Ridges and furrows method helps protect crop from excess moisture stress

Farmer in Melkunda (B) village has adopted it after vast tracts of red gram fields are affected

Published - October 10, 2021 08:03 pm IST - KALABURAGI

Channabasayya (second from right) interacting with farm scientists from KVK, Kalaburagi, at his field in Melkunda (B) village, Kalaburagi district.

Channabasayya (second from right) interacting with farm scientists from KVK, Kalaburagi, at his field in Melkunda (B) village, Kalaburagi district.

Amid the vast tracts of red gram fields destroyed due to excess moisture stress caused by incessant rainfall in Kalaburagi and surrounding districts this year, here is a small field at Melkunda (B) village that stands in stark contrast. A healthy crop standing on a four-acre field owned by Channabasayya has become a place of attraction for inquisitive farmers who are visiting the field to know the reasons behind the difference.

It was the ridges and furrows method of farming that made Mr. Channabasayya stand out from the crowd. Prompted by Mallanna, a farmer who had been in the forefront as far as the implementation of the National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) Project in his village is concerned, he undertook the ridges and furrows method of cultivation — a method of ploughing in which ridges and furrows are formed in the field and then seeds are sown in those ridges.

The project was taken up by the Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA) through Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Kalaburagi, under the guidance of KVK scientists

“The ridges and furrows method of cultivation is a traditional method of ploughing which helps to drain the field by allowing the excess water to flow through the furrows thus, reducing excess moisture stress on plants. It is also good for dry conditions as it conserves limited water available in the ridges and reduces heat stress on plants,” Yusufali, an agronomist from KVK, Kalaburagi, who gave guidance to the farmer, said.

As per official data, Kalaburagi district has already received 1,040 mm of rainfall this year to cross its annual average of 750 mm. Red gram was cultivated in 5.12 lakh hectares of land, nearly 70% of the total sown area, in the district and most of it turned yellow and wilted due to excess moisture stress. In many areas, farmers could not take up sowing due to non-stop rain that lashed for weeks. In other parts, farmers had to re-sow seeds after the failure of the first sowing just to see their second attempt also fail.

“I found that this ridges and furrows method of cultivation not only protects plants from excess moisture but also protects the crop from weeds. In this method, crop management is easy and less expensive. After my success, many farmers are visiting my field and enquiring about the farming method,” Mr. Channabasayya told The Hindu , during a field visit recently.

Farm scientists from KVK, Kalaburagi, are now planning to hold a field day in Mr. Channabasayya’s field for farmers in Melkunda (B) and surrounding villages to showcase the success and encourage them to take up traditional ridges and furrows cultivation method that is now done with a simple tractor-mounted implement.

“The simple tractor-mounted implement used for ploughing to create ridges and furrows can also be used in the cultivation of many crops as the width between the plough-blades is adjustable. The poor availability of the implement may become a hurdle when more farmers begin to adopt the method. As a small institution, we can take up demonstrative cultivation in five to 10 acres of land. For a large scale operation, the government needs to step in. Offering incentives and subsidies on the implement can be useful in attracting farmers and popularising the method,” Raju Teggelli, senior scientist and head of KVK, Kalaburagi, said.

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