Assessing the Use of Butachlor 5G in High and Mid Altitude Rice Growing Areas in Bhutan: A Case Study

Nidup Dorji, Kinley Dema, Kelzang Dawa, Tshelthrim Zangpo, Jigme Wangchuk, Yeshey Dema

Rice is a vital cereal crop in Bhutan, cultivated widely for domestic consumption. Rice production is gradually decreasing due to diverse reasons including labour shortages and insufficient irrigation water. With the shortage of farm labour, weed management is challenging and Bhutanese farmers have long relied on Butachlor 5G for weed control. However, prolonged use of a single herbicide can lead to herbicide resistance in weeds. This study aimed to determine the extent of use of the weedicide and to assess the development of Butachlor resistance in paddy weeds through farmers’ perceptions. The study, conducted in four western rice-growing areas, surveyed 190 farmers using semi-structured questionnaires. The findings revealed that Butachlor has been extensively used for over three decades, with most farmers applying it more than the recommended dosage. Despite this, 86.85% of respondents reported a decrease in Butachlor’s effectiveness over the years. More than half of the respondent (50.53%) believed that weeds had developed resistance to Butachlor, a concern that correlated with the increased dosage used. The findings suggest a diminishing efficacy of Butachlor, potentially attributed to the development of herbicide resistance. Of significance, the study identifies Potamogeton distinctus as the most prevalent weed, followed by Schoenoplectiella juncoides and Pontederia vaginalis in the surveyed areas.

Keywords: Butachlor; Herbicide; Paddy; Resistance; Weed