Updated: October 24, 2021 4:31:52 am
Punjab grows rice on over 3 million hectares which produces over 20 million tonnes of stubble. To manage it, the state has 21,000 super seeders, which are used for sowing wheat in standing stubble after harvesting with super SMS attached combined.
There are 15,000 happy seeders that can sow wheat in standing stubble, 7,000 mulchers, which mix chopped stubble in soil, 7,000 reversible MB ploughs that reverse the land and bury stubble in soil.
The state has 6,000 Super SMS machines, which cut stubble to a large extent at the time of harvesting and spread it the field evenly, 15,000 zero-till drills (used to sow wheat after managing stubble with various machines). There are 15,000 slasher, chopper and shredder (for cutting stubble) machines and 504 balers, which make bales of stubble to be used in the industry or for other purposes.
The Punjab government said that apart from these over 1 lakh machines, they need another 70,000 to manage the stubble on all 3 million hectares of rice area.
“If we calculate the potential of these machines with time window available with us, then they look sufficient but they fall short when there is peak demand for 10-15 days and every farmer wants one. So, we need 70,000 more machines,” said Joint Director, Farm Machinery Wing, Punjab Agriculture Department and Nodal Officer, Stubble Management, Punjab, Manmohan Kalia. He added that due to increasing diesel prices, farmers are demanding Rs 100 per quintal paddy to manage stubble with these machines.
Experts explain that a super SMS can harvest around 17-18 acres per day and the harvesting goes on for 45-50 days. While a happy seeder and a super seeder can sow 8 acres of wheat in a day, the sowing period lasts around 30 days from October last week to November last week — the ideal period beging from November 1 to November 15.
By these calculations, according to farm experts, 6,000 combine harvesters can harvest around 58.50 lakh acres (23.68 hectares) rice area, which is around 76 per cent of the total paddy area.
Further, 36,000 happy seeders and super seeder can sow almost entire 35 lakh hectares in 30 days. These machines are required mostly between November 1 to November 15. In those 15 days, 65 to 66 per cent sowing (around 23 lakh hectares of the total 35 lakh wheat area) can be done through available machines. So, the demand for more machines is justified in that manner, say experts.
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