Innovation has been the hallmark of progressive farmer Sharanabasappa Patil.
Winner of the Krishi Pandit award of the State government, Mr. Patil’s inventions have helped farmers increase yield and use water judiciously. His latest discovery, a nipping machine, helps improve the vegetative growth of a plant to bear more flowers and pods.
Mr. Patil has successfully tested and used the new technology to help plants, particularly red gram, to branch out to hold more pods. The hand-held battery-operated spraying machines used earlier by farmers to spray pesticides have been lying idle after officials of the Agriculture Department explained its ineffectiveness in evenly spraying the pesticide.
“The non-availability of labourers and the exorbitant cost involved in taking up manual nipping of plants forced me to think of alternative methods. Agro-based industries involved in mechanisation of agriculture had not come out with a convenient nipping machine either,” Mr. Patil said.
He said the average cost of nipping plants on an acre of land using 12 labourers cost around Rs. 1,200.
“There were at least 30 hand-held battery-operated spraying machines lying idle in my house. I decided to put to use the machines. After working for over four months, I designed a disk with three tiny slots to place the ordinary shaving blades”.
The disk is fitted to the battery-operated hand-held sprayer and used to nip the shooting tips of the red gram plant. The three blades fitted in the slots slice the shooting tips of the plant enabling it to bear new branches. “
Nipping plants in an acre of land usually takes a day. But with the new machine, the job can be finished in two hours,” he said. The vegetative growth of the crop automatically results in the increase in yield.
Field trials using this method have proved that the average yield of the crop increased by two quintal an acre. On an average, three blades will be enough to nip plants on over four acres.
Mr. Patil’s invention cuts the cost of solar fencing of agricultural fields by half.