SRI was first tried by farmers in Thailand over ten years ago. However, many farmers struggled to avoid trauma to the seedlings and to transplant young seedlings using human labor. Additionally, trying to draw lines (for even spacing of the transplants) was difficult and required labor and time.
In response to these challenges, several farmers began to practice the “parachute method” of rice transplanting, in which rice seedlings are “parachuted” into their place in the paddy using a throwing motion. Further advances on this have been created around Thailand, including a “dart transplanting method with roller planting marker line drawing” developed by Wanpen, the farmer in Nakorn Sawan whom I went to visit. With Wanpen’s innovations (methods ideal for SRI farming) a roller planting marker machine is used to make very straight lines throughout the field; these lines can then be used for spacing rice transplants, which are thrown like darts at the appropriate target. Both the dart method and rolling planter marker machine will be explained in further detail in the Thai Natural Farming Journal articles included in this ECHO Asia Note. Below, I will explain how Wanpen has utilized both innovations in her SRI practices.