When the Aman paddy is only entering the flowering stage, several farmers in Mymensingh Sadar upazila are already preparing to harvest matured paddy of a different variety.
Md Abu Sayeed is one such farmer. He cultivated early maturing rice variety Bina–11 on about one bigha of land. He said he is going to harvest the paddy in a couple of days.
"I can now cultivate mustard before the Boro season arrives. So, I will not have to keep my land fallow," he added.
But Md Rubel's Brri–51 paddy cultivated in the adjacent field has not yet started flowering properly. He said he will have to wait at least 25–26 days before he can start harvesting.
Unlike Sayeed, Rubel will not have the time to cultivate mustard.
Bina–11, developed by the Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (Bina), has a relatively short lifespan of 110–115 days so the paddy can be harvested faster than most other varieties. The variety is also flood tolerant.
Dr Mirza Mofazzal Islam, director-general, Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture, said Bina–11 is a high-yield variety. In per hectare of land, the yield generally stands somewhere between four to six metric tons.
The variety costs less to cultivate as well, so the farmers can earn more, he added.
Scientists of Bina said the beginning of the Aman season is when floods are more likely to occur and this severely damages the Aman paddy.
Due to waterlogging, paddies of about two million hectares are damaged every year. Because of the unpredictable nature of the climate, climate-tolerant varieties are in high demand and that is where the Bina – 11 comes in.
The Bina–11 can withstand 20–25 days of submergence. Even if the leaves rot due to being submerged in water, they regenerate, according to the scientists of the Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture.
However, a visit to the paddy fields revealed that some of the Bina–11 paddies had gone bad.
About this, Dr Mirza Mofazzal Islam said, "Bina–11 seedlings are supposed to be kept on the seedbed for some 20 – 22 days but some of the seedlings were kept for longer, which caused them to go bad."
He said they are giving training to the farmers regarding this matter.
Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture and the Department of Agricultural Extension has been working together to popularise the Bina 11 variety for a couple of years now.
Earlier this year, Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) provided free Bina–11 seeds to some 1,000 farmers in several districts across the country.