By U Khin Win
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Extra resources for A Century of Rice Improvement in Burma
There existed a weekly cattle market system in most towns where cattle were either exchanged or sold for cash. In every town, the government allocated large areas of land as pasture to provide cattle with enough feed. These pastures provided sufficient feed during rainy seasons, but farmers supplemented pasture feeding with rice straw and bran or groundnut cake. Feeding on pasture might be advisable where there was no population pressure on the land. Then there was the question of whether cattle would get more nourishment from cultivated fodder crops, which required only a fraction of the existing pasture area.
The nutrients absorbed by the rice crop became almost equal to natural replenishment. Although yield tended to decline, rice production during this period increased at a remarkable pace due to the rapid expansion in area. The rate of production increase was more distinct and significant at the close of the last century and at the beginning of this century. It began to stabilize afterward. Table 6 indicates the rice production trend from 1830 to 1940. It was only 44,000 t in 1830, increasing to 2 million t in 1880.
All varieties were classified into one of five groups. Those that belonged to groups A and B had long thin, grains while those in C had short, medium grains. Types D and E had short, bold grains. The classification was adopted by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in its work on seed improvement. Rice traders, brokers, and millers also accepted the classification. Table 7. Classification of rice varieties based on grain dimension (Beale 1927). 25 Breadth Long, slender grain; kernel translucent Slender grain; kernel translucent Short, medium grain; kernel usually translucent, sometimes with abdominal white Short, roundish, bold grain; kernel opaque and chalky Large, broad grain; kernel opaque and chalky RICE PRODUCTION UNDER THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT 21 The DA distributed 55 improved pureline rice strains through its seed improvement program.