While the inclement weather has flattened the wheat crop across Punjab over last two days, experts have observed that the areas where farmers used zero tillage drill technology to sow wheat crop remained relatively unaffected.
Nominally priced at Rs 40,000 (approx), the equipment uses a special drill and places wheat seeds at right depth in the soil. The soil is not ploughed maintaining the tightness. The paddy stubble remains intact increasing moisture and organic content.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Jaswinder Singh Brar, agricultural development officer, Moga said farmers were motivated to sow the wheat with zero drill technology this year and it has shown results.
“Farmers spent Rs 250/acre only in this method as compared to Rs 1,000/acre spent in traditional one. At Government Seed Farm at Raunta, the wheat sown with zero till drill has not been damaged. Around a lakh acre were sown using zero drill in Moga,” he said.
Pandit Somnath from Rode in Moga said, “we sowed wheat crop without burning stubble. The soil was tighter and my crop has not flattened.”
The technology however still remains out of reach for majority of farmers due to lack of awareness.
The package and practices for Rabi crops which is issued by Panjab Agricultural University (PAU) for farmers also recommends zero till drill and says that it reduces ‘lodging’ (flattening) of the crop.
SS Kukal, additional director research (natural resources and plant health management), PAU, said, “observations proved that the crop sown using zero till drill is less vulnerable to lodging. The grip of the plant is strengthened. But the farmers in Punjab are still stuck with the mentality of having lush green fields. Hard stubble remains in the soil and farmers feel it is an eyesore. But this mentality needs to be shunned now.”