Tamil Nadu

Cultivating paddy, with all help from machines

New age farming: A six-row rice transplanter being used to cultivate paddy crop at Agricultural College and Research Institute in Madurai.   | Photo Credit: Moorthy. G

The faculty members of Agricultural College and Research Institute in Madurai are cultivating paddy with complete mechanisation on 100 acres on the college premises with an aim to create awareness of mechanised rice cultivation among farmers.

The project, taken up under the guidance of Dean V.K. Paulpandi, involves machines right from raising nurseries to harvesting the crop. Head of the Department of Agronomy R. Durai Singh is leading the project.

Explaining the functions of the machines used by them, he said reversible mould board plough was used for summer ploughing which ensured that nutrients found under surface soil were brought to the top layer. Duck-foot cultivators were used for tilling the field and pulverising the soil before sowing.

Tractor-drawn laser leveller levelled the field with accuracy. “This is widely used in Punjab and Haryana. In paddy cultivation, it is important to maintain water level. This can be achieved only if the entire field is of uniform level,” Mr. Singh told The Hindu.

Bund trimming of the field was important to maintain water level in the field. However, there was labour shortage to perform this task. “But, bund-trimming machines help to trim and plaster the bunds of the field. This also prevents any possible crop damage by rodents,” he added.

Pre-germinated seeds could be placed inside a paddy drum seeder for sowing. Once the seedlings were ready, the six-row rice transplanter could be used for transplantation. “This helps to maintain proper distance between each plant and row. Around 20 combinations are achievable with the machine,” said Mr. Singh.

Weeding was one of the most labour-intensive and highly expensive tasks. “Power weeders are faster and cost-effective,” he added.

In recent years, most farmers were opting for machine harvesting of paddy crop. The mechanised cultivation helped farmers get higher yields, said Mr. Singh.

“Usually young seedlings ensure higher yield. But, agricultural workers cannot plant them, and this can be achieved through machines,” he said.

Complete mechanisation was also cost-effective and helped in water conservation, he added.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 1:12:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/cultivating-paddy-with-all-help-from-machines-madurai/article34978986.ece

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