machine and the harvesting by combine but irrigation, spraying (backpack sprayer), weeding, spreading
fertilizer and harvesting is done with the human labor.
Sample farms were randomly selected from the villages in the study area by using a stratified random sampling method. The sample size was
calculated using Eq. (1) [14]:

N D2 NhS 2h


Where n is the required sample size; N is the number of farmers in the target population; N h the number of the farmers in the h
stratification;S2h the variance of the h stratification; d permitted error ratio deviated from average of population, z the reliability
coefficient (1.96 which represents 95% confidence) and D 2 = d 2/z2 is the permissible error in the sample population was defined to be 5% within
95% confidence interval. Based on the calculation, the size of 25 and 30 were considered as the sampling size for the semi -traditional and semimechanized production systems, respectively. The area of the semi-traditional farms is 0.5-1 hectare and the area of the semi-mechanized farms
is 1-6 hectares. The seeding step of rice cultivation occurs in the second month of spring (April-May) and continues with transplanting in the
third month of spring (May-June).
2.3 Data collection and analysis
Since the documentation of the production cycle in agriculture is limited to the farm environment therefore, the present study was conducted to
document the process of rice production since transplanting (entry to the main ground) to harvest stage and does not include the nursery
establishment stage. Accordingly, all information related to agricultural process management including bed preparation, transplanting, irrigation,
plant nutrition, plant protection; machinery use, human labor and harvesting were collected. This information were distributed in the form of
questionnaires among the farmers and filled during the growth season. At the end of the growth season the real yield of the farmers was recorded
as well. The result data were sorted, processed and analyzed by the Excel program.


Results and discussion

3.1 The operation of bed preparation

In all crops the first stage of production is associated with preparing the farm as the bed for cultivation and other growth stages. The objective of
preparing the ground for planting rice is to create a soft ground for transplanting, to change soil hydraulic properties to reduce water penetration
depth and water saving, to retain nutrients in the root zone and to increase the performance [3]. Crop rotation and climatic conditions in terms of
temperature and rainfall are the main factors of the onset of preparing the bed. The process of preparing the bed in both systems starts at the
beginning of May. The process of preparing rice bed is Puddling. This method involves mixing the soil and water to create an impervious layer
to water to prevent water penetration to deep layers to avoid water loss and the penetration and wash over of soil nutrients [6]. In this process the
soil becomes soft and its resistance decreases and transplanting operations, human labor movement and the root growth are facilitated. In
Dargaz region the stand establishment process starts with plowing the farm with moldboard plow once to a depth of 25 to 30 cm and then the
land is leveled into similar pieces. Then the water enters the pieces and by a leveler attached to a tractor the lumps are crushed, soil is
compacted, and the land is flattened. Normally the number of leveler in semi-mechanized system is twice the semi-traditional system.
The evaluation of soil texture showed that in the area under study there were three types of soil including: clay, clay-loam and loam (Figure 1).
The highest frequency belonged to the clay-loam that included half of the soil in the area.
frequency (%)




Figure 1. The frequency of the soil types in the area

Ghorbanali Rassam *, Shabnam Poorshirazi , Alireza Dadkhah , Benjamin Torabi


Agriculture Science Developments Vol(4), No (4), December, 2015.

