‘Farmers shifted to other crops due to difficulties in harvesting, husking grain’

B.T. Pujari, Dean and campus head, College of Agriculture, has stressed the need to popularise foxtail millet (‘navane’) as an alternative to red gram among farmers in the region.

Dr. Pujari told presspersons here on Wednesday that navane was a major crop, but owing to difficulties faced during harvesting and husking the grain, farmers had shifted to other crops such as red gram.

However, now the University of Agricultural Sciences, Raichur, has come out with a husking machine for navane at an affordable rate.

Easy to operate

He said the machine was very easy to operate and also affordable.

There was also a need to popularise navane as a foodgrain with high fibre and rich nutrients, which would improve the demand for it, thus leading farmers to cultivate it.

Dr. Pujari said navane was a drought- and pest-resistant crop best suited to Gulbarga region.

The average yield of the crop from one hectare was around 5 quintals.

New varieties

To a question, he said the Agricultural Research Station (ARS) here, besides coming out with new high-yield varieties of red gram and Bengal gram, was also instrumental in coming out with integrated pest management technology, widely accepted across the country as the best alternative to chemical pesticides.

Organic pesticide

Dr. Pujari added that recently, scientists at the ARS had come out with a type of organic pesticide — a mixture of chilli and garlic — to fight the menace of Helicoverpa (a genus of moth) attacking red gram crops.

He said that the pesticide was more effective when used during the flower initiation stage.

Dr. Pujari added that the pesticide was easy to use and affordable.

He said that the UAS, Raichur, had also come out with a tractor-operated multi-crop crusher to harvest red gram. The crusher cuts the crop at the top and feeds it to the harvesting machine to prevent wastage. Traditional harvesting methods as well as mechanical harvesting led to heavy wastage.

Another benefit of the new technology is that the rest of the plant can be cut up using a Rotavator machine and left in the field so that it enriches the soil.

  • ‘UAS, Raichur, has come out with a husking machine for navane, which is affordable’

  • ‘The average yield of navane from one hectare

    is around 5 quintals’