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Posted at: Dec 2, 2019, 7:48 AM; last updated: Dec 2, 2019, 7:48 AM (IST)

Ambala farmers skip burning, sow wheat on paddy residue

Scientists persuade them to go in for soil nutrient-enriching method

Win-win situation

  • The first trial was done last year on 200 acres. After it turned out to be a success, more farmers have started showing interest in Ambala.
  • The scientists had made some changes in the Happy Seeder (new-generation planters) to sow wheat in the residue.
  • As about 70 per cent quantity of fertiliser remains in the residue, mixing the residue back into the soil decreases the requirement of fertiliser for the next crop.
Ambala farmers skip burning, sow wheat on paddy residue
Scientists with farmers before sowing wheat at a village in Ambala.

Nitish Sharma

Tribune News Service

Ambala, December 1

The burning of crop residue has been a major issue in the region and different measures, including incentive, fine and legal action, are being taken by the government to stop farmers from burning stubble.

But scientists of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Tepla, have managed to persuade farmers to sow wheat on nearly 500 hectares in Tepla, Racheri, Rattanheri, Sapeda and Samlehri villages in Ambala without removing and burning the paddy residue.

The first trial was done last year on 200 acres and after getting success, more farmers have started showing interest in Ambala.

The scientists had made some changes in the Happy Seeder (new-generation planters) to sow wheat in the residue.

The scientists, during their study, found that the nutrients in the residue may reduce fertiliser requirement, weed density was less, crop lodging did not occur in the crop residue management plots during the last irrigation and farmers harvested qualitative grain yield.

Guru Prem Grover, Subject Matter Specialist (Soil and Water Management), said, “Residue burning is a fast and cheap option for farmers to clear their fields. The challenge is to change the mindset of farmers as they don’t want to change their conventional methods of farming.

“We have been organising visits of farmers at the demonstration plots and to the plots of farmers who have sown wheat without removing the residue. They are being told that the cost of cultivation can be reduced by adopting newer methods and that it can also save water by 20-25 per cent,” he added.

The scientists claim the burning of residue also results in the loss of plant nutrients and organic carbon of the soil, deteriorating the soil health.

About 70 per cent quantity of fertiliser remains in the residue. Mixing the residue back into the soil decreases the requirement of fertiliser for the next crop.

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