3.2 Planting
Local varieties include the middle ripen Domsiah, the early ripen and middle ripen Tarom. All semi-mechanized farmers used the middle ripen
Domsiah but in semi-traditional method half of the farmers cultivated the early ripen Tarom and the other half cultivated middle ripen Tarom. It
seems that the farmers participation in educational-promotional classes and the incorporation of the recommendations of the promoters to used
high-quality varieties such as Domsiah has led to the cultivation of this type in the semi-mechanized system.
The amount of seed being used by the farmer varies based on the system and the cultivation tool being devised by the farmers. Semi-traditional
farmers in order to prepare the transplanting for each hectare cultivated 90kg seeds in a 250 m 2 bed. The seed used in the semi-mechanized
cultivation was 60 kg which was cultivated in bedding boxes. The transplanting procedure was done in the main farm after the transplants
reached a height of 15 to 20 cm. In the Semi-traditional system transplanting is done by the workers with 20 20 cm intervals and 3-4
transplants per hill but in the semi-mechanized system it was done by a transplanter machine with 16 30 cm intervals.
The farmer through choosing an appropriate date of cultivation tries to use the appropriate environmental factors and avoid the inappropriate
factors. The most important factors affecting setting the date of cultivation include: matching various cultivation and harvesting factors with the
environmental factors, the possibility of entry to the farm to perform bed preparation and cultivation procedures, having access to water and
releasing the farm from the previous crop and on time farm releasing for the next cultivation period [8]. Thus transplanting is done on semitraditional rice farms between 31st May 17th June and on semi-mechanized farms it is done between 26th- 31 May.
3.3 Plant nutrition
Farmers used one or more types of basic fertilizers when preparing the bed based on their financial status and the nutritive ingredients existing
in the soil. Basic fertilizers include urea, triple super phosphate and potassium sulphate that has been sprinkled and mixed with the soil in both
systems before troweling by the human labor. The results showed that the mean urea and triple superphosphate fertilizers used in both systems
were 50 and 60 kg per hectare. In addition, a semi-mechanized farm used the amount of 25 kg per hectare potassium sulfate as a supplier of
potassium and sulfur. Potassium caused an increase in the seed weight, tillering promotion, increased absorption of phosphorus and nitrogen,
lodging prevention and increased resistance against rice infection [2]. Accordingly, the use of semi-mechanized farmers from potassium
fertilizer could increase the rice yield in this system.
Continuous flooding of rice farms led to aggravated nutrient leaching and makes the use of chemical fertilizer during the growing season very
important. In this regard, using the urea-N fertilizer during the growth season is one of the most important fertilizers that the farmers use which
is associated with high risk of leaching. Nitrogen split leads to increased availability of nitrogen during the growing season [17]. Accordingly,
farmers of both systems used 70 kg hectare-1 of the urea-N fertilizer at each stage of stem elongation and heading. So the total urea fertilizer
(basic and N) was 200 kg hectare-1. The semi-mechanized farmers used 25 kg hectare-1 potassium sulfate fertilizer during the stem elongation
period. The use of 4 liters hectare-1 NPK fertilizers is common among semi-mechanized farms at the end of tillering and before heading using a
3.4 Plant nutrition
Rice farm irrigation is of particular importance among the farmers. In the region under study the irrigation is done through flooding using the
river flows located in marginal lands. The whole amount of water used in the semi traditional and semi-mechanized systems was 20000 and
30000 m3 hectare-1. This difference is due to the location of the farms in the region, so that the semi-mechanized farms due to being located at
the beginning of the river trail have greater access to water. Rice fields irrigation was done at tillering, stem elongation, heading, flowering and
ripening stages (Figure 2). At it is demonstrated the greatest amount of water is used at the flowering and clustering stages. It has been reported
that low irrigation in these two stages frustrates the flowers and the result seeds will not have enough weight [10].
3.5 Plant protection
The damage resulted by the weeds in rice cultivation is the most important obstacle in the process of producing the product. If it is not controlled
the damage will reach 90% [20]. The ease of use, easy access, good price and good performance of herbicides has made them the most important
input in rice cultivation [11]. Barnyardgrass and nut grass are the most common weeds in rice fields [11]. These two weeds are among the 10
most dangerous weeds in the world [11]. The farmers of the semi-traditional and semi-mechanized systems combat barnyardgrass weed with
Exadiazon one month after transplanting with the rate of 4 liters per hectare. Nut grass weed control in both systems was done by Bentazon
herbicide at a rate of 4 liters per hectare and 10 days after transplantation. In both systems along with the use of herbicides to combat weeds hand
weeding at the tillering stage was done as well. The prevalence of fungi like weeds can causes low yield as well. The most important fungal
infection that is prevalent in the region is the rice blast that outbreaks at the clustering stage. The blast infection through an extensive distribution
and devastating impact on rice production is known as the most important rice infection [7]. The farmers of both systems to combat the infection
sprayed one liter per hectare Tilt fungicide (propiconazol). Rice stem borer is one of the most harmful pests in the world and Iran [9]. This pest
attacks the rice plants at different growth stages causing death in the central bud and the head whitening [16]. The most common and efficient
pesticide to control this pest is diazinon [4]. In all systems of production in the region diazinon granules and liquid were used to fight the stem
borer. For this purpose, the amount of 15 kg per a hectare granular Diazinon 10% was casted at the beginning of stem elongation and 2 liter per a
hectare liquid Diazinon was sprayed at the end of stem elongation stage.

consumption water (m3)


semi traditional
semi mechanized







Figure 2. Distribution of water consumption in different growth stages of rice in the fields with semi-traditional and semi-mechanized systems


Documentation of Rice Production Process in Semi-Traditional and Semi-Mechanized Systems in Dargaz, Iran
Agriculture Science Developments Vol(4), No (4), December, 2015.

