Surface seeding-cum-mulching technique is done with the help of a combine harvester with a specially designed attachment
A new technique developed by the scientists of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana to sow wheat after paddy harvest has resulted in the crop being less affected by heavy downpour coupled with high velocity winds and hailstorm that lashed several parts of Punjab in the week of March.
Farmers who had adopted the surface seeding-cum-mulching technique recommended by PAU were less affected by the harsh weather conditions. The novel PAU approach helped the wheat crop brave the inclement weather that resulted in reduced lodging.
PAU experts said the surface seeding-cum-mulching technique is done with the help of a combine harvester that has a specially designed attachment. The attachment for the combine harvester can do paddy harvest and surface seeding of wheat simultaneously, they said, saving time and money.
The PAU Vice Chancellor Satbir Singh Gosal led a team that toured six districts of Punjab to assess the implementation of surface seeding-cum-mulching technology in wheat cultivation. The districts visited were Moga, Ferozepur, Tarn Taran, Amritsar, Kapurthala, and Jalandhar.
Escorted by the staff of Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK)/Farm Advisory Service Centre (FASC) in each district, the team comprising the head of PAU department of agronomy Makhan Singh Bhullar, head of PAU department of soil science Dhanwinder Singh and agronomist Jasvir Singh Gill gathered micro-level observations from the fields.
Youtuber Kuldeep Singh Shergill, along with a group of farmers, demonstrated an edge in crop performance where the cutter-cum-spreader was used for cutting and spreading paddy straw instead of the mulcher.
The team visited Saleena village of Moga district to inspect the field of Tarsem Singh who had successfully implemented this technology on his five-acre plot resulting in a good stand of crops with no lodging. Officials from the Punjab agriculture department and Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Moga, reported that other adopters of the technology in the area also observed comparable results even in abrasive weather conditions.
Citing several advantages, the farmers revealed saving of one to two irrigations, ease of execution without expensive machinery, and reduction in herbicide application as the major highlights of this innovative technology.
Farmer Gurbachan Singh of Burj Deva Singh village in Tarn Taran district presented his 32 acres of wheat and one acre of gobhi sarson crops sown with the surface seeding technology, with no lodging, healthy crops, and weed-free fields.
A group of farmers from villages Srian Jattan (Kapurthala) and Batura (Jalandhar) also recounted similar experiences regarding the technology.
Farmer Jaspal Singh of Dulo Nangal village in Amritsar district also showed his five-acre wheat field sown with surface seeding-cum-mulching method with almost nil sowing cost using 20 kg lesser seed than conventional sowing. Intimating results like lesser weed menace and higher yield, he explained that the lesser quantity of seed compensates for the cost of Rs 300 to 400 per acre accrued on surface seeding of wheat.
From his second tour of six districts, PAU VC Gosal concluded that the crops sown with surface seeding-cum-mulching technology had not lodged anywhere, saved one irrigation, and reduced herbicidal spray application due to the presence of thick mulch.
The method is cost-effective, eco-friendly as well as water-efficient leading to early crop emergence and causing minimal weed infestation, Gosal added. He urged the farmers to employ this easy strategy since, in addition to environmentally safe paddy residue management, continual in-situ residue retention boosted soil health and crop output.
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