P. Samuel Jonathan
Cotton picking machine goes on a trial run in the presence of agricultural scientists, farmers
GUNTUR: Dressed in Cargo working shorts and a matching shirt, this Aussie farmer Craig takes a quick scan of the cotton field near Tummala Palem and climbs on the Cotton Picker. Revving the engine, in a few minutes he steers the giant row motors into the farm, plucking off cotton swabs with precision. This is the combination of man and machine, making use of the latest practices of farm mechanisation processes to maximise production and increase farm output.
The Cotton Picker is an American giant vehicle, which is widely used in Australia and USA to pick and process cotton. Procured by Visakhapatnam-based T. Prasanna Kumar, the machine was on Friday put on a trial run in the presence of agricultural scientists, farmers and cotton growers and traders.
Explaining the mechanism behind the working of the machine made by John Deree, Craig said that machine is fitted with two row motors which have a series of spindles and blurbs rotating in reverse directions. As the row motors graze through the cotton plantations, the swindles and blurbs pluck out the cotton swabs and push them into the doffer, a container in front of the vehicle. The cotton swabs would then be pushed and shovelled into the main container at the rear of the vehicle by a jet propellant, all in one action. He further said that the machine could till three acres in about an hour and was being widely used on big farms.
Local farmers however expressed their apprehensions over the fears of damage caused to the plants and the number of pickings it could be used. Mr Kumar allayed their fears and said that the machine blurbs have been designed in such a way that they pick the cotton swabs only and not damage the crop. The machine would be put on display at Ganapavaram ginning mill, he said.
AP Cotton Mills Association president G. Punniah Chowdary pointed out that the farmers need to make adjustments and increase the crop density, change sowing pattern and probably the seed too as the machine works best in dry conditions. He said that the mechanisation would also solve the problem of shortage of labour. Principle Scientist, N.G. Ranga Agricultural University, O.M. Sharma and others were present.