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SARATANI ARC 2: A Promising New Short Term Rice Variety

Saratani is a short term rice variety suitable for double cropping in Sarawak. This variety is the outcome of extensive selection and evaluation of materials originally introduced from Thailand. Saratani was first released for planting to farmers at Tg. Purun, Pueh and Paloh in 1996. The variety is well received and large scale cultivation of Saratani is evident in Paloh.

One of the objectives of rice research at the Agriculture Research Centre, Semongok, is to evaluate and develop improved short term high yielding varieties which are able to adapt to variable conditions. A variety such as Saratani which matures early, will give the farmer a longer turn around time in which to grow a second crop of rice or other cash crops.

Rice Cultivation In Sarawak

Rice field in Sarawak are small and generally do not have the basic infrastructure required for double cropping. The fields are not well leveled and not irrigated. The rice environment, in Sarawak, is therefore very diverse and unpredictable. Rice fields are prone to floods, drought and other soil constraints. Due to these prevailing problems, farmers plant a single crop rice per season. Their choice is usually their own traditional variety which has been well adapted to uncertain changes in the environment. It is normal for the farmers to plant rice and then return 3-4 months later to harvest the crop. The traditional varieties are not responsive to fertiliser application and are low yielders.

Characteristics of Saratani

The plant is of medium heigh with stems (culms) measuring about 105-110 cm. The stems are strong and do not lodge easily. This variety is suitable for transplanting and direct seeding.

Milled graines are long and slender measuring 6.95 mm long and 2.05 mm wide and lenght/ width ration of 3.39. It has a total milling quality of 76% and head rice recovery of 77%. The amylose content is high at 29%. Individual grains are large and glosst and do not stick together when cooked.

Saratani grows well in both irrigated and rainfed ares. During the main season, this variety can be harvested 118 days from the date of sowing, while during the off season 116 days. In areas when water and crop management is good, Saratani can produce a yield of 4.5-6.0 t/ha. Saratani is highly resistant to blast.

Agronomic Practices

The variety Saratani is suitable for transplanting and direct seeding. Transplanting involves growing rice seedlings in seed beds before they are planted in the field. Seeding rate of 25 kg/ha is recommended. Transplanting is done when the seedlings are 21-25 days old. Three to four seedlings are recommended for each planting point. The seedlings should be planted 1.5 cm to 3 cm deep. If planted too deep, tillering is inhibited. The recommended planting distance is 20 cm x 20 cm to ensure good vegetative growth so that the plants produce maximum number of productive tillers. If direct seeding is practised, the recommended seedlings rate is 60 kg/ha.

Fertiliser Application

Fertiliser application is important to ensure good plant establishment and uniform ripening. Two weeks after transplanting 30 kg N, 40 kg P205 and 30 kg M20 are applied per hectare followed by another 20 kg N per hectare at the maximum tillering stage.

Water Management

In areas where irrigation water is available the fields should be kept flooded to control weeds, pests and diseases. Weed and pest control are important in rainfed areas.


It is recommended that the paddy is harvested when 85% of the grains are straw coloured. This is to reduce losses due to shortening and attack from birds, insects and rats.

Comparison Of Saratani With Other Rice Varieties

Saratani matures about 3-4 weeks earlier that MR 30, another medium term variety, and 4-6 weeks earlier than traditional varieties such as Biris, Rotan and Bario. In addition, Saratani is also a good yielder capable of producing 4.5-6.0 t/ha compared to 3.0-4.9 t/ha for MR 30 and 2.8-3.5 t/ha for traditional varieties.


Agriculture Research Centre / Farmers' Bulletin Jan - Feb 2005