3.6 The use of agricultural machinery and equipment

In addition to machinery and equipment used for the preparation of the bed that were addressed in the operation of bed preparation other farm
operations that device agricultural machinery during product development include spraying micro pesticides and agrochemicals combat common
weeds, pests and infections. Spraying in both systems is done by the human labor working with backpack sprayers. The average use of spraying
equipment in semi-traditional system was 4 times and in the semi-mechanized system was 5 times. Using less spraying equipment in the semitraditional system can be related to the lack of using micro fertilizer among these systems.
In general, considering the machinery used in the harvest, comparing the use of machinery in rice production process suggests that the use of
these machines is quite impressed by the kind of production system which means that as the production system gets more mechanized the use of
agricultural machinery and equipment increases.
3.7 Human Labor
Using human labor was completely dependent on the type of rice production systems in a way that with the use of automated machines in semimechanized system the use of human labor used in the farms was reduced. However, in semi-traditional farms that are less dependent on
machines the use of human labor is increased by the same amount. The results showed that the size of the human labor in the semi-traditional
system with 742 human labors per an hour in a hectare is 66% higher than the semi-mechanized system with 249 human labors per an hour in a
hectare. In the semi-traditional system the highest amount of human labor was related to the planting stage (transplanting) in a way that it
accounted for 43% of the total human labor and in bed preparation stage (plowing, lining, leveling, spreading fertilizers) had used a minimum
5% human labor (Figure 3). In the semi- mechanized system the planting to harvest stage (spreading N fertilizer, spraying, weeding, irrigation)
and harvest (combine harvesting and bagging) had used 73% and 3% of the total human labor, respectively. It is observed that in the production
systems of the region, the size of the human labor used in preparing the bed and planting to harvest stages in the two production systems is
almost identical. Therefore, in the region under study, the most important indices separating the semi-traditional and semi-mechanized systems
are the use of machinery and equipment used in planting and harvesting process that determines the size of the labor force.
According to the results Peyman et al. (2005) in determining the energy used in the semi-traditional and semi-mechanized rice production
systems in Gilan-Iran reported that the volume of labor force used in the mechanized system is 22 percent less than the traditional system. In
their study the planting stage of traditional method and the planting to harvest of semi-automated method indicated the highest amount of labor
farce used. According to Razavi and Mirlohi (1996) report transplanting rice per hectare 306 human forces are needed than within the region
under the present study it is reported as 320 human forces an hour in the semi-traditional method. Heidarzadeh et al. (2008) by comparing the
three mechanized, semi-mechanized and semi-traditional systems of wheat production in Mashhad- Iran reported that despite the larger size of
the labor force in the semi-traditional system, the labor productivity increases as the production system becomes more mechanized.
3.8 Harvesting
Determining the method and date of harvest are the most important operations of the harvest stage. The harvesting date besides being affected by
the production system in Dargaz, depends on the variable such as crop ripening and climate. In semi-traditional system harvesting is done
manually using a sickle. Then the harvested crop is classified and left in the farm to get dry for a whole day. Finally, the dried product is sent to
the thrasher and changed into the rice paddy. In the semi- mechanized system the rice product is harvested with a special combine machine and
threshed simultaneously. Since the manual harvesting requires more time, the semi-traditional agriculture starts the harvesting earlier so that the
harvest starts from mid-September and finishes in the end of September. However, in the semi- mechanized system harvest starts in late
September and finishes in the middle of October.
The average yield of paddy in semi- traditional and semi- mechanized fields was 3700 and 4760 kg per hectare, respectively. In Sari-Iran region
the yield of semi- traditional cultivation was 13 % lower than the yield of semi- mechanized cultivation depending on the region under
cultivation [12]. It seems that regular cultivation, steady growth, achieving the desired density of plants, access to water and the use of fertilizers
are the factors that affect the increased yield in the semi- mechanized system.
semi traditional

semi mechanized





planting to


Figure 3. Labor forces used in various stages of rice production in the semi-traditional and semi-mechanized farms



The overall results of documentation indicated that the level of mechanization in transplanting and harvesting stages is the most important factor
that differentiates the semi- traditional and semi-mechanized systems in Dargaz region. There was no significant different in the transplanting to
harvesting interval between the two systems. In addition the amount and period of using the inputs were the same between the two systems.
However, the present level of mechanization has led to 23% increase of the yield of rice in the semi- mechanized system. Generally similar to all
documenting studies the results of this research can also: depict the production process details for the researchers and students to conduct future
studies, specify the date and common consumption of the inputs as well as the common date of implementing agricultural processes, represent
the efficiency of rice production systems in terms of performance and input consumption and strengthen the agricultural statistical resources of
the province.

Ghorbanali Rassam *, Shabnam Poorshirazi , Alireza Dadkhah , Benjamin Torabi


Agriculture Science Developments Vol(4), No (4), December, 2015.



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