Modern equipment gives corn farming a much-needed boostThe cost of corn farming has nearly halved and the yields have gone up in double-digit using the precision planting machine.
Sahadev Chaudhary, a farmer from Jeetpur Simara Sub-metropolitan-11 has been doing corn farming through precision corn planter for the last five years. Compared to traditional farming, the cost of farming has declined 46 percent by using the precision planting machine, he said.
"At a time when there is a shortage of labour, the equipment became a boon,” said Chaudhary. “The cost of corn cultivation has reduced by half while its production has increased by 10 to 12 percent."
Parmanand Chaudhary, a local farmer has been cultivating corn with the help of equipment for five years and has a similar experience to narrate. Chaudhary is doing corn farming on five bighas of land.
The farmers in the area here have cultivated corn in 20 hectares with a three-line precision corn planter, which is a 4-wheeled tractor. Agricultural Tools and Research Centre, Ranighat, Birgunj assisted the farmers with the equipment. At present, the farmers are planting corn by using the equipment of the centre.
Sachin Kumar Mishra, the chief and senior engineer of the centre said that if the local levels provide a collective subsidy for the purchase of such equipment in bulk to encourage the farmers, then this equipment will reach many more farmers.
Mishra said the equipment costs Rs250,000, which the farmers can buy individually or in a group. The centre recommended precision planting equipment manufactured in China to the farmers after doing a trial run in the centre's premises for three years.
The equipment can sow wheat seed in three lines and can also sow fertiliser with the seeds. The equipment can be connected to the tractor and can be operated by two labourers. Generally, the distance between the lines is 60 cm but it can change. Similarly, the distance from one plant to another is 25 cm and the seeds can be dropped at five different distances.
As the equipment can sow the seeds and fertiliser at once, it saves both time and labour. The equipment is easy to use, compared to other planting machines. With the vertical plate type mitring mechanism, there is no problem of seeds breaking in the equipment. Corn can be planted with this equipment in both cultivated and the uncultivated fields.
Mishra said that with the equipment, corn can be planted on more land with less time, energy, labour and expenses than through the traditional ways of planting corn. The equipment also has the facility to control the trench depth, fertiliser depth and planting depth.
As a result, high-quality corn is produced and the total productivity increases. The efficiency of the planting equipment is 0.3 hectares per hour. The equipment can be used in the flat areas of Tarai and the Inner Tarai areas.
Mishra said that about nine to 10 tonnes of 3,522 hybrid varieties of wheat were produced per hectare during the trial production conducted in the centre's premises and in the fields of farmers as well.
The production increased 12 percent using the planting machine compared to traditional farming where production used to be around 7 tonnes per hectare, said Mishra. "The use of equipment in farming can bring more benefits to the farmers at a time when the crop production is decreasing due to a lack of labour and climate change."